Cowdenbeath community celebrates success of 'Grounds for Growth' project

Cllr Alex Campbell, Cowdenbeath Area Committee Convener

Members of Cowdenbeath Area Committee welcomed an update on the Grounds for Growth project, aimed at enhancing employability and personal development.

The latest report presented to members outlines the remarkable progress of the Grounds for Growth initiative, which received £7000 in funding approved by members in November 2023 from the anti-poverty budget and has contributed towards the project's running costs until March 2025.

Led by Rural Skills Scotland in collaboration with local partners, Grounds for Growth is a series of training programmes in rural skills for unemployed people, with support to work placements. The first program started in October 2023 where 6 participants from the Cowdenbeath area took part in the five week introductory programme at Lochore Meadows Country Park, with 4 people then following on to the 26-week waged programme.

Key highlights from the report include:

Successful Training Programs: The project has conducted a series of training programs, including voluntary and waged initiatives, giving participants essential skills such as First Aid, Manual Handling, Health and Safety, and specialized certifications like the NPTC Certificate in Brush Cutters and Strimmers.

Employment Opportunities: Several participants have moved into employment, with one securing an Apprenticeship and receiving recognition at the recent Lantra Awards. Others have secured placements with local maintenance teams and Fife Council's Parks Team, contributing to the community's workforce.

With the success of the initial phase, the project is set to recruit a second cohort, reaffirming its commitment to fostering economic activity and employment opportunities within the Cowdenbeath area.

Councillor Alex Campbell, Area Committee Convenor praised the project, saying: "The Grounds for Growth project shows how we all work together in our community to help it grow and do well. It's great to see people learning important skills and getting chances to develop themselves.

"The Grounds for Growth project aligns closely with the Plan for Fife's vision of enhancing economic activity and employment opportunities in the region and fits well with what we want to achieve in Fife - more jobs and opportunities for people here.  So, by helping locals find work and grow, this project is really helping our communities move forward."

Stewart Christie, Director of Rural Skills Scotland said: “We are delighted to be working with Fife Council in the delivery of our Grounds for Growth programme in the Cowdenbeath area. The land-based sector, like many others, needs to attract new people to keep up with demand and to help with an ageing workforce. This programme equips those taking part with the skills to begin their journey towards a rewarding career in the sector.”