15 May 2023

Week-long activities mark a successful first year of GrowBanff @TheVinery

A host of activities to mark Aberdeenshire Wellbeing Festival this week will also help celebrate a hugely-successful first year for the GrowBanff@TheVinery project.

Now firmly established as a community space in the coastal town, the Vinery project is lead by local organisation Aberdeen Foyer and has seen significant investment from the Scottish Government and Aberdeenshire Council, transforming it into a bright, modern and accessible community hub for the residents of Banff and beyond.

The project has enjoyed a significant phase of growth and development during the past 12 months and now offers a wide range of workshops and other activities for the community to get involved with.

The Vinery provides opportunities for people to try new things, develop confidence, learn life skills and broaden their experiences in a welcoming and accessible facility. Activities are largely focused on improving health and wellbeing through mindfulness, exercise, therapeutic sessions, training and accredited learning.

In just six months it has created 11 jobs - of which eight were long-term unemployed – and supported 60 people through skills programmes including REACH and the Prince’s Trust.

In addition, the project has also seen around 30 registered volunteers participating in activities such as gardening, cooking and crafts, as well as walking groups delivering more than 2,800 volunteer hours ages range from 16 to 70+ with a variety of skills. One young person has already achieved her Saltire Award for 100 hours of volunteering. There are many more individuals who have turned up to get involved over the summer months in the garden with over 50 attending one session during the school holidays.

Opportunities to get involved in health and wellbeing programmes have also been well received. There have been over 20 Wellbeing Group sessions with an average attendance of 15 at each session, topics such as healthy eating, yoga, sound healing, meditation, chakras and crystals, healing kitchen herbs and mindfulness meditation and movement. Some 65 sessions working 1-2-1 have taken place and these have included talking, meditation, tapping, Indian Head Massage, Reflexology, Reiki and walking sessions.  Five ‘Living Life To The Full’ sessions have also been held.

In light of its incredible success to-date, it’s not surprising that the Vinery project has been nominated for a variety of accolades including the MJ Awards, COSLA Awards and the RTPI Awards - the longest-running and most high-profile awards in the planning industry.

Aberdeen Foyer’s project lead Clare Bancroft said: “It’s been a very exiting year at the Vinery both for our volunteers, staff and the community as we firstly saw completion of the construction works followed by the development of all our activities and support services. The success of our interventions within the Banff community are tangible and we continue to be touched by all the kind words of thanks from participants who have enjoyed the activities and events or received urgent support on a wide range of issues since we opened.”

Banff and Buchan Area Committee chair Cllr Doreen Mair added: “The development of the Vinery has without doubt been one of the most successful projects we have supported along the north coast and I have been delighted to hear about all the wonderful work the Foyer continues to undertake in the community. The restoration project was simply outstanding and has provided us with a wonderful community asset fit for the 21st century which is being utilised to great effect. I very much look forward to the activities Foyer will be hosting both during the Wellbeing Festival and throughout the year.”

Looking ahead to the Aberdeenshire Wellbeing Festival, the Vinery will be THE place to enjoy a wider variety of activities running from today (Monday, May 15) to Saturday, May 20 – just remember to book in advance by popping onto Facebook at  

Monday, May 15 - Rest and Relaxation Day

Qigong - 10am to 11am – Booking required

Sound Bath - 11.30am to12.30pm – Booking required

Flow Yin Yoga - 1.30pm - 2.15pm – Booking required

Meditation Session - 2.30pm - 3pm – Booking required

Tuesday, May 16 – Movement and Exercise Day

Mindfulness Walk with Ranger - 10.30am to 12noon - Bookings via Eventbrite on request

Open Water Swim at Portnockie Harbour - 9.30am - Booking required and transport included

Gentle Movement Class - 10.30am to 11.30am - Booking required

Aromatherapy & Stress Session - 2pm to 3pm - Booking required

Wednesday, May 17 – Arts and Crafts Day

Watercolor painting - 10am to 12noon – Booking required

Make a Mandala Stone – 1pm to 3pm – Drop-in

Penumbra – 10.30am to 3pm – Drop-in

Thursday, May 18 – Nature and Gardening Day

Make a Wildflower Seed Bomb with Ranger Jodie Rhodes - 10.30am to 3pm  - Drop-in

Bobs Buddies (Owls) - 10.30am to 11.30 - Booking required

Healing Herbs Planting - 10.30am to 3pm – Drop-in

Nature Connection for Health & Wellbeing – 2.30pm to 3.30pm - Booking required

Friday, May 19 – Healthy Eating and Cooking Day

Raw Food Workshop – 10.30am to 11.30am – Booking required

Raw Food Cooking with Chef Richard – 1pm to 2.30pm – Booking required

Saturday, May 20 – Wellbeing Festival Community Event

The Vinery and Banff Castle - 11am to 2pm - Range of activities and community groups/organisations with stalls showcasing a host of different health and wellbeing services and activities, bouncy castle, circus skills and refreshments all available for a fun-filled family day out