Levenmouth Together Information Evening 30th June 2021

7th July 2021

On Wednesday 30th June Brag Enterprises hosted an information evening to members of the Levenmouth community. BRAG’s MD Brian Robertson Fern, BRAG’s Enterprise Manager Susan Oak, Levenmouth Together Events and fundraising Officer Michelle Ratcliffe and BRAG’s Communications and Media officer Liz McMenemy gave a presentation over two sessions discussing the social enterprise’s past, along with their impact in the Levenmouth Area. They then went on to talk about their Levenmouth Together’s project origins and of the exciting times ahead with its recent acquisition of the former WH Smith building in Leven High Street.

The evening began with a welcome from the team and Brian Robertson-Fern outlining Brag’s origins in the Benarty area of Fife. Originaly set up in 1988, The Benarty Regeneration Action Group was a community led solution to rising unemployment levels in the Benarty area following on from the then pit closures. The organisation had worked with the community offering employability support, training, enterprise support and funding advice having built up a strong track record

Since moving into Levenmouth in 2016 the teams have had quite an impact in the area with their partners registering over 1102 local unemployed people, helping 64 start-ups and have worked with 24 families providing a full family holistic approach to employability. Brian also explained that by purchasing their current site at Thomson House they have committed to staying in Levenmouth for at least the next 15 years. Now named Levenmouth Community Enterprise Centre, Thomson House is the Organisation’s new Levenmouth base which as well as a base of its services also has full occupancy of its 20 new incubator spaces offering low cost business space to small business in the area complimenting its existing site over in Crosshill

Next up Liz McMenemy discussed the origins of the Together project, managed by BRAG and funded by Fife Council. The main aims of the project were to increase visitors to the Levenmouth area with an emphasis on the High Street. Another important aim is to provide volunteering opportunities for local people who may be unemployed, offering the chance to learn new skills, increase confidence and gain a reference for future employment. She added that now was the time to create robust visitor experiences in Levenmouth with exciting times ahead with the new rail link, Leven programme, Whale project, Silverburn’s Campsite and flax mill as well as the opening of Leven Caravan park’s restaurant to look forward to. She said it’s a real opportunity to return Levenmouth to the bustling town of the 80’s.

Michelle Ratcliffe then discussed past events starting with the 2 day food and drink festival in August 2019, The Silent movie and disco – Sun, See and sound outdoor cinema in September and Leven Runfest in October which was followed by the 3 day festive Fayre in the Square where we seen a Ferris wheel. There was also a Christmas party and had a World Book day celebration for local children. All of which happened prior to the Covid 19 lockdown with Levenmouth Together assisting Fife Council with the emergency food distribution services during lockdown alongside many other businesses and organisations.

Susan Oak then presented the updated look of the project, which will now be known as Together Levenmouth with a vibrant array of sub brands encompassing the Artisan Market, Events through to the hub café and gift shop. Sue also explained that the hub will contain community events space/ pop up shop for those wishing to try a business without the long-term commitment, a café which will serve light bites and cater for party bookings, Sue assured the audience that the café would not take business away from surrounding cafes and that the café would primarily be for visitors to the Hub. Sue then went on to present the visualization for one of the escape rooms based at the Hub – “It’s a steal” Which will be set in a department store run by a crime boss – gangs will have a series of puzzles to complete to then break into the vault via the maintenance corridor to reclaim a stolen personal item. Sue also explained the second escape room “Level 99” which will be based on a retro arcade game, will include a series of mini games ending with a ‘kill the boss’ level.

Everyone then heard about the two 9 hole themed indoor golf courses, each hole representing a Fife landmark or icon. The courses will be a mixture of beginner and advanced with the option to play just one or both. Part of the course will also be a UV section (ultra violet light) with neon lights showing the way. The team then went on to present a visualization of part of the crazy golf course housed in the UV section showing an iconic image of spectacles representing Auchtermuchty’s famous sons Craig and Charlie Reid; The Proclaimers. The glasses form the obstacle and a mirror reflects the glasses representing the famous twins, when the ball is successfully putted disco lights play along with the famous track 500 miles. The aim of the crazy golf is to provide a fun day out for all the family.

Next on the agenda was the Levenmouth Community lottery, which is set to launch later this month. Everyone heard how you were one hundred times more likely to win a prize here rather than the National Lottery. The community lottery will pay all profits after costs and prize money into a local community chest – this will be a pot of money that local community groups and organisations can then access for grants to then hold their own events or activities. The tickets will be sold in local outlets. Retailers who opt to stock the community lottery tickets will receive a 10% commission of their ticket sales paid quarterly or yearly and will have the opportunity to star in or host a live draw. Draws will take place every Friday and will be shown live on social media. A small pilot community Chest in 2019-20 helped us distribute £1600 to local groups.

Attendees then heard of the future of the Artisan Markets, which had recently been changed to twice monthly, but after a trial feedback had been received from customers and traders who felt twice monthly was just too much for now, so the markets will revert to their original second Saturday of the month date with the next being this Saturday 10th July 10am to 3pm in Leven’s South Street/ Viewforth Car park. Another event planned will be relaunched Scarefest, held at East Fife Football Club’s rear car park on 30th and 31st October. This drive-in movie event will show 5 spooky movies over 2 days with lots of tricks and treats included for movie goers, showing Hocus Pocus, The witches, Poltergeist, Halloween and a Quiet Place. Tickets can be booked via Eventbrite.

The event ended with the team asking for volunteers. As Together Levenmouth will be a BRAG run social enterprise the plan is that it’s self-sustainable where profits from the visitor attraction will go into the community, with an emphasis on youth work. This can only happen with local support. Volunteers are needed for both the steering group who will steer the project in the right direction as well as volunteers to assist in the running of the hub, lottery, markets and events.

A question and answer session then followed with questions from the public, one member asked about timescales for the Hub opening and was advised that the team are looking at early Autumn opening. Other questions included how will the impact be measured? The answer was by continuously asking for feedback and measuring footfall with assistance from Fife Council. The impact to the community groups benefit from the community chest will also be measured. The team will also be asking local youth groups that will benefit what they would be interested in seeing. Another question was How can local people with no disposable income benefit from the visitor attraction, the answer was BRAG have always given free tickets away to local families for pervious events in the area – this will be no different.

To keep updated with the latest news and events from Together Levenmouth follow them on Facebook or if you would like to volunteer, email [email protected] stating what you would like to volunteer for.

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