Lochgelly has just won the SURF award for Scotland’s Most Improved Town, in large part for the fantastic work carried out by residents and local community groups.
This is a long overdue recognition of the exceptional contribution made by many community-minded volunteers. As individuals and in groups such as Lochgelly Community Development Forum, Lochgelly Gala Committee, Lochgelly Christmas Lights, Growing in Lochgelly, Loch of Shining Waters, Lochgelly Heritage Group, and many more, they have made a massive difference to life in Lochgelly.
In 2004, Lochgelly was named as the ‘worst place to live in Britain’, and was identified by HBOS as having the lowest house prices in the UK. In 2010 it featured on the Carbuncle Awards’ ‘dismal town’ shortlist.
Helen Ross from the Lochgelly Community Development Forum accepted the award on behalf of the Lochgelly community saying:
“Absolutely thrilled for the town! I was so proud to collect the award on behalf of the community of Lochgelly”
Judges cited the Lochgelly Community Action plan as one of many reasons which helped Lochgelly win the award. The plan was put together by residents working together and in partnership with Fife Councils Community Learning & Development. Residents underwent an extensive community engagement process to produce a guide that will try and help shape local policy over the next five years.
The new Community Action Plan has helped increase community confidence and foster local pride.
The Community Action Plan summarises community views about: Lochgelly – the community now, the vision for the future of Lochgelly, the issues that matter most to the community, the priorities for projects and actions.
Judges were also positive about the contribution from Ore Valley Housing Association, specifically for their work at the Miners Institute, the Business Centre, and re-development of affordable housing on Main Street.
31 new town centre living opportunities in former derelict buildings and a new OVHA affordable housing development on Main Street. Development of a new Business Centre and refurbished Miners’ Institute, with a combined 51 business units (75% occupied).
Let’s give all the community groups in the Lochgelly area who strive to make the town a better place for all, however the odds are stacked against them, a huge pat on the back!
Photography credits: Mike Payne (CLD – Fife Council)