Ambitious £300,000 fundraiser launched in bid to buy Kirkcaldy’s Polish Club

An ambitious fundraising bid has been launched to bring the Polish Club in Kirkcaldy under local ownership.

By Allan Crow
Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 7:32 pm

The much loved, long-established listed building has been at the heart of the community since 1953, but its owners are London-based.

Now a new group, Bennochy Community Hub, has been set up to raise £300,000 to take it over and secure its future.

The moves come several months after a campaign was launched to save the club after London-based SPK - the Polish Ex-combatants Association which formally manages the club - decided to put the building up for sale.

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Polish Club, Kirkcaldy (Pic: Fife Free Press)

Since that bombshell in May, local volunteers, who run the club, have worked hard to secure huge support across the community, and formed a trust which wants to take it over.

It has made it through to the second stage in the Scottish Land Fund grants and, if successful, that could deliver a massive chunk of the money needed if success - but it needs to continue to demonstrate it has the support of the community, specifically those in KY1 and KY2 postcodes to meet the criteria for an application.

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The club’s bid will probably be considered in March 2022, giving it several months to drive its fundraising initiative.

Polish Club, Kirkcaldy

John Hamilton, president of the Polish Club, said: “There has been a lot of great support from across the town and beyond.

“Even people who have never set foot inside want it to continue because it has been part of the town for so long.”

Opened in 1952, the Polish Club was originally set up by the Polish soldier veterans from WWII as they settled into their new lives in Scotland.

Today it is home to many groups across the community including Kirkcaldy Acoustic Music Club, which has brought a host of singers and performers to town, and a Curnie Club, as well as hosting Sunday Polish dinners, a weekend school for over 100 youngsters, and quiz nights, yoga classes and much more.

Polish Club, Kirkcaldy (Pic: Fife Free Press)

The trustees believe taking the building - and its surrounding grounds - under local control will allow them to plan a bright new future.

It describes the decision by SPK to put it up for sale as “devastating to the community and all the people who use it, including the several generations who have volunteered and worked hard to keep it going.”

If a deal can be done, then the trust would run the club for the benefit of the organisations which is it, and the community.

It would be managed by local people with trustees appointed annually.

Added Mr Hamilton: “It would give us control of the building, and give us the impetus to take things forward.”

The bid to bring the club under local control has the backing of many local politicians from council to parliament.

It would also bring to an end the current set up in which the Kirkcaldy club is, a branch of the London organisation, renting it from them.

SPK runs Polish Clubs across the UK, and several have closed in recent years.

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