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The year is 2000 and the Satorishido Martial Arts club was looking for a permanent base to operate out of, after months of searching I found some vacant buildings in James Ramsay Park Fraserburgh, these had been used by the Council as gardeners’ sheds but had been abandoned and left to get into a state of disrepair (see picture below) and were now surplus to requirements.
After approaching the property department of Aberdeenshire Council, a deal was struck to rent the buildings over a 25-year lease, after spending all my spare time over a three-year period, I successfully renovated the buildings to a usable state, this was done with the help of some friends and in November 2003 the Satorishido Martial Arts had their headquarters up and running.
It was always my intention to only have a martial arts studio but as time went by there was a need in the town for a purpose-built fitness facility that would offer the public more than just a martial arts club, in 2007 came the first extension which provided more gym space. With the martial arts classes and the gym becoming more and more busier it was decided that a very large front extension would be built this would see the facility double in size, a very ambitious project which was completed in April 2011.
Now with double the size of building we started with in 2000 we were doing so well we started planning remodelling the rear of the facility which would have been the original building that had been renovated twelve years earlier and in 2016 we demolished the rear of the building and rebuilt what is now the store, gym, and kickboxing studio, it was difficult seeing what I had spent three years rebuilding being torn down but I kept telling myself it was necessary if the club was to progress and we would have a state of the art facility when we got it finished and I have to admit it turned out pretty well and we now have a great facility far more superior to the one that was there before.
After the completion of the 2016 extension there was no longer any of the original Council building left standing, so we approached the Aberdeenshire Council and entered discussions regarding an application for a Community Asset Transfer of the building and land for which we had been paying rent for and we were successful in obtaining the Asset Transfer from Aberdeenshire Council and we were now the outwrite owners of the facility and land which was a great moment in the life of our club.
Four years on and we are in 2020 and still planning more extensions (which I cannot go into right now) but it will be worth waiting for if we can bring off what we are trying to do it will put our facility on a whole new level, our organisation has grown in strength and numbers and we are now recognised and described by the Aberdeenshire Council as an important part of the sports infrastructure within the Fraserburgh Area, a great complement considering we started off as being referred to as the Karate club in the sheds at James Ramsay Park.
It has been a long journey and sometimes a very frustrating one but when I look at what we have all achieved here at the Fraserburgh Fitness Centre for our local community, I am very proud of all those who have helped in the past and for those who are still here with me today. Back in 2003 when I had completed the refurbishment of the buildings and I opened the Satorishido Martial Arts club I decided that I would make it a Charitable organisation where no one person could profit from it but instead all profits would go back into the facility for the benefits of its members and that is why I believe it has been such a great success story over the past twenty years and here’s hoping that it will continue being a great success story for the next twenty plus years.