St Andrews fund providing support to communities across Fife

Thursday 31 August 2023

A Fife-wide fund which aims to support local community groups and charities opened for applications this week (Thursday 31 August).

The University of St Andrews Community Fund, which makes awards of between £250 and £3000, has supported more than 115 different groups across the Kingdom during the last three years.

This year, funding awards focused on projects directly helping those affected by the cost-of-living and energy crisis, as well as those supporting families and young people.

Volunteers at the Dairsie Repair Café help mend items giving them a new lease of life

The Dairsie Repair Café received £800 from the University Community Fund earlier this year. Run by a team of volunteers with skills in mending broken things, the aim of the Repair Café is to help individuals and families save money and avoid items going to landfill.

Volunteer Mindy Grewar said: “We’re very pleased with the repair skills that we’ve attracted to our team, and with public attendance at our two events so far. We’ve seen 35 objects and, of those, we were able to help with 22 items, fixing them, or advising on purchasing parts for repairing at home or bringing them to the next session. Items fixed include garden strimmers and shears, vacuum cleaners, a soft toy, clothing, and lamps. We also have skills on our team to repair bicycles and electronics.”

Mindy added: “We’ve also made good connections for mutual support, with Transition St Andrews, Fife Council Community Education, and Fife Climate Hub.”

The Village Café in Ceres has also benefitted from a £1500 grant from the Fund. The café’s steering group, which recently announced it had been successful in buying the café building following a major award from The National Lottery Community Fund Scotland, intends to make some internal renovations to make the café more accessible to all.

As well as being operated by community volunteers, each Tuesday the café is run by the Fife charity Options in Life, which provides education and work experience for young adults with learning disabilities.

Village Café Director, Karen Young, said: “We are extremely grateful to receive the University Community Fund donation which will enable us to refurbish the café bathroom area and make it more accessible, especially for our elderly customers.”

The Village Cafe in Ceres was supported with a £1500 grant from the University Community Fund

Another Fife group to benefit from the 2023 funding round was Auchtermuchty Bellvue Colts Football Club, which was awarded £2200. This has enabled the group to cover the cost of SFA training courses, first aid training, and PVG checks required for ten new volunteer coaching staff, as well as developing pathways for girls’ football.

Group spokesperson Greg Shepherd said the additional coaching resource means more children can play football from a younger age in their local area. This reduces the cost impact on their families and helps provide the youngsters with safe and fun physical exercise in their local area.

The Community Fund award will help cover the cost of training ten additional coaches and enable Auchtermuchty Bellevue Colts to develop their local football programme

Lesley Caldwell, the University’s Community Engagement and Social Responsibility Officer, who oversees the fund, said: “The Community Fund looks to respond to community need and has done so since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. At the moment, the cost-of-living and energy crisis is affecting us all and community groups in particular are struggling, particularly with energy costs.

“Social responsibility and providing support to our communities is at the heart of the University Strategy and the fund allows us to do what we can to support local groups and charities helping to address the crisis.”

The latest round of the University Community Fund is open until Friday 13 October. More information on how to apply is available on the Community Fund pages of the University website.

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office.

Category Community

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