New initiative to help regenerate Kirkcaldy

Looking ahead: Councillor Neil Crooks (area committee chairman), Suzi Goodsir (Greener Kirkcaldy) and Danny Cepok (area services manager).
Looking ahead: Councillor Neil Crooks (area committee chairman), Suzi Goodsir (Greener Kirkcaldy) and Danny Cepok (area services manager).

Councillors, Council officers, charities and other voluntary sector groups in Kirkcaldy are preparing to build an ARK.

That is Area Regeneration Kirkcaldy, an umbrella organisation to encourage and support community enterprise throughout the town and its surrounding area.

At last week’s Kirkcaldy area committee, Councillors agreed to set up a steering group to create a business plan which will be brought back to the committee for approval; and that a £50,000 development fund be earmarked from the Fairer Scotland Fund, with up to £15,000 of it for a feasibility study and to help attract more external funding.

Danny Cepok, Kirkcaldy area services manager, said discussions had taken place between the various organisations following a seminar by Glasgow University entitled ‘Place Matters’ held in Kirkcaldy in 2013.

It concluded that Kirkcaldy was a town with a lot of potential, but that one of the biggest challenges would be addressing the inequality gap to make it better for residents and visitors requiring work between the public and private sectors.

Mr Cepok said that some issues had been addressed through the Local Community Plan but others needed more work, with communities identifying the need for services in their areas through neighbourhood planning for projects to improve their local environment.

Ideas coming forward include landscaping, community transfer of assets in areas like Gallatown and Burntisland, and community cafes, and these were areas where ARK could assist.

Greener Kirkcaldy, which has had great successes in the town, had offered to take the role of lead organisation on the steering group, working alongside others like Furniture Plus, Link Living and other voluntary organisations to develop a business plan.

It will initially develop short-term projects, including an environmental squad to clear and improve small sites identified by communities, a handyman team to carry out minor reapirs for elderly and vulnerable people, a building squad to refurbish dilapidated buildings and sell them on, and an events support group to help with local galas and events.

If successful it could go on to become an independent organisation.

Councillors agreed unanimously to establish ARK.

The aims behind the project ...

To create an income-generating social enterprise that will support and give advice to a range of community groups and encourage other community enterprises across the Kirkcaldy area.

ARK will also have a commercial arm to provide funding to support its work in neighbourhood development areas and with community groups.

It will also seek other funding to achieve its charitable aims.