Project Development Grant
Fife Employment Access Trust has been working since 2015 on ambitious plans to transform the 27-acre Silverburn estate – once home to the wealthy Russell family and site of their historic flax mill – into a regional centre for health, well-being and environmental sustainability. Among the diverse activities at Silverburn are cafés and camping pods, bike trails and music festivals, astronomy talks, volunteer work in woodland management, and training and apprenticeships in gardening, catering, and hospitality. All this on an estate surrounded by communities that are identified as being among the most deprived by the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation.
The Category B-listed Flax Mill is one of few surviving structures on the Silverburn estate. Constructed in the third quarter of the nineteenth century, this small-scale brick industrial building was converted early in the twentieth century into a livestock barn until the family gifted the estate to Leven Town Council in 1973. Now the former Mill is being conserved and adapted to house a dynamic community hub, including restaurant, art studios and meeting rooms, events spaces and hostel accommodation. Additionally, it will become the offices of Fife Employment Access Trust (FEAT), which continues its work to support people with mental health conditions to access meaningful employment. The FEAT team has also increased access to its mental health services during COVID-19 through the rapid development of online services.
The development of this complex but inspiring project was supported by two Project Development Grants to advance business planning and design work associated with the Flax Mill. When other funding was delayed during a crucial time in the Flaxmill’s development, the AHF was able to provide FEAT with a cashflow loan of £250,000, enabling the impactful project to continue.