New staff and more cash in park project

FEAT staff, from left, Jordan Ford, Paul Greig and Stephanie McMillan with FEAT manager Duncan Mitchell,
FEAT staff, from left, Jordan Ford, Paul Greig and Stephanie McMillan with FEAT manager Duncan Mitchell,
  • More funding
  • New staff
  • Plans explained
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More funding has come the way of the group at the helm of the future transformation plans for Silverburn Park in Leven.

Fife Employment Access Trust (FEAT) has also taken on new staff while succeeding in an application for finance for its flax mill plan.

FEAT staff, from left, Jordan Ford, Paul Greig and Stephanie McMillan, with manager Duncan Mitchell.

FEAT staff, from left, Jordan Ford, Paul Greig and Stephanie McMillan, with manager Duncan Mitchell.

The Architectural Heritage Foundation has approved a £25,000 bid – in two payouts, with the second depending on FEAT matching the targets of the first – which will allow it to engage a specialist body, experienced inrestoring historic buildings, to develop its proposals for a hostel, camping area and cafe into a specific business plan.

FEAT has already sent out a tender for the work, with at least two firms interested.

Manager Duncan Mitchell said it would therefore still be “some time until any visible progress is notable to the mill” but this was the process FEAT had to follow to secure subsequent support.

On Friday, the group also heard it had scoped a £10,000 grant to have a volunteer co-ordinator based at the cottage in Silverburn for a year.

Funded by the Voluntary Action Fund (VAF), the post would mainly involved work with the a proposed ‘Friends of Silverburn’ group.

FEAT has been on the end of criticism recently over a perceived lack of progress and information over its activities, despite receiving generous sums in financial help.

Mr Mitchell said: “Visible improvements are continuing to be made to the woodlands and a series of small family-themed events are being planned for this summer.”

Three new staff members – Stephanie McMillan, from Buckhaven, with Paul Greig and Jordan Ford – will soon be arriving at No 3 Cottage.

“Volunteers and FEAT service users have been working towards our woodland management plan over the past few months and, in addition to the restored redwood trail walkers will have noticed many overgrown areas have been cut back, particularly at the pond,” said Mr Mitchell.

“With the new staffing and the new office almost ready to open, FEAT will have more of an on-site presence at Silverburn,” said manager Duncan Mitchell.

Further details were due soon about its plan to create a ‘Friends of Silverburn’ group for interested community members and walk-throughs of its plans at various times “to ensure as many people as possible in the community are up to speed with our ideas and our progress towards them”. The new staff would also help to improve FEAT’s facebook page and keep regular updates on the site, to help with ongoing community communication.

“It has taken some time to reach this stage of this development and there is still a mountain to climb,” said Mr Mitchell.

“However, when we first met councillors to outline our initial plans, having been given time to develop our business planning, we did say it was at least a 10-year project (if not longer). So, while expectations are high for the future, we can’t stress enough that this is not a short-term fix.”