Civic Conversation: Why I'd rather stay home in Kirkcaldy

In 1987 Olivers Coffee Shop and Bakery, situated on Kirkcaldy High Street, was voted for by the company as its 'Shop Of The Year' for 1986. In 1987 Olivers Coffee Shop and Bakery, situated on Kirkcaldy High Street, was voted for by the company as its 'Shop Of The Year' for 1986.
In 1987 Olivers Coffee Shop and Bakery, situated on Kirkcaldy High Street, was voted for by the company as its 'Shop Of The Year' for 1986.
Lockdown gave me a new perspective on the Lang Toun

As part of the Fife Free Press’ Civic Conversation on bringing Kirkcaldy out of lockdown, Christina Beattie, a teacher at Fair Isle Primary School, offerd her views on how the town can aim high as it looks ahead

Kirkcaldy is home and has been for over 30 years. It is where I was educated, where I met all my closest friends, where I work and where I have settled with my husband and dog.

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Kirkcaldy will always be seen in very high regard by me, but even I can appreciate the deterioration and decline in footfall and people spending their time here in recent years. I am one of them.

Stark's Park, home of Raith RoversStark's Park, home of Raith Rovers
Stark's Park, home of Raith Rovers

My memories as a child are of going down the High Street on a Saturday afternoon with my mum.

We would have lunch at Oliver’s on the corner of Bell Inn Wynd or the Wimpy inside the Mercat.

There were times you couldn’t walk through the Mercat or on the High Street without stopping and talking to everyone you knew.

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I remember not being able to get a seat at Miss Maude’s café because the High Street was thriving. It really was the hub of Kirkcaldy.

After shopping, we would walk up to Tesco and through the Postings for a cake from the bakers before getting the bus home.

As an adult in my twenties I would still frequent the old nightclubs and bars of Kirkcaldy like Harlem, Thunder Road and Kitty’s.

Although by this point I wasn’t spending as much time here.

The High Street stores started to decline and I would prefer to go to Dunfermline or Edinburgh for better variety of clothes shops. As time went on it made more sense to go out for the day to Edinburgh to do some shopping and then have a nice meal and drinks before coming home. Kirkcaldy was not offering much.

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I was disheartened with our town centre, and realised I wasn’t the only one as the amount of people spending time there clearly declined.

My friends and I would go to the retail park to meet for coffee after work as there was free parking and we could do a bit of shopping before going home.The saving grace for me was starting a love affair with Raith Rovers.

Going there every week gave me a sense of community and connection with a variety of different people from Kirkcaldy.

The social aspect of going to the football made me remember how amazing the people of Kirkcaldy are by being welcoming, down to earth and funny.The highlight of my week was - and still is - going to the Rovers and cheering on my local team encouraging all my friends to do the same, although I’m still the only one with a season ticket!

And so lockdown arrived in March this year.

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My days were centred on dog walks. Kirkcaldy has so many beautiful outdoor spaces that no other town nearby has.

Ravenscraig Park is my favourite. I love the variety of woodland, beach and sea. Dysart Harbour is truly spectacular.

Many a time I have thought to myself if I found this on holiday abroad I would think it was stunning. This made me look at Kirkcaldy again through fresh eyes.

I started to appreciate our town and what it has to offer. I felt grateful that this is where I lived.

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I became closer with my neighbours who I had never spoken to before Lockdown. I began shopping local and buying produce from local farms and using smaller shops instead of going to the big supermarkets.

Moving forward, it is my opinion that the people of Kirkcaldy need spaces where we can meet up with the people we missed during Lockdown.

Now we don’t take for granted the times we can sit and have a catch up with our friends and family.

I think the new waterfront project has its potential and is a good start, but it is not enough.

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There needs to be a plethora of things for people to choose from in Kirkcaldy and everything you could want should be on our doorstep.

People should be able to spend their entire weekend and free time in Kirkcaldy no matter what they are choosing to do - whether it be using our outdoor spaces for exercise, shopping, eating out or going to a nice bar for a drink after work.

We already have a beautiful coastline and parks.

We need more shops to encourage people to go into the High Street to buy clothes and not shop online.

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We should take advantage of the Prom and have waterfront restaurants and bars like those in South Queensferry who utilise the views of the Forth. We can do this too!

Aiming high is what the people of Kirkcaldy deserve and I’m a firm believer in “If you build it they will come.”

I have been lucky enough to travel to different places across the world and they have all been wonderful however Kirkcaldy has my heart.

As the old song goes… “I’d rather stay here in Kirkcaldy.”

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

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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.

Thank you

Allan Crow, Editor, Fife Free Press

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