I attended the community council meeting last night to raise the concerns the LoSW project has over the recent consultation held by Fife Council.

Before the issue could be raised, discussions on the Xmas lights for the Lochgelly area were held. I had always thought the lights were provided by the Community Council but the true background to the Xmas Lights was a joint social partnership between the Community Council and local individuals and groups. However, through the years the responsibility fell onto the Community Council.

Last nights meeting was a crisis meeting to see if the Xmas lights would go ahead in these tough financial times of cuts and the withdrawal of funding from many groups. The Community Council need to withdraw from the full management over the lights to free them up to tackle local issues of concern, rather than constantly seeking dwindling funding sources to support the lights.

At the meeting, with input from members of the local community, it was decided to carry on with the Xmas lights, but in a different format. A new group is going to be formed, governed by a constitution and some form of board or trust made up from local groups and individuals, with each group sending a representative to help co-ordinate and raise funds for the lights.

Currently the Community Council, Lochgelly Community Development Forum, Royal Oak Community Club and Loch of Shining Waters have agreed to support and input into the development of the group and lights for the benefit of the local community. Details of the new group will be discussed at a public meeting to be held at the Royal Oak on the 13th July. Groups and individuals with an interest in the xmas lights are encouraged to come along and put forward your ideas and come aboard.

The LCDF will be writing to a few of the local groups over the next few days to seek their involvement in the project.

I understand that not everyone supports the Xmas lights, but my personal opinion is that in Lochgelly, there is very little positivity about the area due to a lack of anything for the community, and with the recent plans, it shows that Fife Council are not planning to provide much (if anything) to the local community but will be encouraging growth of the population (through housing developments) which will further overstretch our dwindling community facilities and resources.

Projects like the Xmas Lights (and Gala), are grass roots projects created by individuals/groups in the community for the community, and the current trend seems to be, if you want something for the area (that probably should automatically be provided by the local authority) you are going to have to do it for yourselves.

Projects such as the Xmas Lights and the Gala, at least provide something positive for the area and the community, and we really need to hold on to every grass roots project in the area which is trying to improve the area through the provision of community activities, and I suspect as more cuts are handed down and local services reduced even further, there will be an emergence of more grass roots projects up and down Scotland managed by individuals, working together, that have decided, enough is enough, our communities deserve better.

I personally hope more people will get involved and gain a new experience and help give Lochgelly something positive. I am also hoping that this development will lead to other groups being formed between local groups and individuals creating social partnerships to create and develop activities and positive community developments for the area, at a grass roots level. Hopefully there will be an emergence of many more projects created for the community by the community.

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