Residents in the Gallatown were informed of a massive £500,000 windfall to create a new community facility in a video message.
Liz Easton, general secretary of Kirkcaldy YMCA told volunteers and members of the local community about the grant from the National Lottery’s Community Fund to Link Up the Gallatown to extend and renovate the former Gallatown Park Bowling Club into a new hub on camera, because she couldn’t be there in person.
And the announcement was caught on camera by our photographer.
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The Link Up project, which was started through Kirkcaldy YMCA from the Happy Days hub in St Clair Street in 2012, will use the grant from the National Lottery’s Community Fund to extend the former Gallatown Park Bowling Club which it is taking over as a new community centre for residents in the east of the town.
Areas in Smeaton and Gallatown were identified as being among the most deprived in Scotland in recent child poverty statistics.
The YM carried out parts of its activity programme, including its popular bike hub, from the bowling club while it was open. When it closed in 2017 decided it would make an ideal base for a full community facility, with outside space for sports, play and a community garden.
Liz Easton, general secretary of Kirkcaldy YMCA said: “We approached Fife Council in May 2018 to look at the feasibility of the YM taking over the building and things took off from there.
“Local people have been fully behind the plan and willing to contribute their thoughts and ideas on what the area really needs, leading to lots of successful activities like a cooking club, wellbeing classes, playgroups and a clothing stall.
“This very welcome funding will support a significant part of the planned building and staffing costs for the project for a number of years and we cannot than the National Lottery enough.”
Shuggy Hughes, development worker with Link Up the Gallatown, added: “We are hopeful of attracting match funding which will enable us to do a huge amount of work in the area and help the local community to carry out the projects and ideas it knows will make a difference.
“The YM has done a huge amount of work, alongside the local councillors and the community which continues to inspire us and the work we do.”
Debbie Kelly, development worker, added: “We are looking forward to the future and to be able to deliver all the activities the community is asking for. It gives us a great sense of pride to be a part of this.”
Grace Beale, a Gallatown resident, became involved with Link Up six years ago after attending cooking classes She volunteers at events and helps run the weekly community lunch which delivers over 30 lunches every week.
She also joined the Gallatown Gala committee.
She said: “This is a dream come true, I’m so happy for everyone involved and the whole community. This money will make a huge difference for everyone here and for the next generation. We can’t wait for the new building to open.”
Rod Cavanagh, local councillor, said: “This is fabulous news for Gallatown and will provide a great facility which will not just attract interest here, but much further afield.
“Link Up is a huge source of inspiration and local people are benefiting from it.
“Shuggy and his team have put so much work into the project. It will be great for everyone and will hopefully help turn the area’s fortunes around.”