Kirkcaldy After Lockdown – Event Report
Thanks to everyone who joined us for our Kirkcaldy After Lockdown event on 7th July. Around 60 people joined us to listen to our speakers, discuss what they love about Kirkcaldy, share their ideas on how Kirkcaldy should look post-lockdown and tell us how we should be involved. The evening was a great success with lots of positivity about the future of Kirkcaldy. Read Allan Crow’s write up of the evening in the Fife Free Press.
Our Chief Executive Suzy kicked off the evening urging people to take part in the conversation – “Let’s act as if we own the place”. We then heard passionate talks from local speakers – Christine May, Chair of the Greener Kirkcaldy board, Cara Forrester from Love Oor Lang Toun, and Allan Crow, editor of the Fife Free Press and creator of their new ‘Civic Conversation’ series – on what they think Kirkcaldy’s ‘next normal’ should be.
We were also joined by guest speaker, Matt Baker from Midsteeple Quarter, a Community Benefit Society in Dumfries, who spoke about their innovative and exciting regeneration work, enabling local people to help shape a prosperous, compassionate and vibrant Dumfries town centre for the future.
Following our speakers, participants took part in small group discussions where they had the chance to share their thoughts and ideas. Here’s a summary of what people told us in the groups:
- What do we love about Kirkcaldy (now)?
- Green and open spaces – parks, volunteers green, memorial gardens, town square
- Beach, coast and esplanade
- Cultural assets – strong diversity of music groups, artists, galleries, library, theatre etc.
- Good transport links
- Great architecture
- Long term businesses
- Good schools
- Great community and people
- Community spirit
- Community resilience and perseverance
- Positive attitude
- Ideas and community activism
- Volunteer community
- Events driven by local people e.g. Half Marathon, Highland Games
- Lots of small local projects making a difference
- Good local leadership
- Potential to grow and expand
- What are our future ambitions?
- A new town centre
- Shift from retail to leisure, relaxation and social mixing
- More evening activities
- More local businesses and activities e.g. artisan market
- More places for people to mix outside
- Regenerate high street – replicate Midsteeple Quarter ideas
- Empty units – use spaces differently e.g. artists’ showcases, community gardens, knock some buildings down
- Create an investible town centre with jobs
- Focus away from cars
- Improve non-car transport links
- Improve cycling routes in the town centre and between villages
- On-street bike share scheme
- Make Kirkcaldy more accessible and diverse e.g. improve disabled parking
- More for young people and more youth training
- What needs to be done to get there?
- We already have everything we need to succeed, we just need to be more self-sufficient
- Bottom-up approach
- Involve and consult the community
- Include all demographics – multiple voices, shared identity
- Needs community ownership
- Make people feel part of Kirkcaldy – foster a sense of community
- Not just housing estates for commuters
- Celebrate local history and heritage, walking tours
- We need to talk the place up – help people appreciate it
- Raise self-esteem and confidence – quick win project for this
- Do a skills audit of people in Kirkcaldy and bring together people with different expertise
- Identify the appropriate partners and make sure we are co-operating not competing: this will include a mix of organisations and key individuals
- Learn from others e.g. Midsteeple Quarter, projects that mix regeneration with sustainability and ecology etc.
- What part should GK play? What are the priorities?
- Facilitate bringing the community together, consulting them and getting their ideas to make the plans
- More of these sessions – more speakers and chat in small groups
- Bring cohesion
- Identify appropriate partners and facilitate conversations e.g. with businesses/council
- Create a group to take this forward – based on tonight
- Include everyone. Get all groups involved
- GK should definitely be involved at some level in any future town planning, but, depending on the project, that could either be as the lead or, like tonight, as a facilitator
- GK should take a lead in town centre regeneration, alongside the new civic group and Fife Council (joint approach)
- Keep environmentalism as our key motive – don’t lose that core
We’ve created a community survey to continue this conversation and give more people a chance to share their ideas. Have your say here.
Your ideas will play a key role in informing our future planning – we’ll be updating our 5-year Strategic Plan this summer. We’ll also pass them on to the new Love Oor Lang Toun group to feed into their plans.|