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Silverburn Park transformation aided by lottery funding

Silverburn Park's flax mill, with a fantastic beast created by artist Drew Walker
Silverburn Park's flax mill, with a fantastic beast created by artist Drew Walker

Revival of a Fife park has been boosted by a £95,000 lottery grant.

The cash from the Big Lottery Fund will aid the development of Silverburn Park, at Leven.

It will allow Fife Employment Access Trust (FEAT), which is leading the project, to employ an operations manager whose job will include sourcing more money for the park.

The manager will also develop, plan and manage day-to-day operations and coordinate the Friends of Silverburn group which has been running events and activities.

Duncan Mitchell, general manager of FEAT, said: “This funding is a real boost and will provide an anchor post in the organisation and we can really build on the momentum we’ve gained at the park over recent months.”

News of the funding over three years follows a grant for the park’s new Cottage Window Café from the Voluntary Action Fund, which will allow it to recruit dedicated staff, and gain money from Fife Charities Trust and Community Jobs Scotland.

Duncan said: “All of this good news came within the space of a couple of days, so has given everyone a real lift.”

A series of setbacks, including thefts and a fire which destroyed Silverburn House, have delayed the opening of the park’s campsite but Duncan said work there, and on renovation of the former flax mill, will continue.

The team has also just submitted its first large-scale funding application to the Heritage Lottery Fund, which it hopes will give it almost £3.5 million to support the mill’s transformation into a visitor centre, hostel and cafe.

Duncan said: “It’s not just about plans for the conservation and regeneration of the building, the funders want to see that there will be a lot of community activities ongoing throughout the development and building phase, with an emphasis on heritage.

“Securing the funding for an operations manager now from the National Lottery will greatly help with the co-ordination of this element of the programme if we are successful.”

North East Fife MP Stephen Gethins said: “It’s good to see money from National Lottery ticket purchases benefiting the local area.

“The FEAT team is working really hard to develop the park and to promote the health and wellbeing aspect of the outdoors and the benefits of this for mental health, as well as creating employment.

“I wish them the very best of luck with the project.”

A series of events are to be held at Silverburn Park over the summer, including the Silly at Silverburn family fun day on July 5, which will have a Gaelic twist. Storyteller and author Owen Pilgrim will be at the park on July 7 and on July 28 and 29 it will host its annual music festival.

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