Business help sought for ambitious community project

L-R Dr Aileen Primrose, Camphill Wellbeing Trust chief executive officer and Dr Stefan Geider, chairperson of Camphill Wellbeing Trust

A PROJECT to breathe new life into a well-known Aberdeen location is calling on more members of the local business community to get on board with ambitious fundraising plans.

The recently-launched Compass Project is a ground-breaking initiative from the Camphill Wellbeing Trust which aims to raise at least £5 million to transform the former Waldorf School buildings and site on the city’s Craigton Road into a celebration of healthy and sustainable lifestyle solutions. 

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Compass is envisaged as a place where the ethos and practices successfully pioneered for those with learning disabilities by the North-East Camphill organisations will be translated to benefit all who want to improve their health, maintain their wellbeing or explore a more sustainable lifestyle.

Working when possible, and with careful adherence to Covid-19 restrictions, volunteers have already chalked up more than 1000 hours of onsite work with path and ground clearance tasks, plus the preparation of some no-dig beds for spring planting.  With the complex unoccupied since 2014, essential building repairs and increased security have been necessary due to vandalism.  These have been put in place with all buildings now wind and watertight.

Additionally, a project coordinator has been appointed and over 50% of the £200,000 phase one projected costs have already been funded, largely thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor and contributions from local people and businesses.  Practical support has also been forthcoming from a number of companies, locally and further afield. 

Chapter one will be followed by two further phases of work totalling around £5 million to revitalise and repurpose the 4.1-acre site, including its 19th century, listed main building which was originally built as a convalescent hospital.  Linking the past and the present, this will become a focal point for the project which will incorporate innovative, sustainable designs throughout its masterplan. 

Plans to regenerate the sports hall for community use with sustainable heating solutions and to create demonstration allotments, wild meadow areas, bee-keeping area and a composting project, are also in the pipeline, as well as a gradual refurbishment of the remaining buildings on site.

Dr Aileen Primrose, Camphill Wellbeing Trust chief executive officer, said: “We hope that individuals and businesses will feel moved to come on board this exciting and important journey which represents long-term investment in the local environment, and the wellbeing of the people who inhabit it.

“From spending a few hours as a volunteer to financial or practical support, there are many ways in which people can get involved in Compass and help make a lasting, positive impact that benefits the local and wider Aberdeen community.”

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