Creating a Fairer Fife – Steve Grimmond, Chief Executive Fife Council

We set up the Fairer Fife Commission to help us and our partners identify ways in which we can tackle poverty in Fife. As a consequences of this the Fife Partnership has agreed a range of over 40 actions, some short term and some longer term, that will help us address poverty in the Kingdom.

So for example we are keen to be a fair work region. Fife Council has become a living wage employer and we’ve employed over 155 apprentices to help people get into good fair work.

We’re also keen to support those on the lowest incomes and we’ve recently development a community development finance initiative, which will provide fair lending at lower rates to people who would otherwise need to go to high cost lenders.

We’re keen to get Fife online, so we are providing free WiFi access across a wide range of public facilities throughout the Kingdom.

We recognise that tackling poverty is not a short term endeavour, that we’re in this for the long term but we’re making immediate impact now with some of these early initiatives.

We’re keen to make this pledge and we’d encourage you to make a pledge about the difference you can make to tackling poverty in Fife.


Community delegates gather to discuss making Fife Fairer

A participatory conference is being held at the Rothes Hall on Wednesday 29 March for those who lead or contribute to the work of community groups, voluntary organisations, social enterprises and charities in Fife.

The event, “Towards a Fairer Fife”, will seek to hear from and build upon the experience of people working on the ground in communities and organisations across Fife who are addressing inequalities or promoting fairness.

Delegates will hear from a range of speakers including: Steve Grimmond, Chief Executive of Fife Council; Satwat Rehman who was a Fairer Fife Commissioner; Peter Kelly, Director of the Poverty Alliance and members of Fife’s Third Sector Strategy Group.

However, the main focus of the day will be on participants themselves coming up with proposals and beginning to shape the priorities and agenda for change.

Ninian Stuart, Chair of Fife’s Third Sector Strategy Group sai: “The Fairer Fife Commission set a challenge for the third sector in Fife to become more proactive in setting our own strategic priorities.

“So, we see this conference as a chance to begin doing just that – creating something from the bottom up and reshaping the agenda in a way that will show how the third sector, at its best, can be a force of change, working with others, valuing everyone and giving voice to what is really needed.”

The event will be facilitated by Connecting Scotland, an experienced group of facilitators who facilitated last year’s highly successful Rural Parliament in Arbroath and who use participatory techniques to give all stakeholders a say on issues of shared concern.

For further information and to book your free place please e-mail or phone Fife Voluntary Action on 0800 389 6046.

For more information click here.

Fife Voluntary Action is the Third Sector Interface for the Fife Council area.

Supporting, developing and representing community groups, voluntary organisations, social enterprises and volunteering:

Registered Office: Fife Voluntary Action is a Company Limited by Guarantee, Registered in Scotland No. SC203613 and Registered Scottish Charity No. SCO28457.


The Creative Breaks Fund is run by Fife Voluntary Action, in partnership with Fife Carers Centre, Crossroads and Fife Young Carers is aimed at carers in Fife; courtesy of the Scottish Government’s Time to Live Fund which provides funding (through Shared Care Scotland) to support carers in their highly valued role to enable them to take a short break from their caring responsibilities.

Decision Day for Local Projects – “Forward West Fife”

OVER 50 local people got involved in the Forward West Fife event at Tulliallan Castle last weekend and took decisions on how to spend £60,000 in their communities.

South West Fife communities celebrate a cash boost for local projects.

Now local groups including Kincardine Scouts and Valleyfield Youth Football Club are set to benefit from the cash boost.

Fife Council, in partnership with the Coalfields Regeneration Trust and Forward West Fife Steering Group asked people from Kincardine, Saline, Steelend, Culross, Low Valleyfield, High Valleyfield, Newmills and Torryburn to come up with ideas for projects that could help regenerate the area following the closure of Longannet Power Station.

The participatory budgeting approach involves local people in deciding how public funding is spent in their area, coming up with ideas and then deciding which projects should receive funding by taking part in a voting process. The council and the Scottish Government funded the “Forward West Fife” project to the tune of £60,000.

However funding requests for projects came to over £140,000, and according to Fife Council’s Area Manager for South West Fife, Alastair Mutch, it made for a competitive decision day where every vote mattered.

He added: “Participatory budgeting was a recommendation from the Fairer Fife Commission as a way of creating a Fairer Fife, getting people involved and giving them a direct say in where public money can make a difference to their communities.

“Everyone who came along to the event represented their local projects and had to pitch to each other in a “speed dating” exercise.

“The room was a real hub of activity and each project had three minutes to sell their project and to outline why it should receive funding and to visit each of the other projects in the room to hear about their project and to ask questions. Once the three minutes were up – people had to move on and ‘speed-date’ the next project. There was a range of projects seeking funding from youth groups, sports groups and community councils for anything from play equipment to toilets!”

At the end of the speed-dating exercise, project representatives then re-convened back in their groups to discuss and agree as a group, how to distribute their ten votes across the various projects. Groups could not vote for themselves.”

Following the voting exercise, South West Fife Area Chair, Cllr Bobby Clelland said:  “The decision-making element proved challenging for people as they had heard all about the need for, and benefit of, valuable local community projects yet there was a finite amount of money. Overall however, it was clear that votes were distributed across the various communities and people looked beyond their own geography to support those projects they felt were most valuable.”

Added Cllr Clelland; “I was delighted to meet with the volunteers from our communities and to hear their ambitions for their areas. We are much richer in South West Fife for their contribution and for providing opportunities for people or by in improving their area. I was pleased to support the event by awarding the cheques to the successful projects. I wish them every success. Council officers and our colleagues at Coalfields Regeneration Trust are available to work with unsuccessful projects to support them to identify other possible sources of funding.”

Forward West Fife – Project Winners

The 11 winners from the 19 projects pitched on the day:

Project Organisation
Toddlers Fun Club Torryburn Torryburn Fun Club
High Valleyfield Miners ABC Boxing Gym High Valleyfiled Miners ABC
Camping for all with Kincardine Scout Group 15th Clackmannanshire (Kincardine) Scouts
Saline & Steelend Playpark Project Saline and Steelend Playpark Project
Culross Public Toilet Refurbishment Culross Community Council
Kincardine Youth Project Kincardine Youth Project
The Hub – Community Garden Torryburn & Newmills Development Trust
Kincardine Community Centre Hot Desk Facility Kincardine Community Association
The Stables Re-Wiring Culross Youth Club Management Committee
Valleyfield Youth Football Club Valleyfield Youth Football Club
Balgownie Woods to Devilla Forest Link Path West Fife Woodlands

Fife, West Lothian and Falkirk Councils join forces against poverty

A new partnership between Fife, West Lothian and Falkirk Councils will complement existing money management services, including anti-poverty and social inclusion partners, and wider support services.

Council Leaders Cllr David Ross (Fife), Cllr John McGinty (West Lothian), and Cllr Craig Martin (Falkirk) have signed a partnership agreement which will see a new Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) established for the three areas.

A CDFI offers affordable loans and budgeting advice and helps people access other financial services, such as savings, income maximisation and debt management. CDFIs provide an affordable alternative to high cost short term lenders and mainstream financial service providers whom financially excluded persons cannot access.

The aim is to offer a competitive, socially responsible alternative to non-standard lenders such as payday loans, for some of Scotland’s most vulnerable residents.

The proposed customer groups for the CDFI tend to be people on lower incomes with no record of savings and who have an extremely poor or no credit rating.  This group is often hard-to-reach, vulnerable and not readily willing to seek advice and support.

Following a successful tendering exercise which was led by Fife Council with representatives from West Lothian and Falkirk councils, Five Lamps was appointed to progress the project.

Five Lamps is an experienced CDFI lender with wider social, economic and financial inclusion roles.  The company was established as a social enterprise in 1985 and became a CDFI in 2004.

Key features of the CDFI operation in Fife, West Lothian and Falkirk would be:

Fife Council Leader David Ross

  • 4 shops covering Fife (2), Falkirk, and Bathgate for face-to-face service. The shops will operate from 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday, and 9am to 12pm on Saturday.  The shops will have capacity for partners to ‘hot desk’
  • It is expected that 15 new staff will be recruited for the service.  In addition each shop will create an apprenticeship opportunity.
  • A pop up presence in each local area to raise awareness of the service
  • Support will be provided to make arrangements with local banks and credit unions to support the establishment of savings accounts
  • Full participation in local anti-poverty and financial inclusion partnership work across the three areas
  • Five Lamps will actively refer anyone who has not been successful in their loan application to other local advice and support services but will not itself deliver those services
  • It is estimated that there is a potential social saving to the local economy of £2.5 million, this reflects the amount of money saved in interest by customers who would have potentially borrowed from a more expensive source.

Leader of Fife Council David Ross commented: “It’s unacceptable that in 2017 there are so many Fifers living in poverty. We are working hard to change that situation and are committed to creating a Fairer Fife for all our residents by 2030.

“One of the key recommendations from the Fairer Fife Commission was to help people on low incomes who might be tempted into debt by taking out high cost pay day loans. We’re prioritising support and early intervention to help break the cycle of poverty and a greater reliance on public services for some people throughout their lives.

“Now by working in partnership with colleagues in Falkirk and West Lothian Councils this CDFI initiative will help provide local money advice as well as a socially responsible lending service – it’s a great move for the people of Fife.”