Plans to develop new athletics track in Kirkcaldy given £159k boost

Kirkcaldy would benefit from a new athletics trackKirkcaldy would benefit from a new athletics track
Kirkcaldy would benefit from a new athletics track
Ambitious plans to develop a brand new athletics track in Kirkcaldy have been backed by local councillors.

The Kirkcaldy Community Athletics Trust (KCAT) has carried out detailed analysis over the last three years into the feasibility of a local community enterprise which could raise money for and manage the construction and ongoing operation of an athletics facility somewhere in the town.

But while the project is still very much at an early stage and a site has not yet been identified, councillors on the Kirkcaldy area committee have given the idea a major boost by committing £159,000 from their area capital budget towards KCAT’s vision.

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It is hoped any new athletics facility in Kirkcaldy would form part of a community hub for sport, fitness, health and wellbeing, and would be a valuable local resource that individuals, families, groups, clubs and communities can all use moving forward.

Community manager Julie Dickson stressed that the allocation of the funds are dependent on identification of a suitable site, agreement of lease for the site, acquisition of grant funding and fundraising to cover the remaining costs.

But she added: “Investing in athletics infrastructure, programmes and activities involving a range of club, public and third sector partners would help to address inequalities within the most deprived areas of Kirkcaldy.

“Kirkcaldy has a strong culture of athletics participation, particularly in terms of running, and this is demonstrated through high levels of weekly participation in Jog Scotland, Park Run and the Kirkcaldy Half Marathon.”

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The committee’s allocation of £159,000 to KCAT will allow the organisation to unlock £100,000 from SportScotland and would leave KCAT with a further £250,000 to £300,000 to find from other sources.

However, councillors heard that KCAT is confident it will be able to raise that sum from a combination of long-term funding from Social Investment Scotland, other grant awarding bodies and local fund-raising efforts.

Committee convener Councillor Neil Crooks said: “We’ve still got a wee bit to go but this is certainly an important step today.

“£159,000 is an eye-watering sum of money but the feedback we’re getting is that it’s probably a drop in the ocean when it comes to the mental health and physical benefits this will bring.

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“We’re really hopeful it all falls into place and if it doesn’t then we’ll still have £159,000 in our gift.

“But this should help unlock other funding requests from the group and we should end up with a running track in Kirkcaldy.”

A feasibility study commissioned by KCAT, which was produced last year, concluded that the provision of dedicated athletics facilities in Kirkcaldy would support the delivery of a number of key national and local strategies.

It is understood that two or three possible locations are being looked at by KCAT, although further investigations and discussions with landowners are required.

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Consultation has taken place with a range of elected members and council officers, Fife Athletic Club, local running groups Kirkcaldy Wizards and RunSum, SportScotland, Scottish Athletics and the local community.

KCAT itself is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation, which is a legal form unique to Scottish charities and which allows it to enter into contracts, employ staff, incur debts, own property, sue and be sued.