Fife College is delighted to be part of a project which has secured funding of more than £300,000 to revitalise the River Leven in Fife.

One of the first initiatives of The Leven Catchment Project has been awarded £250,000 through Sustrans Scotland’s Community Links scheme and £65,000 from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency’s Water Environment Fund

The funding from Sustrans and SEPA will finance feasibility and scoping work, starting this month, for the ‘Connectivity Project’. This is one of a series of smaller initiatives designed to help deliver the wider vision for the region and focuses on a 5km stretch of the river Leven at Levenmouth.

Plans include developing a series of paths to connect the isolated communities to and along the river, and unlocking opportunities on vacant and derelict land in the area. 

Students from Fife College have already been playing their part in the project - four groups of creative students recently took part in a competition to raise awareness of climate change and adaptation in Levenmouth.

The groups were set a live brief to look at ways to promote climate change to local people which would make an impact and help to clean up the river and promote good practice in the community. Within a timescale of just 48 hours, which included visits to the river at various points, the groups put together their creative solutions choosing song, adverts and film as their mediums.

John Wincott, Environmental Services Coordinator at Fife College, said: “Fife College is delighted to be a partner in this venture, which is enabling our talented students to make use of their creative skills in a live project which benefits the environment and the local community.

“Our students’ skills are wide ranging, from creative arts and video production to aerial surveying and graphic design. Those involved so far have thoroughly enjoyed the experience – many of our students, from the wider College community, live in and around the Levenmouth area, which makes the experience even more relevant.

“This is an excellent example of partnership working where a range of organisations bring a different mix of skills and knowledge together to form exciting results. We very much look forward to being involved in further stages of this very worthwhile project.”

SEPA water specialist Pauline Silverman said: “The River Leven catchment in mid Fife was historically home to several hundred mills and factories, with a proud population of miners and workers in manufacturing industries,”

“But there are significant environmental challenges in the area and the river has become a barrier between communities – disconnecting people and towns from each other. The purpose of the Leven Catchment Project is to achieve environmental improvements to spark new ways of working with key partners and communities to create social and economic opportunities.”

Key partners in the project with SEPA so far are Fife Council, Forth Rivers Trust, Scottish Natural Heritage, Sustrans, Fife College and Scottish Water.

By 2030, the partners’ goals include the region becoming a ‘go to’ destination and tourism becoming one of the region’s key economic contributors. The vision also includes the River Leven catchment being a dynamic hub for social enterprise, youth and education, and the region having a natural environment that will support a diverse ecology and celebrate its social history.