Future of business group hangs in balance

BBA members at a general meeting
BBA members at a general meeting

The future of Banchory Business Association (BBA) is under threat.

A membership crisis has engulfed the group which may not survive beyond the end of the year.

An urgent plea has gone out for new members and increased support from existing ones to prevent the organisation from folding.

Established at a time of economic uncertainty, the BBA in its heyday enjoyed an active and enthusiastic membership consisting of a diverse range of businesses from Banchory and the surrounding area.

However, increasingly low attendance at recent general meetings and a lack of volunteers at community events now threatens the existence of the well-established association.

The current chairman and secretary - both of whom have more than 20 years’ service - have decided to stand down at the AGM in November.

These positions must be filled to ensure the continuation of the BBA and many of the community initiatives undertaken by the group.

Chairman Dick Taylor said: “The BBA is much more than just a group representing the interests of business owners in the area. As well as organising popular community events for both locals and visitors alike, we’re also involved in a number of other initiatives.

“For example, sourcing and funding the town’s Christmas lights, liaising with local police on town centre parking issues and contacting absentee landlords to try to reduce the empty units on the High Street. All this is with the aim to make Banchory a vibrant, safe and pleasant place for everyone to live.

“Significantly, we’re also in the process of applying, in conjunction with Banchory District Initiative (BDI), to the European LEADER Fund to secure funding for a town co-ordinator role.

“If successful, an individual will be sought who will help to develop a heritage trail, undertake the organisation of local events and act as a meet and greet for coach tours, among a variety of other responsibilities. Without the continuation of the BBA this funding application is at risk.”

A recent EGM was held by the committee to inform members of the changes.

However, a poor turnout prompted the group to contact the community at large in an appeal for help.

New members interested in Banchory’s future are being sought and current members are being surveyed to get their views on the way forward.

Mr Taylor added: “The BBA has existed to serve the business community for many years, but we now need to come together to take the association forward.”

The AGM has been confirmed for Tuesday, November 6.

Anyone interested in joining BBA should contact secretary Paul Panchaud on athollatbanchory@aol.com or via the Facebook page