Love Oor Lang Toun, the community-based company set up in 2020 to support Kirkcaldy town centre regeneration, celebrates 2021 as a year of going from strength to strength.
In the past 12 months it has gone from being a group of volunteers to an organisation employing staff, launching a revamped website, and undertaking a feasibility study that could further revive the fortunes of the town centre.
Its list of achievements over the past 12 months include:
Continuing with the Wednesday Club, a monthly business networking meeting that kept local businesses in touch during the lockdown period at the beginning of the year.
A first birthday consultation webinar to discuss the future of the town centre with local people - guest speaker was Leigh Sparks, professor of retailsStudies at the University of Stirling and Chair of the Scotland’s Towns Partnership; successfully applying for funding from the Crown Estates to commission an architectural firm to help with a feasibility study on a vision for the town centre and acquiring funding to employ two part-time staff to develop the feasibility study and grow the communication and engagement strategy.
In June, Danny Cepok and Katie Carruthers were appointed to the posts of development manager and communication and engagement officer.
Since that time, the company has:
Developed the feasibility study to become the ‘Future Is Now’ project to create a vision for the town centre.
And after surveys of various sites, visual diagrams were created for a consultation process that included a stall in The Mercat and the Artisan Market where they talked directly with over 200 people.
The company also launched a brand-new website with information about local shops, eating out and events in the town centre.
The website also gives information about LOLT projects and strategy, a key facts page, and an online consultation on the Future Is Now project.
Love Oor Lang Toun also held an event solely for local business with over 20 local traders attending and they launched a second year of the Festive Fiver with 20 businesses participating.
In December, the company joined up with Artisan Fridays to create Kirkcaldy’s first Christmas Market on its own dedicated plaza closed to traffic on the High Street and worked in partnership with K107FM and Fife Council to launch a Sky TV advert about Kirkcaldy Town Centre.
Cara Forrester, chairman of the board, said it has been an important year for the company’s development.
She said: “We are really pleased with the progress we have made this year.
"Not only are we developing a vision for the town centre with local people, but we have also several new businesses emerging around the town centre. Quite a number of the bigger empty properties have either been repurposed, or there are plans in the pipeline for them. Kirkcaldy town centre is definitely turning a corner.”
She added that Love oor Lang Toun’s plans for 2022 include:
Producing a vision statement for Kirkcaldy town centre, expanding the board to include local business representatives and acquiring a property to create an Enterprise Hub that will encourage and support local businesses, and provide workspace for local people.