THE Cottage Family Centre in Kirkcaldy is celebrating a major funding windfall which will help it expand its services to vulnerable families in Templehall.
It has just been awarded £42,000 from Fairer Scotland, a government body set up to address health, social and economic inequalities in our most deprived communities.
And it plans to use the cash to expand its very successful Dads’ Group to create a community garden to grow healthy fruit and vegetables and educate youngsters.
A large piece of land opposite the centre in Cawdor Crescent has been secured from Fife Council, with help from Kirkcaldy’s MP Gordon Brown.
Detailed designs have been drawn up for the garden, which will have an eco greenhouse made from plastic bottles, a ‘secret garden’ where youngsters can play and rustic furniture where weary shoppers or people living in flats without gardens can enjoy a rest or get some fresh air.
Pauline Buchan, service co-ordinator with the Cottage Family Centre, said: “We are just so excited about this project and so thankful to everyone who has played a part in helping to make it happen.
“The work already done on the garden by the Dads’ Group has been fantastic.
‘’It has helped to transform the lives of those who have taken part by build their self confidence and esteem - this will give them something else to look forward to.”
Funding from Equally Well, a Scottish government body to help improve health, will also be used to allow the dads to study for an SVQ 2 in horticulture at Elmwood College.
Passing on skills
Pauline added: “We hope these qualifications could lead to them getting employment or helping to pass on their skills to other members of the local community.
‘‘It is just fantastic and the eight we currently have in the group are really keen to take this opportunity to get a qualification through this.”
The Dads’ Group started up in August and its success was recognised during a recent visit to the centre by Mr Brown when he promised to help them try to get the extra land to continue the gardening scheme.
The dads have also been undertaking training programmes such as IT and basic cookery, parent craft sessions and are also planning a team building trip to Dalguise outdoor education centre with funding provided by Equally Well.
“It is amazing to see the difference the group has made to these men,” explained Pauline.
“For some it has quite literally been a lifesaver, giving them a reason to get out their bed in the morning and showing them that they are good at something and can be good parents to their children. It has had a knock-on effect on every aspect of their lives.”
Pauline wanted to thank Donald Matthew of Matthew Brother’s construction and Howden’s which had both provided invaluable help to the Cottage project as a whole.