Young people may join councils
People as young as 14 are being offered the chance to take an active part in community councils after councillors gave the green light to new rules.
An overhaul of the way local bodies operate throughout Aberdeenshire was approved by councillors last week.
It allows council officers to suspend groups if numbers fall too low.
But the new rules also mean 16-year-olds can be elected onto community councils and people, aged 14 and 15, can also get involved as junior members.
Director of business services, Ritchie Johnstone said it would give “flexibility” and would be “clearer”.
The authority has 71 community council areas with six currently awaiting re-establishment.
The new scheme was passed by Aberdeenshire councillors yesterday and will be formally adopted at the beginning of April 2018.
Stonehaven community council chairman, Phil Mills-Bishop, has been pivotal in attracting youngsters to his ranks and has been working closely with Mackie Academy pupils.
He said: “There are some challenges such as providing the right agenda items to keep their interest. We could potentially take on seven young members, which I think is very exciting. We need some new blood and enthusiasm.” A city centre church will close its doors to worshippers for the last time this month after Kirk bosses signed off on an amalgamation plan.
The Presbytery of the Church of Scotland has confirmed that the congregation of Queens Street Church will move into St Mark’s on Rosemount viaduct, with the church finally closing on October 29 after 22 years at the site.
The congregation of the city centre parish was expanded in 2004 with the addition of worshippers from the nearby Greyfriars Church, which was closed by the Church of Scotland.
But due to a continuing decline in worshippers it has been decided to amalgamate with St Mark’s.
The Queen Street area also forms an important part of the council’s ambitious 25-year city centre masterplan, which involves the demolition of the police headquarters as part of a transformation of the area into the new Queen’s Square residential area.
Congregation member Helen Rennie confirmed the news to anyone who wants to attend the church’s last services.
She said: “The Queen Street Church is closing down on October 29, and this Saturday is the last coffee shop after 22 years.
“We will be open for morning coffee and light lunches, Audrey’s sale table will be closing with many bargains, and Christmas cards, in aid of Friends of Roxburghe House Grampian, will be on sale.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported us over the years – congregation, visitors and holidaymakers.”
Church elder Martin Greig, who is also a city councillor, explained that fewer people living in the city centre had led to the amalgamation.
He added: “It was a privilege to be at worship at Queen Street Church. The congregation is inspiring in its strong and faithful commitment.
“There are changing residential patterns in the city with fewer people now living in the city centre and people are also changing how they worship, with it now being less common for people to join a church.
“It makes sense to look at mergers.”
A Church of Scotland spokesman said: “The two congregations of Queen Street Church and St Mark’s Church have happily decided to unite and St Mark’s Church will be used as their place of worship.
“A minister will be called to serve the united congregation in due course.”