St Andrews church located behind the Lochgelly War Memorial has been earmarked as one of the best places in Fife to set up an indoor climbing and bouldering arena, thanks to new Social Enterprise Rockgelly.

The team of experienced rock climbers behind Rockgelly had been looking at buildings and locations throughout Fife before being introduced to St Andrew Church through Fife Council.

On their first site visit to the Church the team knew they had found somewhere special, in terms of the internal look and feel of the building, the location of church in Lochgelly and the location of Lochgelly in terms of the rest of Fife and Scotland.

Rockgelly are keen to ensure the Church is restored and reused, keeping the original features where possible, to provide an indoor climbing arena and a soft-play area with cafe facilities.

The full plans include:

  • Cafe area – Good coffee, Sandwiches, Toasties/Panini’s, home-baking, etc. locally sourced where possible.
  • Multi level Soft Play area – Suitable for most ages with a strong ‘climbing’ theme.
  • Competition Bouldering wall(s) – Dedicated competition wall for all abilities.
  • Top roping in the ‘Church’ – Numerous Top roping lines all the way into the rafters.
  • Top roping & Lead climbing in the arena – An extension to the existing Church will house a dedicated Top roping & Lead climbing area with some interesting shapes being provided to climb over, and through.
  • Viewing platform / Chill out space – A Mezzanine area will provide a unique perspective on the climbing area to sit back and watch others climb. This area can also provide a chill out space whilst you’re recharging your batteries, ready for your next climb.
  • Changing area & Showers – Disabled access Toilets will also be available.

This ambitious project is still in feasibility stage but initial signs are good, Rockgelly worked with Lochgelly Community Development Forum so that they could first approach residents at the Lochgelly Gala 2013 seeking questionnaires to be completed and further feedback.

St Andrews Church is a key building and asset to Lochgelly which has been empty since 2006. Fife Council and partners have been working to try and secure a sustainable use for the building which can also enhance the area and bring community benefits in the longer term. Unfortunately the restoration of the fabric of the building is costly, however Fife Council have recently applied to the Scottish Government for grant funding towards these costs, with a decision expected in December 2013.

Hazel Cross from Fife Council’s Enterprise, Planning and Protective Services said

“St Andrews Church is a beautiful building inside and out and is part of the heritage of Lochgelly. This proposal from Rockgelly has the potential to bring new life to this building, protecting its heritage for future generations whilst providing recreational facilities to the local community and visitors to the area. The team behind Rochgelly were impressed with the Church as well the strong community spirit and community projects already running in the area and therefore felt that Lochgelly is an area they would like to invest in”

Rockgelly’s commitment to the project, has taken further steps, by the launch of their official website (www.rockgelly.org), and they are also seeking further support from their own FaceBook page.

The group are still seeking feedback from the local community, so if you a have a couple of minutes to spare and would like to show support for the project, please fill in their questionnaire at: http://themajesticfool.wufoo.com/forms/rockgelly-questionnaire/

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