Feelgood factor central to park proposal

FEAT staff - left to right, seated, Duncan Mitchell, Sara Delorey, Diane Florence. Left to right, standing, Sarah Cherrett and Inga Davidson
FEAT staff - left to right, seated, Duncan Mitchell, Sara Delorey, Diane Florence. Left to right, standing, Sarah Cherrett and Inga Davidson
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SILVERBURN Park in Leven will remain open for free public use.

A spokesperson for Fife Employment Access Trust (FEAT), which was recently declared as Fife Council’s preferred bidder to take over the running of the park, revealed the group’s plans last week and said the Trust’s aim was to bring Silverburn “back to its former glory, and to ensure a sustainable future”.

The Trust, which was set up in 1994 to help improve the employment prospects of disabled people and people with mental health problems, is proposing to create a “centre for wellbeing” which will reach out to both its usual clients but also the wider community.

At the heart of its plan, FEAT wants to get more local people using the park as well as attracting visitors from further afield.

To do this, it has ideas to develop play facilities for both children and adults, with a focus on fitness.

It also wants to engage people with the environment – through growing local edible produce, herbs, and flowers that could then be used in educational workshops.

Specifically regarding mental health and employment, FEAT wants to develop sustainable businesses within the park that support a range of wellbeing-related activities to improve the physical and mental health of the whole community.

Longer term, FEAT also wants to locate itself in the park and redevelop the buildings at Silverburn for a variety of uses such as residential, craft and office space and conference facilities.

Silverburn was bequeathed to the people of Fife by the Russell family in the 1970s and the spokesperson confirmed honouring the agreement to keep the park tranquil will be maintained.

Nothing has been set in stone, he added, and FEAT would like the people of Levenmouth to become involved through a series of community engagement plans.

He continued: “Although we have many ideas already in the melting pot for Silverburn – we are not being prescriptive until we have engaged the community – we want local people to inform what we do and to help us deliver the plans.

“We invite individuals and groups to tell us what they want to happen at Silverburn that will make them feel compelled to visit and bring their families along too.

“Our work involves helping individuals find their strengths and building on these to enable them to engage in employment and, at the same time, providing a range of services to employers to educate and advise them about mental health and employability issues.

“Many of our services are equally capable of empowering the broader community and enhancing equality and diversity and we would hope to be offering access to a range of courses at Silverburn in future.

“Many years of decay need to be reversed and we are in the process of exploring how we can fund such extensive works. Our plans need to ensure we can stop this decay from happening in future and we need to have a balance of income-generating activities and community facilities.

“FEAT is in for the long term and we are discussing a number of possible partnerships with others who have similar ambitions. We have a successful history of attracting funding and working in partnership with public and private sector organisations such as the NHS and the local authority.”