Fife Employment Access Trust (FEAT) are celebrating a significant award from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to transform the future of Silverburn Park in Leven.
FEAT are a Fife-wide award-winning mental health and employment specialist charity, also celebrating their 25th anniversary this year and are celebrating an award of £374,600 initially by the Fund to enter the formal development phase of the project which ultimately aims to renovate the B-listed former flax mill in the Park into a hub of commercial and community activities ranging from a hostel, café and community space, serving local people and visitors from the Fife Coastal Path.
Duncan Mitchell, General Manager at FEAT, says, “It’s been a long road to get to this point and I have to thank Fife Council and particularly current and previous members of the Levenmouth Area Committee who gave us the opportunity to lease the Park and hopefully spark new life into the site with wider benefits for the local community.”
It was back in 2012 that Fife Council marketed Silverburn as a development opportunity as a way of securing its regeneration, while at the same time safeguarding public access and the natural and historical value, with FEAT being named as the preferred partner.
Since then a wealth of activity has taken place to begin the regeneration of the Park and undertake the feasibility studies, community consultations and detailed designs – as well as fully cost the renovations work.
Duncan adds, “The funding from National Lottery Heritage Fund will now enable us to focus on securing the remainder of the funding needed to complete the construction phase of the project and finalise the designs for the renovation of the mill, as well as maintaining our vision to develop the Park as a place of quiet enjoyment, conserving the cultural values of the landscape and buildings, supporting the health & wellbeing of the community and enhancing the habitat and biodiversity of the environment. The funding will also support FEAT to ensure that meaningful training, volunteering, work experience and employment opportunities are available to their core client group and the surrounding community.
Once we can establish the final project, it will also be an income-generator for the charity and therefore reduce our reliance on grant funding to sustain our core work.”
FEAT will continue to work in partnership with Fife Council throughout this next phase of the programme, as well as Fife Historic Buildings Trust who have extensive experience – and success – of supporting successful implementation of similar projects across the Kingdom.
Further details of FEAT’s vision and aims for the Park are available at www.silverburnpark.co.uk and regular updates on the current daily activities at the Park are on their facebook page. Those developments have included managing volunteer and training programmes, opening a small café last year with plans to open a campsite this year as a pre-cursor to the flax mill re-development. FEAT have also delivered a wide variety of community events.
Brian Robertson, Chair of the Silverburn project Board, adds, “It’s been a long haul to get to this point of the project and we have a vast amount of work to do now to ensure we can raise the remainder of the funding required to transform the Park – however, the support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund is a huge advantage to us when approaching others – they have shown faith in our plans, and our ability to deliver these plans, and everyone connected with FEAT is on cloud 9.”
Cllr Ken Caldwell convener of Levenmouth Area Committee welcomed the news saying: “This is great news for Levenmouth that FEAT has secured funding from the National Lottery Heritage fund. We’re in full support of FEAT and are working closely with them on redevelopment plans for Silverburn Park. We want Silverburn to be an asset for the community; somewhere everyone can enjoy.”
Christine May, Chair of Fife Historic Buildings Trust said, “All at FHBT are so proud to have helped the Silverburn team to achieve this wonderful financial support, the result of months of hard work and co-operation. We are looking forward to getting stuck in with all the partners involved and to making the dream a reality.”