About the Bothy

Your community space

The Sand Bothy is a community space, it belongs to all of us.

We need your ideas about how to use the space and how to turn ideas into reality.

The Sand Bothy building

The Sand Bothy was built in the 1980’s as the Balmedie Beach Visitor Centre.  At this time it was used as a base for the Beach Ranger Service when Balmedie had its own Beach Ranger. The Ranger had an office here and there was also a room for teaching local school children all about the beach and the local environment.

Over 10 years ago the Ranger Service was withdrawn from Balmedie and the building lay empty, closed to the public and only used occasionally by Aberdeenshire Council Landscape Services who manage Balmedie Country Park.

Belhelvie Community Trust (BCT) and the Sand Bothy

In 2014 a group of community members started the Belhelvie Community Trust (BCT). The Trust operates throughout the Belhelvie Parish – Balmedie, Belhelvie, Potterton, Whitecairns, Blackdog and all other dwellings within the parish.

In April 2015, the trust became a charity (SCO45563) with its purpose being community development. The Trust then applied to take on the running of the Balmedie Beach Visitor Centre building as a Community Asset Transfer (CAT).

In March 2016 the Trust was given a ‘Licence to Occupy’ and then in June 2016 the Trust were granted a Community Asset Transfer with a 10-year lease.

While waiting for the lease, the Trust applied to several sources for funds to enable us to carry out essential repairs and cover some start-up costs. The Trust has received help from a range of places including Aberdeenshire Council, NHS, local businesses, national charities and other local community groups.

So far, the biggest jobs have been restoring and repairing the decking and balustrades around the building, creating a kitchen with kiosk hatch and installing the security alarm system.

We would not have been able to bring the Sand Bothy back to life without the support of our funders, contractors and volunteers.  Their hard work and dedication has been and continues to be essential.

Naming the Bothy

The Trust asked the local community what they would like to name the building and 'The Sand Bothy' was top of the list! 


The Sand Bothy’s key aims are:

  • to create a community hub
  • to build a permanent exhibition about the area for all ages including schoolchildren
  • to provide a rentable space for classes, groups, events and workshops
  • to create a kiosk for selling hot and cold drinks, ice creams and snacks
  • to bring an unused building back to life
  • to provide a volunteering hub

It was also agreed that The Sand Bothy sells Fairtrade food and drinks where possible and encourages people to respect the Country Park by binning litter, using recycling facilities and biodegradable packaging if possible.

Volunteers at the Sand Bothy

The Sand Bothy is run entirely by volunteers. We are always looking for more volunteers to help with tasks such as organising classes, fundraising, serving refreshments, running activity groups, auditing the accounts and producing publicity material etc.

The Sand Bothy does not aim to make huge profits but it does need to cover running costs. It is important to mention that The Sand Bothy will always work with other organisations and businesses, always for the benefit of the community in Balmedie and throughout the parish of Belhelvie.

Eventually it may be a help to the community and volunteers that the project is able to pay a member of staff but that is a long way down the line! In the meantime, we have a great team of volunteers working together who make these things happen.

Find out more about volunteering with us.

Organisations we work with

We work with the following organisations:

  • National Lottery Awards for All Scotland - Big Lottery Fund
  • Fairtrade Formartine - Mid Formartine Fairtrade Group
  • Foundation Scotland

  • Aberdeenshire Voluntary Action (AVA)
  • Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR)
  • British Heart Foundation

Membership of the Trust

Membership of the Trust is open to all individuals and groups who have an interest in Belhelvie Parish.

The purpose of the Trust is to act as an “umbrella” group to support existing community projects and organisations and to create new initiatives throughout the parish of Belhelvie, all for the benefit of its residents. The trust is a member of the Development Trust Association Scotland.

The Trust meets on the fourth Monday of each month and the meetings are open to everyone interested in the work of the Trust.

More information

Contact us

Get in touch with the Bothy team


Find out more about volunteering with us