Levenmouth support project on brink of folding

The Gateway project was launched in 2013
The Gateway project was launched in 2013

A project which has provided vital support to hundreds of families across Levenmouth is in danger of closing unless funding can be found – fast.

The Gateway project, run by Fife Gingerbread, is in desperate need of investment – around £200,000 per year – before it runs out of funds in May, forcing it to close completely.

Big Lottery funding finishes in March and last week Levenmouth Area Committee pledged £30,000, enough to grant the project’s leaders an additional two months to find a new source of long-term funding.

To date Gateway, which is based at the Greig Institute in Leven, has supported 527 families and 857 children, targeting people whose oldest child is in primary school.

The project acts as an early intervention to stop families needing statutory services later on in life, delivering family mentoring, family learning and volunteering opportunities.

Gary McFadden, spokesman for Fife Gingerbread, spoke about the ramifications of the bid failing.“It would simply end when this little pot of money runs out,” he explained. “There will be no Gateway, no groups, family support, no home visits, no family learning opportunities, no fun clubs, no summer provisions. The project does a lot for the community.”

It is estimated that around a dozen children have been saved from going into care later in life.

The project received £1 million in funding to allow it to run for an initial period of three-and-a-half years when it started in 2012 and additional funding allowed it to keep running an extra 12 months.

A re-application to the Lottery was unsuccessful.

New funding would cover the basic staff cost of the project. which, in a bid to lower costs, has already been stripped down.

Gary also explained the importance of the project to the Levenmouth community.

He said: “One of our best projects is Food Time, Fun Time.

“It’s an after-school club which promotes cooking together and playing together.

“They come together and cook as a family and play as a family.

“Gateway gives them the opportunity to do that.

“There wouldn’t be anywhere for them to do it without Gateway.”

Cllr Tom Adams, chairman of Levenmouth area committee, said he was “hopeful” funding would be found in time.

He said:“We have supported this project since day one, even when we [Labour] were in opposition.

“On the back of the lottery funding the work they were doing was amazing and that’s why we, as an area committee, gave it 100 per cent backing and decided to give them the £30,000 to keep them going.”

He continued: “I hope education services can come up with some funding because it’s a ‘spend to save’. If we took that project away the cost to education would be a damn sight more.

“They’ve got good people going in there - everything they do seems to turn to gold.

He added:”It’s a vital service which other voluntary agancies would do well to learn from.”