Heart of the Community: Buckie's Roots have grown into role
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FROM looking after the heart of Buckie town centre to becoming a group at the heart of the community, the last few years have seen dramatic changes for Buckie's Roots.
Originally formed to tackle the increasingly dowdy appearance of Cluny Square, the Friends of Buckie Square (FOBS), as they were originally called, have spread their wings since then.
Heart of the Community - a new feature looking to put the spotlight on the great efforts of lcal groups in towns and villages across Moray and Aberdeenshire - caught up with Buckie's Roots chairwoman Meg Jamieson.
Q. When were FOBS, Buckie's Roots' forerunner, originally formed?
A. It was back in 2017 we first got going. There was a lot of stuff on Facebook at the time about the poor state of the square at the time and a few of us decided to get together and do something about it.
Our original plan was to plant a few flowers to brighten the place up then walk away, but it hasn't worked out like that!
Q. How many volunteers does the group have now?
A. We've got around 30 members in all, with about 15 active members.
Q. How important are these members to the group and its work?
A. They're at the heart of everything we do and everything we've achieved. We've got people from all walks of life who've brought so many different skills with them.
Q. Originally the group started off looking to plant a few flowers – Buckie's Roots has a far broader scope now, doesn't it?
A. Yes, we're involved in so many different things now. We've got litter pickers who go out and about, which was an idea from the community.
We've got a crafter section now at Buckie's Roots and we've held a number of craft bombs which have gone on display at the square, like the one we did to celebrate Robbie Burns on January 25
We installed a feature at the start/finish of the Speyside Way Walk, where we're looking to instal a bench and a flower bed.
The group also work with the wider community.
We've won an award for the work we've done keeping the square looking nice, which we're very proud of.
Q. How important is working with the wider community to Buckie's Roots?
A. Working with the wider community for the good of Buckie is at the core of what we do. We're all about promoting the town and keeping it local.
We work with charities and have had a lot of businesses coming on board.
Buckie's Roots has been very involved with the Local Outcome Improvement Plan, including the community lunches, and are working in partnership with Buckie Christmas Lights Committee.
Over the years we've developed a relationship with local schools and during this summer we'll be running our plant a bulb project encouraging children to plant bulbs in the areas where they live.
Our craft bombs have brought in contributions from across the community.
The wider community has been very supportive of Buckie's Roots over the years, not just in terms of donations of money but in kind. We've also had sponsorship from rigs, as well, which we're very grateful for.
Q. How did the Covid pandemic hit Buckie's Roots?
A. We basically adapted what we did and got on with it. I suppose we had an advantage over many other groups that we work outdoors.
It's not necessary for us to work cheek by jowl so we just made sure we were socially distanced and usually went off and worked in our own wee bit of the square.
Still being able to work in the square helped to tackle social isolation as people were able to come out and do stuff in the square. It was amazing how many people came and sat on one of the benches and had a yap, and still do. It's one of the things we do!
Q. So, what lies ahead for Buckie's Roots?
A. We've a very busy summer ahead of us and are preparing the planting for it.
On June 5 we'll be working with Buckie Christmas Lights to hold a celebration in the square for the Queen's platinum jubilee, which we're looking forward to.
We've got quite a few things in the pipeline over the coming months – watch this space!