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Council moves to tackle rural poverty

Council moves to tackle rural poverty

PUBLIC transport costs in rural Fife are making it more difficult for unemployed people to access job opportunities, new research has highlighted.

As part of Fife Council’s commitment to a fairer Fife, the research was commissioned by the North East Fife Welfare Reform and Anti-Poverty Group to look at how living in a rural area can have a huge impact on those living in poverty.

Now further work will be done with a volunteer group to gauge how access to free public transport will make a difference to their lives.

And it’s also planned to work with Stagecoach on better promotion of a national concessionary scheme for those who are unemployed for 13 weeks or more, operated by the Department of Work and Pensions, (DWP). There is currently a low uptake of this scheme which gives a 50 % reduction on bus fares.

Community Manager for North East Fife Janice Laird explained: “Rural poverty is a real concern in this area. Several factors contribute to higher living costs here, including a shortage of affordable housing, older homes with higher fuel costs, expensive food with less access to discount supermarkets and the availability and costs of public transport.

“For all of these reasons we are working with partners on a rural poverty action plan to highlight and tackle these issues.”

Feedback from those who took part in the recent research is that the cost of travelling by bus is having a negative impact on their lives, particularly for those living in the East Neuk area and villages outside Cupar and St Andrews.

There were also examples where the cost of travel had resulted in people having to reduce their travel journeys which compromised their opportunities to seek employment, attend health appointments and see family and friends.

Travel costs were a barrier for many accessing budget supermarkets and in several cases, had led to a reliance on foodbanks and friends.

Difficulties for unemployed people were also highlighted with one participant explaining that it costs £3.50 to get to Anstruther for the job club as well as £8.20 to get to Leven to sign on. “It’s a lot of money and you can’t claim it back.” A single person under the age of 25 gets £251 per month Universal Credit.

Chair of the council’s NE Fife Area Committee Donald Lothian added: “It’s appropriate that we’re highlighting these issues during “Challenge Poverty Week” when there is a spotlight on the work organisations are doing to tackle poverty across the country.

“Our aim as a council is putting fairness at the heart of everything we do by bringing together Fife’s communities, services and businesses to fight poverty and inequality.

“Working together with our partners we will continue to gather evidence to help us better understand the nature and extent of poverty in North East Fife and make a positive difference to people’s lives.”

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Crail Town Hall Changes – Have Your Say

Crail Town Hall Changes – Have Your Say

Crail Town Hall Management Committee has been managing the upper floor of the Crail Town Hall for over 30 years. During that time the committee has endeavoured to regularly consult user groups to ascertain concerns and respond to user suggestions and to improve facilities. A change of the lease would incorporate the former library area into its lease and make a larger area available for different community uses and also provide a business rental space that could provide income to support further improvements to the Hall.

Changes to the ground floor of the Hall are proposed. The former library area would be reduced to accommodate an area for business rental. This proposal would involve removing the existing internal wall that we do not believe is structural but this is to be confirmed by a surveyor. The Community Hub space would be usable for personal meetings, for example a client and social worker, as well as small group sessions e.g. computer classes. A possible free computer access point is under consideration. Modest facilities would be included for making coffee etc.  Such facilities are not available in Crail at the moment for public use. The views of users of the Town Hall have been sought concerning these proposals and are fully supported by those canvassed.

The Management committee wish to receive comment concerning this development and would ask you to respond either to jackjarvis2018@outlook.com or lesley.kirk@fife.gov.uk by 21 January 2019.

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Cupar locals support projects to improve mental health and wellbeing

Cupar locals support projects to improve mental health and wellbeing

LOCAL people in the Cupar area have voted to support seven local projects in the area as part of Fife Council’s bid to create a fairer Fife.

Over the past few months the council has been asking local community groups to come up with ideas which will make Cupar area a thriving place and reduce inequalities.

Now following a successful voting event in the Corn Exchange on Saturday, seven projects, all with the aim of improving mental health and well being, have gained a slice of £15,000 council funding.

The successful projects are:

  • Lighthouse Project    £2000.00
  • Castle Furniture Motorvators Project    £2000.00
  • Include Me Project    £1236.80
  • Fife Folk Museum    £800.00
  • Fife Clan-Howe of Fife Rugby Club    £794.56
  • Ceres Community Café Project    £4000.00
  • Sustainable Cupar    £4168.64    

It is the first time an event of this kind has been held in North East Fife and, almost 100 votes were cast on Saturday.

Every group who had applied for funding were invited to present at the event and there was a chance for all the groups to network with each other and the local people who turned out to vote .

Team Manager Sheena Watson commented: ‘It was really inspiring to hear about the projects and to see local people getting a chance to have their say and vote on projects. This is something we want to build on  and certainly we want to increase the opportunities for people to say how funding is spend in their local areas. They have the local knowledge to say what will make a difference.’
The council has now organised a number of similar participatory budgeting events across Fife in a bid to give communities more control over public spending in their areas.
Added Sheena: “We are working to reduce inequalities and create a fairer Fife for everyone. We will learn lessons from this event and hopefully our next event in the East Neuk next year will be even better!”

 

Project info

The Lighthouse

The toilet in The Lighthouse is in desperate need of an upgrade. If this is not completed soon it may affect the running of the Lighthouse. The Lighthouse is used by the Cupar community and is especially welcoming to the elderly, vulnerable and disabled. The Lighthouse wants to make the toilet more accessible to its customers. The toilet needs this upgrade to continue to make the Lighthouse a place of refreshment for all.

Motorvators 

Offers support to clients with enduring mental health problems and people generally involved with the psychiatric services.

This is achieved through provision of a safe and therapeutic environment with trained support workers teaching auto mechanics, upcycling crafts, providing workshop experience and employment experience/skills.

Our project also abides by a service level agreement which incorporates periodic assessment and delivers a tailored client-based action plan, social outings.

Include Me 

Over the past year, Include Me Citizen Advocacy, through its work in the local area, has identified a need for a collective advocacy group for parents who are carers of vulnerable adult children living at home. Our aim is to facilitate the development of an independent parent-carer advocacy group which would ultimately become autonomous. Outcomes include reduced social isolation, greater inclusion, equality and agency; sustain quality home based care; self-efficacy; healthy, active, fulfilling lives.

Fife Folk Museum – Improve Signage 

Ceres is on the outskirts of Cupar, some three miles away.  To help increase our footfall, we would like to have signage in Cupar to point visitors in the direction of Ceres and to visit our lovely little museum which depicts the past social, economic and cultural life of the county of Fife.

Reaping the Benefits of Rugby 

As part of our overarching ethos of making the sport of rugby more inclusive at Howe of Fife Rugby Club, we would like to promote our Unified Rugby Team and the game in general alongside working with charities and agencies who support people experiencing mental health difficulties to help them in their recovery and gain confidence to re-join the community, improving their confidence, employability, social and team working skills.

Ceres community café – The Village Café 

To provide a meeting place that enhances the quality of life for local residents and that advances informal education with particular regard to the local environment, culture, social, and craft traditions.   The café will provide a safe, welcoming environment for those members of our community who are living on their own and need a friendly listening ear.   The café will be available to rent to the community who wish to hold meetings or social events.

Sustainable Cupar  

The aim of More Moor Road is to enhance the environs of the core path between Cupar and Ceres by providing benches to make it a more inclusive space for less able walkers and children.  The natural habitat will be enriched by installing bird boxes and the planting of an edible verge.  An interpretation board will increase public understanding of local history.  These aims will be achieved with the help of several community groups.