Enterprising pupils at Dairsie Primary School are tackling loneliness through their award-winning community cafe.
Each Thursday, the pupils invite members of the community in for tea and cake, including residents of Northeden House care home in Cupar.
At the end of the last school session, the youngsters were invited to the Social Enterprise in Education Awards in Edinburgh to pick up a prize for the initiative launched in June.
They are among youngsters across Fife helping to bring communities together.
Also honoured at the awards for their social enterprise cafe were Blairhall Primary pupils. And projects run by Duloch, Guardbridge, Markinch and South Park primaries, as well as Inverkeithing High and Madras College, were also recognised.
As well as teaching the youngsters vital skills for life, Dairsie’s community cafe is also proving to be beneficial for older people, who are at risk of becoming isolated.
Class teacher Ruth Selbie said: “We have started a link with the elderly residents in Northeden House and they and the children just get on like a house on fire. It’s like they’ve known each other forever.
“It’s brought on our kids and staff at the home are saying it’s invaluable. As soon as they leave it gives them something to talk about.”
Last month, Prime Minister Theresa May announced English GPs would be encouraged to prescribe social activities to combat loneliness, which she described as “one of the greatest public health challenges of our time.”
Mrs May said she was building on the legacy of the late Labour MP Jo Cox, who helped set up a cross-party commission on loneliness shortly before she was murdered in June 2016.
Research has indicated that social isolation is associated with an increased risk of dementia and the NHS said feeling alone can lead to depression and a serious decline in health and wellbeing.
As well as helping people across the community feel included, Dairsie Primary’s cafe has also helped the pupils develop a wide range of skills.
“Every child in the school is involved in some way,” said Ms Selbie.
“They all have different jobs, which could be being the cook or taking the orders.
“We’ve had the primary twos taking the orders and they really shone. They were really good, and really confident.”
When the cafe was launched in June, it was the culmination of months of hard work.
“They started off with nothing,” said Ms Selbie.
“Primary four and fives led tours of Dairsie Castle to raise money.
“With the first £200, they went to charity shops to buy cups and mugs.”
“We have a community garden, and we take produce from that and use it to make products for the cafe.”
She added: “It’s a lovely school, with lovely kids.”