Local MP Gordon Brown joined up with Area Chair Willie Clarke to do the official opening of the new £3.8 million Benarty Centre with over 150 local people present for the celebration.
In his speech Willie Clarke talked about the first group that had come together 60 years earlier to get the first community hall built in Ballingry and how it had been their dream to continue to build on that facility for the wider community.
The new centre is a first in Fife as it replaces three community centres in Ballingry, Lochore and Crosshill as well as the Library, local office and police station.
Gordon Brown praised the work of all the staff and local community who had been involved in the new centre and paid tribute to the man he said had been at the heart of every campaign to improve the area over the last 40 years, councillor Willie Clark. Mr Brown said; “Whether it was the campaign for Lochore Meadows reclamation improvements, the miners strike and justice for miners, the fight for jobs and the campaign for a new centre here in Benarty, Willie has been at the heart of every campaign and has worked tirelessly for this area over all these years and tonight I want to pay tribute to him and thank him for his commitment and dedication to public service in Benarty, in the Cowdenbeath area and across Fife”.
The new centre now provides a range of services from the local office, a youth club and youth rooms, a gym and games hall as well as meeting rooms, a function hall, local library, after school club and police station. The centre also has a cafe with a range of food from breakfast, lunch and snacks.
Council leader Alex Rowley said; “This new facility has been in the planning for over six years and demonstrates what can be created by bringing many services together into one location. We have large sport and leisure facilities in the big towns across Fife but we now need to focus on making sure that the smaller towns and villages are also able to offer good local facilities for sport, leisure and learning. This is a great new centre and a great example of what we can bring to local communities to meet local need”.