A YOUTH ensemble is set to be added by Lochgelly Brass Band after a welcome funding boost.

The Lochgelly band was awarded £5,000 from Laughology's Happiness Fund which it is hoped will kickstart the new section early next year.

The cash comes after more than £150,000 was raised in recent years to fund major renovation work at the group's Russell Street hall.

Vice chairperson and principal cornet player, Lynsey McIlwraith, said the latest boost would help them move forward with their plans.

"What we will be using it for is to purchase a set of learner brass instruments," she explained.

Central Fife Times:

"We applied for support to help us kick-start the youth band. The plan is to launch that around Easter. We have got learners but we don't actually have a community youth band and the reason for that is we have not had suitable premises.

"We had planned to launch the youth band in 2025 because of the amount of work needed, but as we have had a really successful year of fundraising and getting work done, it is going to be next year.

"The hall is now fit for the purpose of teaching. There has been so much done to it."

Although vast improvements at the band hall have been done, work is still planned and more funding is still being sought.

"The Happiness Fund grant has come at a great time as we look ahead to launching our youth set up in 2024 but it's also come at a time where we are equally focused on finishing the restoration of our music hall – a project we have been working on since 2020 – and have raised and spent over £150,000!

"The reason behind these projects is the expansion of our group with the launch of a youth band and the desire to host our own engagements in the hall but ultimately we want to keep the brass band heritage alive in our community and safeguard the future of the band – it's our 170th birthday next year.

"The Happiness Fund has come in towards the end of what has been a three-year effort and is part of much bigger things.

"Back in 2018, the band was considering demolishing the hall and selling the land and trying to buy the local community hall. That was how bad the hall was. We had to do all new lighting, a complete new roof which was £40,000, and we had to rewire the whole place. It has been a massive job. It has been constant.

"We hope to finish the hall in 2024 but have some big jobs to do – we're looking for funding support to allow us to replace the custom windows in the hall, a cost of over £30,000, and it'll cost the same again to plaster and decorate the interior of the hall, but we are continuing our fundraising efforts."