Fife group issues rallying call to help save Auld Kirk

From left: Dr Barker,  John Pate, Elsie Henderson,Jim Kinnear and  Maureen  Campbell.
From left: Dr Barker, John Pate, Elsie Henderson,Jim Kinnear and Maureen Campbell.

A group from Tayport has launched an urgent appeal in a desperate bid to help save one of the town’s most historic buildings.

The Auld Kirk Charitable Trust want to turn the 400-year-old Auld Kirk, which has not been used for worship for decades, into a community arts and heritage hub.

Auld Kirk

Auld Kirk

But they are facing an uphill struggle as the building continues to deteriorate and funding dries up.

Now the group are appealing to people in north east Fife to share their skills in the hope of turning their dream into reality.

“Thanks to grants from Awards for All, Leader in Fife, Fife Environmental Trust and other funders, we’ve been able to carry out major structural repairs to the tower section of the building, but further work is now needed to repair damage to the main roof of the Auld Kirk,” explained Dr Christine Barker, chairman of the Trust.

“Due to the many demands now made on grant-giving bodies, our recent applications for funding have been unsuccessful - so we’re not only in need of funds but also volunteers who can help us achieve our aims.”

The kirk was formerly known as Erskine Ferryport-on-Craig Church and was the town’s parish church until its amalgamation with Queen Street Church in the late 1970s.

Having been looked after for a number of years by various preservation groups, the building was bought from the Church of Scotland by the Trust 10 years ago for a nominal sum.

The Trust carried out a feasibility study and structural survey around eight years ago and took on an architect to draw up detailed plans for a community facility to be used for a variety of purposes.

Based on this, the Trust managed to get through the pre-application stage for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund – but suffered a major setback when their business plan manager and several other key volunteers left the area.

“We need someone with the professional expertise to take things forward,” said Dr Barker.

“We’d also like to encourage volunteers with appropriate skills to help preserve the building . We don’t have any toilet facilities or running water.

“We now have a leaking roof and the walls are badly affected by damp.”

Meanwhile, the next fund-raising event to be held in the kirk will take place next weekend in the form of an arts and crafts fair.

The event, which will open from 11am to 5pm from Friday, June 24 to Sunday, June 26, will feature an exhibition of works by local artists as well as a range of craft stalls.

For more information, visit www.tayportauldkirk.org.uk.