YOUNGSTERS from Beath High School were given the chance to have their say on shaping their area's future.

Enabled by the Aspiring Communities Fund, which is administered by the Scottish Government, Bridging the Gap Cowdenbeath is aimed at creating opportunities for people of all ages to shape and influence their surroundings.

Pupils had the chance to take part in sessions launched by Planning Aid for Scotland (PAS) with the school and Fife Council.

Project artist, Ishbel McFarlane, led an interactive performance and encouraged the teenagers to consider how they would improve their area with the aim of applying for up to £250,000 of EU funding.

Focussing on Crossgates, Hill of Beath and Kelty, pupils will lead two Focus Group sessions in each area and will help build local dialogue and debate around priorities for change.

The project will continue into 2018 with asset mapping workshops on the streets, public art installations, community performances and pop-up exhibitions in project areas to help widen participation and share local insights.

James Thomson, of PAS, said the initial school session had gone well.

"The group we’re working with at Beath High has tons of energy," he said. "The performance enabled the students that took part to share their opinions and exercise their negotiation skills. It might not feel real to them just yet, but through the support of local focus groups, they will be steering the development of ideas and proposals to invest up to £250k of EU money into Hill of Beath, Crossgates and Kelty. I think that’s exciting.

“Most young people are excluded from decisions that affect their place and their future. Moving into Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018, Making Places – Bridging the Gap will bring young people right into the mix. Starting with the community Focus Group sessions in early October, we want to spark ideas between generations and project areas.”

Sessions for local residents to have their say are taking place in Hill of Beath, Kelty and Crossgates next month and anyone wanting to participate can find out more by emailing or show up on the day.

They will take place in Hill of Beath Comnunity Centre on October 2 and October 23, with other events taking place in Kelty on October 3 and October 24 and Crossgates on October 4 and October 25. All the sessions last for two hours and begin at 11.45am.

“The aim of the Aspiring Communities Fund is to identify and build on the assets that communities already have," added James. "If secured, the investment could help to bring a building or facility that’s out of action back into public use, create a new service to support local needs, or craft a new place for people to enjoy.”