LOCAL councillors have this week been airing their delight at the facilities offered Hill of Beath’s growing population by the new combined nursery and community centre project.

Hill of Beath nursery youngsters were celebrating moving into their brand new base last Monday.

The new school nursery opened up as part of a £1.5m project at the site of the old community centre, in Main Street.

The facility includes the spacious nursery which will offer a lot more space to children than the old nursery at the school 300 yards down the village Main Street.

Cowdenbeath councillors have been delighted with the way the nursery/community centre has been constructed and timeous way it has been delivered to villagers.

Councillor Gary Guichan said: “The building looks fantastic and it will be a huge improvement on the former nursery building.

“I’m sure the children will benefit from the extra space and improved facilities.

“The new community hall should be a huge boost for the village as the old one had certainly seen better times and I hope it is well used by the village and truly becomes the hub of the community.”

Councillor Darren Watt commented: “I’m incredibly proud and excited to see the new nursery and community hub finally a reality. For most people, Hill of Beath is nothing more than a bypass to Cowdenbeath and neighbouring villages, however, it’s much, much more than that. It’s a place hundreds of individuals, couples and families call home.

“Thanks to the vision, passion and dedication of those residents and the local community council, we are seeing much needed improvements and investment in the village including this modern, fit-for-purpose community facility that will cater for people of all ages including our more vulnerable residents and those with disabilities. “This is very much going to be a community led facility and I would certainly encourage everyone to support the ongoing work of Hill of Beath Community Council and help maximise the hub’s unlimited potential”.

Councillor Alex Campbell agreed: “This is a stunning facility which has been excellently delivered by the team that built it.

“The community council put a huge amount into discussions about the design and I think this is reflected in the finished article.

“The community centre aspect is also outstanding and I am sure that the villagers will be proud of this facility and will be keen to use it.”

Councillor Alistair Bain commented: “The New Build Nursery / Community Centre looks to be a great success. The report I have seen shows that the community, especially the children are more than happy with the building and area around around it to play in. I hope that over the next few years this will be enhanced and I understand that the Community Council will be looking at some projects for the village.

“The village has benefited from the Scottish Government’s policy of increasing the nursery hours to 1,140 hours, along with Fife Council working together to fund the Nursery and combine this with a new Community Centre. “I would like to congratulate the Hill of Beath Community Council, who were fully engaged in the planning process and who managed to persuade Fife Council to increase the funding, and if I remember correctly, the size of the community side of building.

“I hope that the centre will be used to its fullest capacity, that all of the children enjoy their time at the nursery and that the community can pull together to enjoy and further improve the area”.

Hill of Beath Primary School headteacher, Maureen Lewis, said it was “magical” to see children playing in the new space.

“I had been up to see it with all the new toys and furniture going in and that is all lovely, but my favourite thing was walking in and children were in it,” she said, “They are going to be so happy and can do so much more. We were lagging behind the times and now there are so many more opportunities. It expands the scope for our children and for links with the community. It is just magical.

“The previous nursery was essentially a hut and has been there for 30 or 40 years in the playground. Now what we have is light and airy and very different. It is fully kitted out. It has got a cooker, a washing machine, all the mod cons and lovely bright new rooms and furniture. It is just perfect and the garden is my favourite. There is lots of room.”

With an extensive garden space now and a hall – which will also be used as a dinner hall from August, Mrs Lewis said the new premises offered increased opportunities.

“We now have a community hall, a purpose built space,” she added. “Going forward from August, the children will be getting their lunch in there and there will be links between the school and the community.

“From August onwards as well, there’s going to be facilities for morning and afternoon children and in the other room, a year-round provision.” An official opening of the new nursery is due to take place on February 24 to coincide with the school’s 130th birthday celebrations.