Kirkcaldy Methodist Church, Scotland

 

In December 2013, the National Churches Trust awarded a £10,000 Community Grant to Kirkcaldy Methodist Church

Kirkcaldy Methodist Church was built in 1888 and is situated in an area of considerable need when compared with the rest of Fife and Scotland. The eastern part of Kirkcaldy, where the church building is situated, has significant social problems with high unemployment, high numbers of disabled and elderly households, high numbers of people on low income and limited employment opportunities. Within the area there is a lack of suitable premises for community use and this is exacerbated by a car access rate of only 50.2% compared with approximately 70% in the rest of Fife and Scotland.

The church congregation is largely gathered from elsewhere in Kirkcaldy and further afield in Fife with some worshippers traveling in excess of 13 miles each way to worship. This has historically made it difficult to relate to the area around the church building and to those who live and work there.

The church is listed Grade C. Given the age of the building, uses to which it could be put were limited. The sanctuary was traditional in design with fixed pews and pulpit meaning it could be used for little other than traditional Sunday worship. The hall was a difficult space to use for the greater benefit of others due to the poor kitchen and toilet facilities (there was only a single unisex toilet and no disabled toilet facilities) and disabled access to and from the building was difficult.

Brief project description: The aim of the project was to transform the church and adjoining hall into a more flexible, user-friendly space so that the building could better serve the congregation and wider community of Kirkcaldy. The dark, narrow Victorian pews and pulpit have been removed and replaced with new flexible seating. New facilities, including an updated kitchen and accessible toilet, have been introduced enabling the church to cater for the growing numbers of groups using the premises. The building now has lockable storage facilities. The project was lead by Niall Young Architecture.

"In a short space of time we feel the exciting and imaginative use of the space is already taking our mission and outreach in the area to a new level. We have extended the use of the building to many in the local community… and we feel the call to care for others within the community is becoming more a reality and people within the community are aware of what Kirkcaldy Methodist church is doing."

Impact:

  • The opening up of the courtyard has provided an attractive alternative entrance to the church as well as a disabled access ramp. Whilst the building has retained its original beams and dark wood finish, improved lighting and decoration has transformed the church into a much lighter, brighter space.
  • Modern efficient heating, more comfortable environment
  • The improved facilities are more in demand for use from local groups who are supporting a range of people within the local community
  • The open plan kitchen with flexible storage, working and serving counters, smaller meeting area: provides a relaxed and comfortable area to meet and serve refreshments.
  • The new toilet facilities: provide full disabled access

New uses and users:

  • Marketing the rooms for rental as ‘Open Rooms at Kirkcaldy Methodist Church’: encourage people who feel uncomfortable in using a church to understand that a church can be an excellent place to have an event, classes or meetings
  • The project's completion has led us to work with new groups including Scotland’s independent Regeneration Network, The local Arts Hub in association with YMTS (Youth Music Theatre Scotland) and Fife Council, the community worker forum
  • Weekly Kingdom Credit Union collection point
  • Church members have started a morning craft group
  • Weekly sessions for single parents and people with addictions