United front on Lochgelly Institute

Gordon Brown visited the Institute three years ago to launch the Jennie Lee Partnership, where he was joined by Open University in Scotland director, Peter Syme.
Gordon Brown visited the Institute three years ago to launch the Jennie Lee Partnership, where he was joined by Open University in Scotland director, Peter Syme.
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GORDON Brown wants to keep closure-threatened Lochgelly Miners Institute as a learning and community facility.

The Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP is hoping that long-term uses can be found which would allow the facility to remain open.

The former Prime Minister was commenting after a meeting last Friday, where parties interested in the maintenance of the Institute heard that Adam Smith College would be unable to extend their lease on the building after June of this year.

The Kirkcaldy-based college has provided a learning resource at the Institute for the past six years.

Mr Brown welcomed the college’s commitment to ensuring a learning resource is maintained in Lochgelly, supporting a community suffering economic disadvantage, and hopes the institution can become partners in a rescue bid.

He is supporting the efforts of Helen Eadie MSP, Fife Council, Fife HARCA, and Adam Smith and Carnegie colleges, who attended the meeting as part of efforts to identify alternative uses for the Institute.

Mr Brown said: “This is an important community facility which has been part of the fabric of Lochgelly for many decades and in my view it has an important role to play in the future if we can bring people together.

“I want to work with all interested parties to find long term uses for the Institute.”

Interim principal, Martin McGuire, said the college backed Mr Brown’s call, but explained: “Over the last 12 months some partners have withdrawn their funding and support from the Institute.

“The college cannot afford to be the sole contributor to the Institute.”

“But we are very much committed to ensuring that a learning resource continues in the town to benefit its residents.

“With this in mind we took the decision to extend our lease until June this year to allow time to look at a way forward.”

“The meeting was extremely positive and reinforced the commitment of all to work together to look at all viable and sustainable funding opportunities and a promising future for learning in Lochgelly.”