This year has been very eventful for the East Neuk Centre Trust and its Trustees.
At the last (2015) AGM it became apparent that Fife College would give us notice to vacate the learning centre, based in Anstruther Town Hall and withdraw from the East Neuk. This indeed happened at Christmas and the College vacated the learning centre at Easter this year.
In partnership with Fife Council Community Learning and Development, the Trust refurbished the room with new computers, printer and software. We also installed internet access which we extended to cover the entire building. This enabled classes such as ESOL, Job Club and others to continue in the Centre. We quickly established that there is a strong demand for “over 55“ classes and are currently developing them to match the needs of the community. We have renamed this room the “Learning Hub”.
At the same time, we had it confirmed that the Fife Council local office at Ladywalk will relocate to the new Waid school in 2017 and the Public Library in the Town Hall will also move. The Trustees have put forward an expression of interest in both areas and are currently working on a business plan to integrate them into our complex.
Cellardyke Town Hall is proving quite problematic and not as straightforward as we believed. At the AGM two years ago, those present supported merging the Trust with the Cellardyke Town Hall Committee. We envisaged a smooth transition with the granting of a similar lease to what we currently have. However, this has not turned out to be the case and we are currently devising a business case and discussing with Fife Council how we can take this forward for the benefit of the community.
Looking forward, while integration of the Ladywalk local office building and the Lower Town Hall will be fairly straightforward, Cellardyke Town Hall will be a considerable challenge. The building needs some work done on it such as rewiring, new fire alarm system, etc. which will cost a fair amount of money. Also, our recurring grant does not cover this Hall so it has to be self- sustaining and cover its’ own costs.
Overall, our Halls are being well used for a wide range of events, functions and community use. The number of weddings we host is increasing as our reputation for providing a high- quality and personal service is being more widely recognised. A lot of this is due to the hard work and dedication of the Trust’s staff, to whom the Trustees all give a well-earned vote of thanks.
During the year, Tom Phillips, our Council Link Officer and Dave Hewitt, our Community Education worker, both moved on to pastures new and we wish them both well. Alex Sutherland has returned and is developing a range of courses in the East Neuk as well as setting up our “Learning Hub.“ Sheena Watson has returned as Link Officer and is trying to keep us under control — no chance!
Your trustees met monthly to guide the work of the Trust and we welcome a new Trustee in Gail Sorley. At this stage your Trustees have to repeat what we say every year: that we would welcome one or two more people to join us by becoming trustees.
The Trust is involved with a separate company, CCA Power, which owns and operates the wind turbine at Cornceres Farm in Kilrenny. This started generating electricity in August 2016 and in time will return a profit to the Trust. We could be the only community centre that owns its own wind turbine!!
The Trust continues to be active in the wider community, supporting amongst others, the Anstruther Harbour Festival and Anstruther & Cellardyke in Bloom events.
The Trust acknowledges the continued support from Elizabeth Gordon and the Anstruther Community Kist. Their generous donations allow us to continue to play a full part in Anstruther & Cellardyke in Bloom as well as pursue other projects.
The Co-Op supermarket nominated us as one of its’ three Local Charities to benefit from the new Dividend card. We are honoured that we have been put forward for this support.
Overall costs continue to rise and our grant is slowly being cut back, so we rely more and more on generating our own income in order to maintain the high standards our users have become accustomed to.
However, with the support of everyone involved we believe we can deliver what the community needs, wants and expects.