Refurbished Kemnay Cafe opens for business

Say Teas: Volunteers celebrate the opening of the new coffee bar and kitchen at Kemnay Village Hall.
Say Teas: Volunteers celebrate the opening of the new coffee bar and kitchen at Kemnay Village Hall.

Users of a local community hall had cause to celebrate last Friday morning, as their newly-refurbished coffee bar re-opened to the public.

Kemnay Village Hall was able to put in the new facilities, after the Hall Committee’s efforts were boosted by generous donations of £5,500 from the local Community Council, in addition to £5,000 from the local top-up funding open to Aberdeenshire Council’s Garioch Area Committee.

“We’ve always had a coffee bar in the hall”, Village Hall Committee Chair Margaret Basley told the Inverurie Herald after the official opening. “However, it was in serious need of a refurbishment.

“We have various groups which meet in the hall on a Friday morning, including our ‘Bargain Box’ sale. Really, with the new coffee bar, the place just buzzes now.”

The kitchen and its equipment was designed and installed by local kitchen and bathroom company Laings Direct, under the supervision of Fiona Thompson, herself from Kemnay. “This was a good project to do and the company was delighted to be asked to contribute”, she said. “I lived in Kemnay for 10 years and my parents are still here, so it was good to be involved from that point of view as well.”

Inverurie and District Councillor Martin Kitts-Hayes, who chairs the Garioch Area Committee, was also present for the opening on behalf of Aberdeenshire Council.

“The Garioch Area Committee were delighted to be able to support the project with a grant of £5,000 from the Area Top-up Budget”, he said. “It is clear the money has been well spent and I am sure the new facility will be well used by the local community for many years to come.”

Community Learning Worker Liz Mackay said that the new coffee bar was a fantastic addition to what was already a well-used facility.

“On Friday mornings, we’re staffed by volunteers who help out with groups on a range of diverse activities from knitting and crochet to autism support, book and jigsaw exchanges, literacy support and adult learning”, she said. “We also hope to be able to bring the North East Scotland Credit Union to operate from the hall.

“Anyone who hires the hall can have the full use of the new coffee bar if they want it”, she continued. “It used to be very much underused and needed revitalised. However, after a few open weeks, it was like lighting a match in terms of how interest sparked.

“It’s very successful and as well as bringing in funds for the hall, it also helps to build confidence in our volunteers.”