Members of Fife-based LGBT charity Pink Saltire have moved into new premises with the aim of providing a new community hub for LGBT+ people from across the region.
The group had been based in a small office at New Volunteer House.
But, but a fortnight ago it got the keys to its new home on the corner of Hill Street and Whytescauseway.
The large building was previously a home furnishings and furniture store, but has been empty for some time.
As well as giving local LGBT+ people a place they can call their own without having to travel to the bigger cities for services, it is also hoped the centre will act as a general community hub.
It will have a cafe and hot desks for hire for those who no longer work have an office as a result of the pandemic, but still need work space away from home.
The new premises are also big enough for Pink Saltire to stage live events such as drag shows, film nights, exhibitions, along with rooms for hire for community meetings.
But the first phase of the facility won’t be ready until the end of next month after preparation work was hampered by last week’s torrential rain.
Stuart Duffy, Pink Saltire founder, told the Press the building was flooded after the storm and the charity lost around £5000-£6000 of equipment.
He is hoping most of the damage will be covered by insurance.
Stuart explained how the move from New Volunteer House came about. “We really needed a larger premises to expand our work,” he said.
“It was also about giving the Fife LGBT+ community a place to call their own.
“People in Cupar and St Andrews have to travel to cities like Glasgow and Edinburgh for their LGBT services such as counselling, support groups and social events.
“We thought this space would be ideal as a base for Pink Saltire. But we also want it to be a new community facility.
“We have enough room to create a community cafe with a safe space for people to come to and relax as well as room for hot desks for people not working in an office anymore.
“It is also big enough to be able to do live events on the ground floor like film screenings, exhibitions and rooms for hire for community meetings.
“We will have a small retail store which raises money for the charity and a lending library as well which will include books by LGBT writers.”
The group has been helping the LGBT+ community during the coronavirus crisis by making up care packs for people in need in Fife and across Scotland, with support from local businesses.
Packs have included bath bombs as well as notebooks, envelopes and stamps for those not online to help them stay in touch.
Added Stuart: “We also teamed up with Raith Fruit to offer fresh fruit and veg to people while through hardship relief we provided food vouchers, mobile phone top ups for data, laptops for some people.
“We have helped over 300 families/individuals since we started this in April.”
He added: “For us right now the priority is to make the premises watertight and sort out the ground floor and hopefully in the future the first floor upstairs will have office suites for other agencies/organisations to use or for us to expand our work.”
Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.
In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspapers - the Fife Free Press, Fife Herald, St Andrews Citizen and East Fife Mail.
Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the highest standards in the world. The dramatic events of 2020 are having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers and consequently the advertising that we receive. We are now more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news by buying a copy of our newspaper.
Allan Crow, Editor, Fife Free Press