A pensioner’s group in Fife, who were on the brink of disbanding after callous thieves ransacked their premises and stole everything they owned, have been give a new lease of life thanks to Fife Council.
The Kirkcaldy Men’s Shed group are to be handed the keys to a former council parks and maintenance workers’ building which has not been used for more than 25 years.
It is hoped the move will secure the future for the group left disheartened after the sheds they had erected at the Ravenscraig allotments site were broken into in February.
Thieves smashed their way into the sheds before making off with every tool that the pensioners had collected, as well as a generator and other equipment work several thousand pounds.
A number of vacant outbuildings, which were previously used to store lawn mowers and various chemicals used by parks maintenance officers, are situated at the entrance to the site that the group say would prove ideal, not only for access, but also for parking and security.
“Since the break-in and our own equipment and tools were stolen, we’ve been reluctant to start over again because of the fear the sheds will be targeted once more,” said Men’s Shed member John Milne.
“Our initial approach to be able to bring one of the vacant buildings, which has lain empty for decades, back into use was initially rejected by the council but we’ve since put a plan together explaining the vital need for a more secure base.
“It’s a no brainer for the council as many of our members are time served tradespeople who have the skills to renovate the property without the cost having to be picked up by the local authority.”
He said: “Thankfully we’ve now come to an agreement and so we are cautious but hopeful we’ll get the keys by the new year and we have plans to complete the necessary improvements by Easter.
“The building needs a new floor as well as heating and lighting and general modification, plus, we will need to have disabled access as some of our members have disabled.
“We’ll be bringing the former council building back into use at minimal cost to the council and in turn creating a functioning community asset.
“Members are delighted that common sense has prevailed and we thank both the allotment group and Craig Balfour from Fife Council estates department for making it happen.”
The building is to be signed over to the Kirkcaldy Allotments Association based where the Men’s Shed group currently reside, who will then sub-let the premises over to the pensioners.