THE barometer which shows categorically that the Cowdenbeath-Lochgelly area is still one that suffers very much from deprivation is underlined by the Cafe Inc initiative being run by Fife Council during the school holidays.

Cafe Inc, which was piloted in the local towns and villages during the Easter holidays and proved so successful, will run throughout the summer break.

The service will operate at various venues to provide a free, midday meal for local children, young people and families.

In the Cowden-Gelly district lunches will be available at Lochgelly West, Benarty, Foulford and Denend Primary Schools, Monday to Friday 11.45 to 1pm. And also at Kelty Centre; Benarty Centre; the Maxwell Centre, Cowdenbeath; Bowhill Centre; and Lochgelly Town Hall, Monday to Friday 11.45 to 1pm.

That covers the entire area and is triggered by the number of free school meals served during term time.

It all points to the fact that although so many improvements have taken place in the Cowdenbeath-Lochgelly district over the past 20 years, indicators show that the levels of deprivation are not really improving.

Indeed, in an article in our columns some weeks back Beath High School rector, Steven Ross, said that half the school role of 1,200 came from families suffering from deprivation.

At a time when Cowdenbeath and Lochgelly, plus the surrounding villages, are all getting more and more new housing, some of it in the higher pricing bracket, significant pockets of deprivation are still existing in parts of the area.

How this is finally removed is something that is going to need a number of factors. Hundreds of new jobs have come to the area as industrial sites have flourished but still more are needed. Wage structures need to be improved and mechanisms like 'zero hours contracts' obliterated.

Excellent initiatives like Cafe Inc are certainly helping but to use a term, it really is firefighting a situation which continues to persist and it is hard to predict when it will change.