Cottage Centre to expand into Gallatown

Gordon Brown MP speaks at the Cottage Family Centre AGM
Gordon Brown MP speaks at the Cottage Family Centre AGM

The Cottage Family Centre in Kirkcaldy is set to expand to another part of the town following a cash injection.

The charity made the announcement at its annual general meeting on Tuesday in Templehall, where Marilyn Livingstone, chairman of the centre’s board, was joined by Gordon Brown MP, David Torrance MSP and Councillor Neil Crooks.

Having predominantly worked with families with young children in Kirkcaldy West, the centre now plans to expand into Gallatown after a cash boost from the education committee.

Pauline Buchan, service manager, plans to rent premises in the area, saying it would make a saving to transport budget.

She said: “It’s just the beginning of us reaching out to help in other areas.

‘‘But rather than ferrying people backwards and forwards on public transport it would save money in the end if we had a presence in the Gallatown area.”

Speaking at the meeting, Mr Brown praised the centre, which catered for 400 children over Christmas and is also helping nearly 100 parents with mental health problems, as well as almost 100 mothers reporting domestic violence.

He said: ‘‘The work of the Cottage is now recognised throughout Scotland as both unique and outstanding.’’

The centre specialises in early intervention to help families that are in danger of running into social problems.

It operates with a budget of only £120,000 from Fife Council.

With 15 members of staff part-time and full-time, it has had to expand its activities to cope with new demands as a result of the bedroom tax, cuts in benefits for children and a higher incidence of family breakdown.

Following a recently inspection, the centre received straight sixes in each area putting it in the top two per cent of care agencies nationwide - and Pauline put that down to the staff.

“Some of them are only employed part time but work a whole day and sometimes even more,” she said.

“They show a real commitment, and when you have an empathy with people who are in a difficult position in their life, that can make a huge difference.”

She said: “When someone from outside gives you such praise it’s brilliant to hear.”

Mr Brown added that to maintain such a high standard of care, while at the same time having to expand its activities, shows that the Cottage is working well for the people of Kirkcaldy.