Kirkcaldy community centre set to open after £300,000 facelift

Some of the local childminders bring their charges along for a visit to the centre, with Jackie (right). Pic: FPA
Some of the local childminders bring their charges along for a visit to the centre, with Jackie (right). Pic: FPA

Hayfield Community Centre has been at the heart of its local community for 65 years.

And, after five years in the planning, with residents involved every step of the way, it is preparing for another 65 when it opens its doors to the public after an extensive £300,000 facelift which has completely transformed the popular facility.

The bright new hall.

The bright new hall.

The work has taken six months to complete, but the centre has been closed for almost a year, with the many clubs and organisations which use it relocated to other halls and centres in the neighbourhood and further afield.

And this weekend the new centre will be relaunched with a Hallowe’en weekend of fun and games.

It will be officially opened on Saturday at 11am by local Councillor Judy Hamilton, who has given lots of advice and support to the community and management committee throughout the process.

The work has involved the complete replacement of all the windows with new eco-friendly, energy saving ones, a complete refurbishment of the main hall with larger windows giving more light, new LED energy saving lighting, storage and decor, and new curtains for the stage.

The kitchen has been given a complete overhaul with new units and decor and up to the minute fittings to the latest health and safety specifications, with a view to running cookery classes and a community cafe, and new toilets and baby nursing and changing facilities.

There is also new office space and a meeting room, with new energy-efficient heating throughout.

Outside there are raised planting areas and a large, decked patio area with disabled ramps for easy access, and provision for people with visual impairments.

Rosemary Potter, secretary of the centre’s management committee, which has secured a 25-year lease of the building from Fife Council, said: “It’s been a lot of effort to get to this point – and all is not yet finished.

“We are having the grounds landscaped with work starting next month on a mini-maze and play area for the children, while Carol Sidey, our growing project organiser, develops the new growing area.

“A few things have still to be put in place but it’s fantastic to have got to this stage. We now want the community to get involved in celebrating with us, in making good use of the new facilities, and in planning and creating even more improvements for the future.”

Jackie Rowan, centre caretaker and part-time project development co-ordinator, said: “We have lots of ideas for new groups which could enjoy this space .

“If anybody has any ideas or can volunteer some of their time to make things happen, I would urge them to get in touch. I live in the community and this beautifully refurbished centre is a fantastic resource for everyone to make use of.”

Committee members, the trustees of the registered charity, will be on hand to show people round and answer questions, and on Sunday at 2pm the Hayfield Community Centre management committee will hold its AGM, when local residents and visitors can find out more about the story of the last year’s work, meet the new workers and contribute to the coming year’s programme.

The work has been possible thanks to financial backing and advice from the Big Lottery Community Spaces funding team.

Mrs Potter added: “We are very grateful to them, and to Fife Environment Trust, which financed the new windows and south facing door to such stunning effect and environmental benefit.

“Grants were also received from Fife Council to upgrade the kitchen and complete some other works, while the Climate Challenge Fund is financing the Hayfield Growing Project outside the hall. We are also very grateful to the Church of Jesus Christ, Kirkcaldy Old Kirk, the Hunter Hall and Thornton village hall for hosting our groups over the past year.”

This project focuses on reducing carbon emissions by encouraging green transport choices, and encouraging local communities to grow their own food and reduce food waste.

The centre’s new bike racks and raised vegetable beds were funded by the CCF contribution and in the coming months until March 2016, Carol Sidey, in a post financed by CCF, will encourage locals to have a go at growing and cooking their own fruit and veg.

Architects for the project were Fife-based ecological Arc Architects from Cupar, with local Kirkcaldy firm John Smart & Son Ltd as the main contractors.

For more information contact Rosemary Potter on (01592) 265499 or 07902 649414; Jackie Rowan, mornings only on (01592) 516231; or Carol Sidey, on 07888 842981.

Groups currently using the centre include Kirkcaldy Photographic Society; Dominoes Group; Metafit; Eastern Star; Co-op Women’s Guild; Parent and Child Group; Olive Branch Gospel Group; Caroline Kelly Dance School; Kirkcaldy First Kicks football group, as well as others which use it on an occasional basis.