COWDENBEATH is set to benefit from an ambitious new development body created by local residents to push forward improvements to the town.

‘My Cowdenbeath CIC’ has been launched to help tackle poverty, improve the town centre and local neighbourhoods, create new green projects, celebrate the town’s rich history and, "to share why Cowdenbeath is such a good place to live, work and visit".

The organisation had their first meeting in January and are keen to get stuck into local priorities, working with Fife Council, Cowdenbeath Community Council and other local organisations.

Local campaigner Stuart Duffy has formed the board of directors with other ‘well-kent’ Beath faces including, Liz Rae, Vicky Kinloch, Irene Burt and award-winning businessman, Colin Sneddon.

The group aim to be up and running and attracting funding by April this year.

Stuart, who was made a UK ‘Point of Light’ in 2018 for his community work, said the group has ambitions to achieve real change in the town: “As Directors I’d say we all have unique talents and experience to bring with us on this journey and we’re focussing them all on making our hometown the very best it can be in difficult circumstances.

"We know Fife Council can’t do it all, so we’re stepping up and helping to drive forward initiatives which the people of Cowdenbeath tell us are their priorities.”

The community interest company, which is a business set up for charitable aims and cannot make profit for personal gain, will seek to work positively with local partners and hope to tackle some long-standing issues.

The group aim to launch a Festival of Ideas during the summer, capturing ideas and suggestions from local groups and residents.

“This organisation has to look to the future and plan for what Cowdenbeath residents will need in five, ten, 20 years time," said Stuart.

“We need to think about things like transport and the congestion through the High Street, about business support to keep our town centre thriving, but also about neighbourhoods to make sure folk have the facilities near them which they value, like playparks, car parking and green spaces.

“We’ve also got a responsibility to think about how we can come up with solutions to the challenges of today, like the Town House and some of the shops which have lain dormant for years.

"Other towns and villages around Scotland have seen real success from residents getting involved and setting up these development companies, which can help bring in new money and investments – so we’ve been looking to them for inspiration!

“We’re not saying we can fix everything or do it overnight, of course not, but we do think local folk can play a key role in deciding how we want our town to look in the future – it’s up to us to speak up and get our thinking caps on!"

The group are hopeful they can attract seed funding support from Fife Council to get the initiative underway, then use the skills and experience from within the organisation to multiply that funding through other means.

They hope their success can help other local towns and villages in having a greater say in how their communities are managed too.

Cowdenbeath recently missed out on the first of the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund grants, with a bid for over £1million for the Town House being unsuccessful.

A Scottish Government grant of £400,000 has already been spent fixing the roof and making the building water and wind proof, but the site remains boarded up.

‘My Cowdenbeath’ will be meeting with local organisations, including Fife Council, Cowdenbeath Civic Week and its community council to outline their ambitions over the next few months ahead of a full public engagement campaign later in the Spring.

Locals will be invited to get involved and share their ideas on how Cowdenbeath can improve, helping the group set their first priorities or can check out more information about the CIC by visiting: