An award-winning community-based learning centre that has been providing training to unemployed women in the Kingdom for more than 20 years will be forced to close.
Fife Council confirmed it would prepare an exit strategy for the Fife Women’s Technology Centre (FWTC), in Lochgelly, after external funding is set to stop and the Council is unable to cover the shortfall.
Offering everything from word processing courses to PC specialisms, the centre - the only one of its kind left in the country - is run from the Lochgelly Miners Institute, which is owned by Adam Smith College.
Funding for the centre comes from the Council and other sources, including European Social Fund and Coalfields Regeneration Trust, with Fife Council making up 60 per cent of the £432,998 budget.
No longer viable
However, when funding from the external sources ceased, local authority bosses said the service is no longer viable, and after exploring other options it was found there was too significant a funding gap to continue.
Lorraine Clark, manager at the centre, said: “We just feel quite sad because it’s been running for 22 years, and we are the last women’s technology centre in Scotland. It’s the end of an era.
“We are just adjusting now - there’s not much we can do as funding sources dry up.”
Lorraine said that while no staff are being made compulsorily redundant, things are still ‘up in the air’ regarding they will go next. She also confirmed that anybody who is currently studying through the centre will be able to complete their course.
Joe Fitzpatrick, head of local and community services, said: “We recognise the achievements and the success of the Fife Women’s Technology Centre since it was set up in 1990.
“The current reality is without vital funding from external sources, and because of the financial challenges the Council also has to face, we have to consider options for the future.”
Mr Fitzpatrick added that Fife Council will work with organisations in Lochgelly to ensure local people still have opportunities for learning.
He added that the Council is “still absolutely committed” to making sure there are opportunities for adults who want to learn across Fife, although admitted it is a challenge in the current climate.