Mintlaw church launching free after school club in former pub following childcare cuts

The Mintlaw Community Church will host the after school club
-Credit: (Image: LDRS)

A Mintlaw church has provided families worried about childcare cuts with a saving grace by setting up an after school club.

It comes after Aberdeenshire Council announced it would end all of its after school clubs back in February.

The local authority argued the move was needed as the service was operating at a loss of £700,000.

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Clubs in Mintlaw, Ellon, Westhill, Banchory, Balmedie, Pitmedden, Portlethen and Inverbervie will run for the last time today.

But, Mintlaw Community Church decided to take action and is aiming to launch its own club at the start of the new school year.

Pastor Stuart Watt recently applied to the local authority seeking just under £3,000 for help to establish a much-needed after school club.

Branded Fuse Kids, it will welcome primary-aged pupils every Wednesday during term time.

In a welcome move for parents and carers, the club will be free of charge.

The church will welcome youngsters to the club at the start of the new school year.

It operates from the former Garret Bar, found in the heart of the village.

Mr Watt took over the old pub last year and following months of renovation works, the doors were finally opened to the congregation in May.

The former pub is set to serve as an after school club for kids at schools across Aberdeenshire
The former pub is set to serve as an after school club for kids at schools across Aberdeenshire -Credit:LDRS

The church wanted cash to help buy items for the new club including plates (£588.67), cushioned mats (£155.32), a Macbook Pro laptop (£1539.97), sound bar (£249) and games (£68.96).

They also requested £440 to create branded after school club t-shirts, but council chiefs believed this was “unnecessary” and the sum was removed.

Church leaders argued the club was needed to offer childcare provision, but also to ensure parents wouldn’t have to alter their working hours.

In their funding appeal they said: “As a charity, Mintlaw Community Church are always looking for ways that they can serve the community.”

Church members had spoken with Mintlaw Primary parent council and council officers about the situation.

The funding application went before members of the Buchan area committee recently.

Councillor Hannah Powell noted that there was a “need” for childcare following the loss of the Macbi provision.

She added: “This is a good start, don’t think it’s an everyday childcare but it is provision and we need that in Buchan.

“I guess if you want to attract teenagers you need a good laptop, something that will engage them.”

Despite fears over the pricey laptop, she believed the church was “still worthy” of the cash.

The funding application was unanimously approved.