THE HIVE – A NEW VISION FOR LGBT-RUN SPACES IN RURAL AREAS

After 2 years in development, Pink Saltire opened Fife’s brand new LGBT+ community centre – The Hive – in Kirkcaldy today!

The centre, in the heart of the town on Whytescauseway, boasts a community cafe, recording studios, meeting room, offices and most importantly, a safe sober space for the Kingdom’s queer community.

Transforming this former Goldberg’s department store, which had lain empty since 2016, involved almost 30 community organisations and partners including Fife Council, The National Lottery Community Fund, Sky UK, Business Gateway, The Scottish Government and Fife Cultural Trust among others.

The idea evolved during the Covid pandemic, as Pink Saltire’s founder, Stuart Duffy, explains:

“Organising a relief effort for people in our community, who were already marginalised and severely lacking services to meet our specific needs before Covid came along, we realised that as a community we didnt have much space of our own to use and to organise in. We’d known of the problems at the former community spaces in Glasgow and Edinburgh, but also that they were really well loved spaces by the community, so we wanted to learn and adapt what we could from others. Our friends at Four Pillars in Aberdeen, who also launched their 4 Unity Hub during Covid, were a huge support and we’ve learned lots from their experiences.”

“Here in Fife, we wanted to create a space which was fit for the modern world, a place where all of us could be ourselves openly and where we could deliver services which meet our needs as a community – so the idea of a community hub run by LGBT+ folk from a rural place was something we threw ourselves behind. It’s so important for LGBT+ folk in smaller communities to be visible and to feel like they are not alone – loneliness can be a big deal for lots of us in rural places.”

“So we’ve been hard at work, planning and fundraising, and now, multiple waves of Covid later, and with the impact of the pandemic also affecting our tradespeople and prices, its been a tough project to complete, but this first phase of the redevelopment has been a huge success already. The feedback from those who’ve seen the space already is incredible, we’re really grateful to everyone. We cannot thank the local community enough too – from fundraisers, donors, sponsors and bigger grant-making bodies, the support has been incredible. But its also about the little things, the hours given up by volunteers, a donation of books or CDs and the support and advice from so many people that really make this such a special project to deliver. Everyone involved can be incredibly proud of what they’ve done to deliver a safe space for LGBT+ people to enjoy and nurture together.”

Pink Saltire are already delivering activity to help reduce isolation in Fife, through their Rainbow Kingdom initiative, and hope the new hub will become a base for a number of new services aimed at LGBT+ people in the area.

As well as bookable spaces and a cafe, which generate income to keep the bills paid, the charity have also opened their community pantry – stocked with donations of free food, toiletries and other supplies to keep folk going through the cost of living crisis. The Hive also provides free sanitary products in their toilets and pantry for anyone who needs them.

In a nod to the history and heritage of the LGBT+ community, the space also boasts an exhibition area housing a special documentary and exhibition about the history of Pride in Scotland, and the Fife AIDS Quilt, which is on permanent display, loaned by NHS Fife. The Quilt was produced in the 1990’s, following the worldwide AIDS Quilt initiative started in San Francisco at the height of the HIV / AIDS crisis.

The new community centre will host a special event to thank funders, friends and family on Thursday 1st September, with the full programme of events going live from the centre on Friday 2nd September.

If you are interested in booking the space, please contact info@pinksaltire.com or call Pink Saltire on 0800 051 7676.

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