Fancy a Trip Underground?

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Some beautiful and unusual buildings and land are in community ownership.

A growing number of groups are getting together to rescue much-loved places from redevelopment or demolition – from castles and piers to public toilets.

Could your community take ownership of a local space? To inspire you, over the next few weeks we would like to share with you some of these. First up, The Burrow, Devon. 

The Burrow in Exbourne is a community-owned shop with a difference – it’s underground. Like something from The Hobbit, this little shop, café and post office is built underneath a field in the centre of the village, and is the UK’s only underground shop.

In December 2001 the village shop and post office in the parish of Exbourne with Jacobstowe in rural West Devon closed and was sold as a private dwelling. This meant that villagers would have to make a journey of at least 5 miles each way to reach the nearest town for shops and services.

Early in 2002 following a public meeting to discuss the closure of the community’s only store and post office, the Exbourne Community Initiative Committee was formed. The original mandate of the organisation was to try and re-establish a shop – a community-run shop – possibly with additional facilities alongside it. The great importance of such activities in safeguarding the quality of village life was keenly recognised and the initiative was supported by the vast majority of local residents.

The Association quickly established a temporary shop, cafe and post office in Exbourne’s Village Hall, opening 2 mornings a week and run (with the exception of the Post Office section) by volunteers.

The shop has grown and grown and with the support of local growers, plus a lot of hard work, they have managed to get together an exciting range of products, from fresh vegetables, canned food and even some hardware items. Each shop day freshly baked bread is locally sourced.

One of the most popular features of our current shop in the Village Hall is the café, where local residents and visitors can gather to swap stories and exchange gossip.
The success of the temporary shop/cafe allowed plans to move forward establishing The Burrow. The project raised over £185,000 allowing digging on the underground shop to begin. Upon successful completion the shop/cafe and post office moved underground. Formally opened in 2012, The Burrow continues to flourish and expand its role within the community.
Fancy a trip underground? Visit The burrow at

Community libraries

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The town of Chapelton recently welcomed its first community library just in time for National Storytelling Week 2018.

The books, which will be located in a quiet corner of the popular Teacake Café, will act as a community library corner, or a book swap, where it is hoped residents of all ages will be able to swap, read and discuss some of their favourite books and stories. So why libraries are so important in today’s digital world?

Many people believe libraries to be a thing of the past due to the digital revolution and the rise of a gadget enamoured society. However,

“The National Literacy Trust says that children who go to a library are twice as likely as those who don’t to read well. It is not just picking up a book. It is the social experience of reading, talking about the books, browsing, comparing what you have read with family and friends. Librarians are gate keepers in that process. They open doors to new worlds, new possibilities. They ask library visitors to evaluate the information on offer. Most importantly, they give access to narratives. Children and adults do not just need information to thrive as thinking beings, but stories. Libraries are the temple of story. They are not in decline because of some natural, historic progression, but because of the monstrous cultural vandalism of savage cost-cutting. We will pay a terrible price for the behaviour of our masters.” (Alan Gibbons)

Libraries are seen by many as a lifeline and a crucial public service, especially if you are elderly, socially isolated, poor, vulnerable, or all of the above.

So why are libraries so important and why must we protect and improve them?

  1. They’re accessible

 The obvious advantage of having a local library is that it is local. Accessibility is crucial if you have mobility problems and/or haven’t got the money for bus fare.

  1. They help to bridge the digital divide

People in rural areas face significant challenges when it comes to IT access, including infrastructure problems and set-up costs. The vast majority of public libraries offer free IT access and basic IT training to the public.

  1. They help to combat social isolation

Libraries are social places where people can chat, read and keep in touch with the outside world. For elderly people who can’t access a static library, mobile and housebound services can fill the gap. Sometimes a friendly smile from a library worker can make all the difference to an isolated and vulnerable persons day or week.

According to C.S. Lewis “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me”. So next time you’re in Chapelton pay a visit to the Teacake Café and sample what both have to offer.

Celebrating some EPIC performances

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epic awardThere are reckoned to be over 10,000 voluntary arts and crafts groups and events taking place in Scotland’s communities. It’s a massive cultural movement that thrives under the radar of the more formal, professional arts world. It all makes a huge contribution to the social, cultural and economic health of our communities. It’s about having fun. And once a year this vast and diverse sector from right across the UK have a celebration of all the very best it has to offer. The Epic Awards are open for nominations

Celebrating some EPIC performances – Scottish Community Alliance

Who can enter the Epic Awards?

The Epic Awards are for creative projects that involve citizens, artists and creative people who participate for the love of it and on an amateur basis.

You can be based anywhere in the UK or Republic of Ireland, practise any kind of art form or craft and work with any age group. Your nominated project can be long or short-term, as long as some or all of it took place in the twelve months prior to the deadline of Monday 7 December 2015

A winner and runner-up will be chosen for each of the four awards: England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Read the rest of this entry »

see me….

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Opportunity for budding writers, poets, and song writers see me

Aberdeenshire Youth Council in partnership with a local publisher would like young people to send in any short stories, poems, or songs around mental health issues which young people face.

These could be based on real life events or with a bit of creative writing added. All entries will be anonymous unless the young person clearly states that they would like their name added at the end.

Entries will be chosen to feature in a book which will be published and sent to each person who sends in an entry and also copies will be sent to all schools and community centres.

All young people sending in an article will receive 250 Young Scot points, authors of articles chosen to be included in the book will receive 1000 Young Scot points.

Closing date – 27/02/15

Please send all entries to

or Aberdeenshire Youth Council

Wyness Hall

Jackson Street



Mearns Connections

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Would you like to learn more about art and literature in the Mearns?

Why don’t you come along to Mearns Connections Festival to see and hear a wealth of local talent.

The fun starts on Friday 8th August with The Mearns Connections Oatmeal Supper, featuring Robert Lovie, renowned for his singing and traditional NE entertainment. On Saturday 9th August you can board The Ballad Bus travelling around Mearns War memorials, or listen to Jimmie MacGregor performing at the Mearnssong Concert.

For tickets and further information click here.

Getting Out & About with Your Local Ranger

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Have You Met Your Local Ranger?  In K&M, your Ranger is Helen Young.  Read on to find out how Helen could help you or your group get out and about.


The Aberdeenshire Rangers are tasked with raising awareness and encouraging care for our natural and cultural heritage.  To do this, we work with schools and community groups on natural and cultural projects and run various events that families and individual can join in. Read the rest of this entry »

Have You Seen the Wildman of Caledonia? Stonehaven Appearance Predicted

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Rumours and sightings of the strange creature are circulating the K&M area.

Read the rest of this entry »