Building a thriving community: A Q&A with The Chapelton Community Association

Community is at the heart of any town or village, it provides residents with a sense of belonging and inclusivity, enriching the lives of those living within it. 

Built with the purpose of having community at its core, Chapelton is a place where people can come together to live, work and play. Most recently, the town has won ‘Outstanding Contribution to Community Activities’ from The Prince’s Foundation. This award is part of the Building a Legacy movement, which demonstrates a people-friendly approach to housing and focuses on the development of the local community, diversity and positive impact on people’s lives. 

As the town has progressed over the years and the residential community has continued to grow, more and more events have taken place, catering for a number of people’s interests and helping form new relationships. Many of the recent events are the efforts of the Chapelton Community Association (CCA), which is made up of a number of trustees all local to the town.

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In this blog post, we caught up with CCA Trustee, Gillian Steven, who discusses what she loves most about Chapelton, the inspiration behind the CCA and how others can get involved…

When did you first move to Chapelton and what drew you to this area?

“I moved to Chapelton around seven years ago with my husband and one year old. Fast forward to now, not only do we have a seven year old, but a five year old too and have certainly settled into life in Chapelton.

Before we lived here we were based in Cove and knew that we wanted to relocate somewhere that was slightly further out of the city. I really liked Stonehaven as it had such a strong community feel about it and with Chapelton only being down the road, it really appealed to us. Most of our family also live in Glasgow, so we wanted somewhere south of Aberdeen city that gave us easy access for travelling.

“I feel like you’ve got the best of both worlds in Chapelton, you’re within easy reach of the city centre while also being close to the beach and you’re surrounded by beautiful countryside. When we first moved here, we were a young growing family and the town offered us everything we needed – the right kind of community feel and lots of other young families in similar situations to ourselves.”

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When did the Chapelton Community Association form and what was the inspiration behind starting it?

We first started discussing the idea of forming a community association towards the end of summer 2022. Prior to the pandemic the community had been starting to run its own events and initiatives such as the Chapelton Scarecrow Festival and a local playgroup. Once COVID-19 hit, many events had to be stopped, which meant there was a gap in the community. 

“A few of us decided to get together to discuss ways we could bring back these fun activities and how we could help strengthen the sense of community within Chapelton. We decided the best way to do this would be to set up a charity, and started by setting out four main aims; community development, organisation of recreational activities, environment and saving lives/well-being. 

“Once all the paperwork was signed off, we began getting to work and ran our very first members’ event at the nearby Slate & Grain, where we gathered ideas from the local residents about what they would like to see from the association.”

Can you tell us a bit about the group?

There are currently eight members on the board of trustees of the CCA and our goal has always been to cater for everyone in the community, whether that be families, elderly residents, individuals or couples. 

“Since our first meeting we’ve tried to make our way through the list of ideas and tie these ideas together with our aims, running local events and activities such as a 60’s club, Christmas light switch on, bingo, first aid course, craft club and photography club.

“As part of our work towards community development we created ‘Chapelton Chat’, a local magazine that gets posted round the doors of the residents each quarter, keeping them informed of everything that is happening in the local area and any upcoming events. All of the paper used for printing is also sustainable which is something we really want to promote. This also ties nicely in with our recent bulb planting initiative, in which we received a donation of bulbs from Cairnhill Community Allotment Association from funds raised by the Chaptlon Scarecrow Festival and we planted these down the path from the Chapelton rock.”

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What has been your favourite project that the Chapelton Community Association has worked on?
It’s very hard to pinpoint only one project but I’ve particularly loved running the 60’s club which is completely free to join and meets once a month. Each meeting is varied and we love to run different activities, for example, one of our most recent meetings was a traditional themed Burns Night, where we had a piper play for the members alongside highland dancers.

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“The Craft Club is also very popular which we didn’t expect, as a result we’ve now begun running a crochet class which is a six-week beginners course on how to crochet accompanied by a glass of prosecco too!

“Another one of my favourite events would have to be the bingo night which was hosted at Brio Retirement village and was completely sold out. All of the gifts donated came from the local businesses at ‘The Boxes’ which really demonstrated the level of support from the community and it was lovely to see everyone come together.”

There are also a number of initiatives to get involved in, including the community kindness cards and the 200 Club. The community kindness cards were a fantastic way to spread joy around the town – the children of Chapelton made Valentines cards that were handed out to the residents living in the Brio Retirement village, with the spare cards being posted to nominated members of the community. 

“The 200 Club is free to join and works by residents buying a number for the year which is then put into a random draw with a winner announced monthly. Half of the money generated from the club goes towards the charity and the other half goes to the winner.”

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Do you have any exciting projects or events coming up this year?

“We have lots of exciting projects coming up in the next few months including a first aid training course available on the 11th and 25th of March, a spring wreath workshop with Hollie Berrie Flowers on the 25th of March and a wildlife photography workshop as part of our camera club which is running on the 26th of March.

How can others get involved in the Chapelton Community Association?
As previously mentioned, we’re always looking for new people to come and join our team – it’s very simple and free to do. If you’re keen to get involved all you need to do is go to our website and fill out our membership form and return it to us by popping it through the door at 130 Greenlaw Road.”

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To find out more about the Chapelton Community Association, head over to the website here.

Alternatively, if you’re looking to become a member, click the link below.

Join the CCA