December 17, 2014
Persistence pays off
In an ideal world, the Land Reform Scotland Act 2003 would require a community to draw up a plan of their area, identify all sites of strategic importance and then register their multiple interests in buying all these sites as and when they came onto the market. In practice, this has proven to be impractical for all but the most persistent and dedicated of groups. But if there was an award for persistence and dedication to the cause of the community right to buy, it would probably go to Kinghorn Community Land Association. All that hard work is starting to pay off.
Kinghorn Community Land Association (KCLA) was set up by the people of Kinghorn to give our community an active role in ensuring a sustainable future for land around Kinghorn Loch and to secure the future of the Ecology Centre. Supported by the Scottish Government’s community right to buy scheme, KCLA have quietly prepared for a time when loch side land might become available and could be secured through community ownership.
KCLA are delighted with the news that The Ecology Centre have successfully purchased the land at the East side of the loch. Kinghorn Community Land Association had registered an interest under the Community Right to Buy in the 5 acres of land and were therefore given first option to buy. They relinquished their option so that the Ecology Centre could buy it (as we were required to have ownership by the Big Lottery to receive Growing Community Asset funds to build our new Centre on it). The Ecology Centre received funding from the Scottish Land Fund to purchase it, this was concluded in July. We have just heard that the Big Lottery are awarding us £920 000 to build our new Centre (from Growing Community Assets programme) and to contribute towards revenue costs for the first five years. The build with begin in January. Work is already underway with tree planting, the erection of a composting toilet and other projects.
The Ecology Centre is a community based charity which was established as a non-profit making organisation in August 1998. The organisation came into being through an advisory group set up by people from the local community and residents of Craigencalt Farm. The purpose of the organisation, known then as Craigencalt Ecology Centre, was to develop and manage the Kinghorn Loch site for community use. In 2006 a decision was made to change the name of the organisation and today we are simply known as The Ecology Centre.
The Site. In the early days, the site itself was relatively undeveloped with a small area of Community Woodland and an Organic Garden. A workshop programme also operated from the site. With the help of a small group of volunteers, the site began to develop. Pathways were established, the pond and marshes recovered and the community woodland expanded. Today The Ecology Centre is a well-managed area of biodiversity and a haven for natural wildlife.
Volunteers and staff. As the site grew, so did the need for additional volunteers and staff to help with the day to day running of the Centre. Today we have an army of volunteers who regularly attend the Centre and help with the many and varied tasks around the Site. We employ 11 members of staff as well as providing employment training opportunities through Project Scotland and Community Jobs Scotland. We also accommodate school and college placements.
Education Programme. Education has always been at the heart of The Ecology Centre. Demand for educational visits has grown and we now work with hundreds of school children each year helping them to understand the importance of and how to care for our environment.
The Ecology Centre Enterprise – “Out of the Wood”. In 2006 The Ecology Centre Enterprise was established as the trading arm of the charity. The Out of the Woodworkshop produces individual, hand crafted, high quality and good value wooden products. All the profits raised from the sale of these goods are fed back into The Ecology Centre. We are experts in the production of outdoor classrooms and playground equipment. View our online catalogue to browse our log seats, wooden benches and outdoor seating products.
Relevant links for the Ecology Centre: