New centre comes closer

Members of the local community and Overton Community Association hold up plans for the new Overton Community Centre - Pic by Fife Photo Agency
Members of the local community and Overton Community Association hold up plans for the new Overton Community Centre - Pic by Fife Photo Agency

It was the end of an era this week as the diggers moved in to demolish Overton Community Centre, a feature of the community for more than 60 years.

The building, which opened in 1952, has hosted everything from birthday parties to wedding receptions in it six decades, and now it is to be replaced with a new modern building thanks to funding from the Scottish Government.

Annette Rushford, chairman of the Overton Community Association, said she was never convinced that the project would happen. “It’s been in the offing for around two years,” she said, “but initially it wasn’t to be a new-build, it was just to be a refurbishment.

“But then the council found out it that it was actually going to cost more than just building a new one.

“We didn’t believe it at first but then they started drawing the plans up and then slowly it became a reality. We kept saying that something would happen and we won’t get it, but we have!”

The project has been managed by Fife Council after it received a grant of £950,000 from the government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund.

Izzy Whyte, local development officer for Fife Council, said the centre was identified as one which was already being well used by the community, but with better facilities could provide more for people living in the area.

She said: “We had a consultation with the management committee and the local community to see what things should look like and we changed our original draft drawing based on the information we received.

“The local people who run the centre as it is just now, and people who are accessing the centre, are the ones who shaped what the new building is going to look like and as a result of that we were able to offer a lot more opportunities.”

The new building will include a purpose-built kitchen which will allow for teaching and cookery classes to be held.

The stage in the main hall has been removed and there will be a temporary stage which can be built up when required to be used, which means there will much more space in the hall for the majority of the time.

As well as a second hall for use, there will be ample storage space, modern toilet facilities and a large reception area.

Annette admitted that it was a bittersweet occasion: “It’s quite sad for people who have lived in the area for a long time who have seen it as they were growing up and used it when it was at its best, but we’re all really looking forward to it opening up in time for Christmas and I’m sure everyone is going to like it.”