A year of success & progress for culture in Fife

The trust's year included the opening of Kirkcaldy Galleries
The trust's year included the opening of Kirkcaldy Galleries

Two million visits were made to libraries, museums, galleries, theatres and community venues operated by Fife Cultural Trust in 2013/14.

The trust’s annual report highlighted its work in entertaining, informing, educating and supporting the people of Fife – and many of its successes were in Kirkcaldy.

Working with Kirkcaldy4All and Jazz Scotland, the trust helped stage the Fife International Carnival, an outdoor spectacular which brought colour, costumes, music and thousands of visitors to Kirkcaldy’s High Street.

The first Kirkcaldy Film Festival was enjoyed by hundreds of film fans, and the panto at Adam Smith Theatre had a total audience of 18,000.

But perhaps the highlight of the year was the opening of Kirkcaldy Galleries in June 2013 following a £2.5m refurbishment programme. Attendance figures for the 10-month period to the end of March 2014 reached 150,000.

Councillors at last week’s scrutiny meeting praised the trust for its “exceptional service delivery” against a backdrop of reduced funding.

Councillor Bill Brown, the committee’s vice-chairman, said: “This is so exciting. There is so much going on, it’s a pleasure to hear about this and how things are moving forward.”

Heather Stuart, the trust’s chief executive, told the committee that changes in the management structure had taken place during the year and, against a backdrop of reduced funding from the Council, there had been a drive to reduce costs and improve efficiency and effectiveness.

She said people applying for jobs and benefits had been able to make use of the libraries’ network of more than 250 computers, while staff had been providing advice and support.

And the four theatres operated by the trust – Rothes Halls (Glenrothes), Adam Smith Theatre, Carnegie Hall (Dunfermline) and Lochgelly Centre – saw their total audience grow by 13 per cent.

One criticism that smaller, rural museums and heritage centres tended to lose out to the bigger venues was accepted by the chief executive.

She pointed out the trust had around £25,000 to run exhibitions across all venues, and had to rely on attracting additional funding for many of its exhibitions.

She added: “Drawing in external funding tends to be for high impact exhibitions, and these tend to be at bigger venues.”