Kirk Suspends Church Meetings- Covid 19

As we all know there is a guideline issued by the Scottish Government not to attend busy places and this applies to everyone. You will see from the guidelines that religious meetings are also included. Therefore, the Church of Scotland have issued advice to all local churches not to have regular church meetings and services and these cease from 17th March until further notice.

You can find a copy of the advice here

Some churches are offering live streaming of daily talks and Sunday service meetings on the Internet. Please see a note below from Dalgety Parish Church written by Rev Christine Sime

‘Following advice from The Church of Scotland all worship services have been cancelled. 

On Sunday mornings I will lead worship from the church – this will be livestreamed, we hope you can join us and know God’s presence and blessing.

Our church building will be open for prayer /reflection each weekday morning for the time being – please keep to advice on handwashing. Prayers will be said every morning in Dalgety Parish Church for congregation, community, nation, world – for all creation. This will be at 10am each morning – wherever you are add your prayers too.

And please help those unable to watch our ‘livestream’ know that they are remembered in prayer. 


The text of the Church of Scotland Advice appears below

Advice for Churches: COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Updated 17 March 2020

Worship – Cancellation of Services

The Scottish Government now advises that people should minimise social contact by avoiding crowded areas and large gatherings, including religious congregations, and smaller gatherings.

The Church of Scotland now asks, in the strongest terms, that all gatherings for worship should cease until further notice, with effect from Tuesday 17 March 2020. Other Scottish Churches are taking similar actions. This obviously includes Easter services. Some Presbyteries have already instructed this action. This will include, but not be restricted to: housegroups, meetings for youth work, and church cafes. It will still be possible for an individual to offer a livestream of a sermon and prayers. Further information on livestreaming, including information on copyright, can be found in this circular on the Law Department’s webpages here. Sunday broadcasts of a weekly service take place on Radio 4, and also on Radio Scotland; other radio stations are available. Several churches currently offer livestreams or recorded services; a list can be found on our website.

Church buildings can be kept open as a place for people to come and pray. Notices should be clearly displayed asking that visitors observe robust hand hygiene.


The Moderator, the Right Reverend Colin Sinclair, along with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and other church leaders, has issued a call for a National Day of Prayer; more details can be found in the news section of our website.


The Church is aware that closing down worship services will impact on congregational income, and we want to encourage people to continue contributing financially as far as possible, and to encourage the increased use of standing orders as an expression of ongoing stewardship.


The key phrase here is to minimise social contact. Sensitive conversations will need to take place with families and mourners ahead of funeral ceremonies, and to consider the size of groups gathering for funerals. It may be necessary in the future to consider whether funerals should be restricted exclusively to minister, immediate family, and funeral directors. In addition, local guidance from funeral directors and crematorium staff will be critical here. It should be noted that many crematoria have the facility to livestream services and to host a recording of services for a period of time after the cremation service.


Certain venues will be restricting attendance, and it may be that couples have to work through what changes have to made, including, in some cases, rearranging. Restrictions on travel into the UK will also have an effect on guests at weddings. Again, sensitive conversations will be the order of the day.

Pastoral Care Networks

Please see our guidance note from the Church’s Safeguarding Department with some useful guidance about setting up small pastoral care networks with a practical outcome. This guidance note contains a postcard which may be useful. There are some good ideas here about small groups; such groups can mitigate social isolation, and help people to continue to feel that they are part of the wider community of faith. Previous advice about using tools such as Skype, email, letters, greetings cards, Facetime, and Whatsapp groups are all useful approaches and some of these are particularly helpful where people don’t use technology.

General Assembly

The decision has been taken in the light of Scottish Government advice to cancel the General Assembly of May 2020. The Office of the General Assembly will be in touch with commissioners separately.

Hygiene recommendations

Best hygiene practice should continue to be observed in all pastoral contacts.

Updated advice is available from NHS Scotland.

Public Health Scotland and the UK Government recommend that you should take usual infection prevention precautions including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available
  • Churches can underline the importance of handwashing by ensuring that hand sanitisers are not available in toilets where soap and water can be used
  • It is particularly important after taking public transport to use sanitiser on your hands
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Carry tissues to catch coughs and sneezes and bin the tissue
  • If you feel unwell, stay at home, do not attend work or school
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in church buildings

NHS Scotland have prepared a poster which could be displayed at your building entrance to give advice to visitors. The purpose of this poster is to protect the visitor and those within the building.

Travel advice

Advice has also been issued to travellers, advising against all non-essential travel worldwide. This advice was revised on 17 March.


Below are two posters which you may wish to display in your buildings.

This page will be updated when new advice becomes available from NHS Scotland and the UK Government.

Online worship

Several churches live stream or post their services online. You can find a list of these on our Kirk services online page.

Rimini donate much needed laptop computers to Fife Disability Charity

At 2pm on Monday 29th July, Employees from Rimini Street Support and Rimini Street Foundation presented Disabilities Fife  with three much needed refurbished laptop computers.

Rimini donate 3 laptop pcs to Disabilities Fife

This is part of Rimini’s charity work in the UK and USA.

Chair of Disabilities Fife Charles Litster said “Our computers at the moment are badly in need of a replacement.  Therefore,  as a result we will be able to operate more effectively meeting the needs of members, general public, and Fife Council”,

Charles added “It will greatly assist with our Access Panel work when we are on site looking at Access issues”

“Therefore we give the Rimini Street Foundation a big thank you”

Fife Teacher numbers – A storm in a Tea Cup

The story starts over the weekend, with a tweet from the SNP as shown in our image below. The SNP say that the Fife Labour Council administration is cutting teaching numbers in Fife.  Fife Labour take a different view.

Image of Councilor Lesley Laird’s article on Facebook

We must say there always two sides to any story and here is Fife Labour’s reply viaLabour Councillor Lesley Laird.  The SNP article follows.

“Folks – with regards education story doing the rounds here are the facts. This change will mean that more Fife children will be taught by a permanent teacher rather than temporary or supply. We are having to do this because of the chronic shortage of teachers in Scotland – Circa 4000 less since 2007. Read what Council Leader David Ross issued yesterday based on clarifying the position with Fife’s Head of Education.

There Will Be No Cut in Teacher Numbers in Fife

Fife Council Leader David Ross has completely rejected claims by the SNP that Labour plans to cut teacher numbers in Fife. He said, “The SNP have got it wrong. There is no cut in teachers.

“What we are proposing is that we move teachers around to better meet the needs of our children. It is improving frontline education not reducing it.

“We currently have over 100 vacant frontline teaching posts in primary and secondary education. These are being covered by supply teachers, by heads and depute heads and by other temporary arrangements, such as combining classes. This means these children do not have the benefit of a consistent, permanent class teacher.

“Why are there these vacancies? Because there is a teacher shortage across Scotland. The SNP Government has failed to fund teacher training properly for the past few years, so there aren’t enough teachers to go round.

“I want to be absolutely clear:

· These proposals will allow us to fill 100 vacant teaching posts on a permanent basis, directly benefiting children across Fife
· There will be an increase in the size of some classes but none will be above the statutory minimum
· There will be no reduction in the overall number of teachers
· The Pupil Teacher Ratio will not be affected

“The SNP in Fife are choosing to twist the facts in an attempt to have a go at the Labour Administration, rather than admit that this move will be of great benefit to children who at present don’t have a permanent teacher.”

The story from the SNP

Image of the SNP Facebook page

‘Reverse teacher cuts now!

Cllr Neale Hanvey, the SNPs new leader in Fife, has called for the immediate halt to cuts of teaching posts in Labour’s budget proposals.

Fife Council’s Labour administration has proposed a £3m cut from Education budgets in a bid to redistribute teaching staff to reduce current vacancies. According to Cllr Hanvey this will see 70 front line teaching staff posts removed.

Councillor Hanvey said:

“This outrage did not feature in officers’ proposals to elected members this year so it is completely down to Labour wanting to hit education and undermine the Scottish Government’s efforts to improve the life chances of our youngsters.

“The hypocrisy of Labour never ceases to astound me. In Holyrood they complain about investment, while Fife is set to receive close to £10m this year in Pupil Equity Funds. That is real money going straight to the front line, where it’s needed. Meanwhile in Fife, Labour undermine our head teachers by ripping 70 front line teaching posts out of the budget. Once these posts are gone, it is highly unlikely they will ever be reinstated

“I’m sure most folk will think that using Fife’s most vulnerable children, to attack the Scottish Government in this way, is pretty despicable stuff. I therefore call on Fife Labour to abandon their educational austerity proposal and put their trust in our front line staff.”

The SNP Spokesperson for Education, Cllr Fay Sinclair said:

“This Labour administration has already closed schools across Fife, now they want to cut teachers too. It is an appalling way to treat our young people and our hard-working teachers.

“While the Scottish Government is investing in education, Labour wants to cut school budgets by £3 million and reduce teaching posts in Primary schools and high school Maths and English departments.

“Last year we opposed Labour’s removal of healthy lunch choices from primary school menus and managed to see that cut reversed. I urge them to think again on teacher numbers too.

“Our children deserve better and I know parents across Fife will join me in calling for Labour to scrap these plans.”

The Fife Council Draft Budget… The count down starts now – Have your say

Fife Council - Fife House with a white Fife Council van

Potential 7.5 per cent Council Tax rise.

With less than four working days to comment, the citizens of Fife face a tight timeline to respond to 19 pages plus of information with just 7 pages of explanatory text.

To put the draft budget into  perspective we all at some time have to  face life’s challenges.  They may be in our career, our family and our finances.  Often the financial challenges can take their toll and one  may need help from others to decide what to do.

Government grant cut…
£38m deficit instead of £21m

Fife Council is no different.  Their income £752m, which for most of us is out of our league and their spend – well in our terms it is enormous, that is £791m  (The greater portion of the spend being staff salaries and office accommodation),  that figure  would make most peoples’ credit card turn up at the ends.

But as a result the Council have ended up with a deficit of £38m  instead of the £21m already budgeted for.  The £16m plus increase is as a result of a cut in the Scottish Government support grant.

Therefore,  the Council is like a family, that is trying to make ends meet.  Typically, one tries to make savings or increase your income.  On that note Fife Council is like you and I.

When savings are not savings?

But some pages in their draft document are  not clear.  The Council refer to savings, as a generic term.  As you will see later I mention the example of Council Tax Income.  There you will see a figure of 1.5m savings.  That is not a  saving but £1.5m of additional Council Tax coming into the Council from a variety of new builds etc.

Which reminds me…  In my youth I asked a female friend  of mine to go out and do a bit of shopping for me.  After a couple of hours she returned and happily announced that I had been saved £20.  There, I was waiting, waiting eagerly,  for four crisp blue £5 notes to re-enter my wallet.  She smiled and looked into my eyes. Her eyes twinkled.  A twinkle with a concentrated spark  ( I recognized that smile, the spark, and it always worried me).  Her face – full of beams of sunshine, said it all.

As opposed to a saving she needed more money. More money from me! The upshot, I was short of £20.  I had not saved a bean!

At which point I dived into my wallet and drowned in a sulk.  The pain deepened as I sunk further into my wallet with despair.  My wallet emptied, as I extracted those four hard earned fivers. The money just floated out of my hands.  It sailed away.   I had smiles  on the outside,  but on the inside… disappointment!

Fife Council  – Their Budget Challenges

Fife Council similarly have a budget challenge, and this includes:-

  • A backdated equal pay settlement.
  • A reduction in grant from the Scottish Government of 3.6%, more than what was expected.
  • And nine years of static council tax.  Therefore to alleviate this it  has been suggested there could be a 7.51% increase.  The Council Tax yield after the deduction of  a £4m penalty is a cool £7.5m.

Therefore, like anyone with such challenges the Labour administration need your input, so please do complete and return your comments to Fife Council on or before 4th February 2016.  This is essential as the Council have made it clear that they want YOU to join the conversation see –Let’s Talk.

Councillor David Ross
Councillor David Ross encourages you to participate

There you will see how easy it is to do.  Fearing nothing, we had a go ourselves.

Firstly you need to download the document from the Fife Direct Website.  The link is here at Let’s Talk.  Which may be a challenge to some members of the public that do not have Internet access. We understand there are paper copies that are available to the public from local offices and libraries.

We downloaded and opened the Draft Revenue Budget and then shouted Agh! or some other not so polite words!

We thought… We will never understand this!  So we had a cup of tea, put our feet up and relaxed. Then looked at it a bit more.

When we did we found there was a good bit of explanatory text (Pages 1 to 7) and that really did help.

An index to the 19 page document…

To help you we have listed the important bits here:-

  • Table 1 (page 3) – Original draft summary budget prior to the Scottish government grant decision.
  • Table 2 (page 4) Revised draft summary after the government grant decision. This has an item updated budget assumptions  section (See Appendix 2). The figures in table 1 do not relate to table 2 because of the equal pay settlement.
  • Appendix 1 – Draft Revenue Budget 2016-2019 (page 8 – High level list of savings).
    There is an Options to close heading with the words Operational Savings and Proposed additional savings below it. You can find details of these in appendix 2 and appendix 3 respectively.
  • Appendix 2 (Page 9) – Summary of Revised Assumptions see Table 2 (If there is a bracket around the assumed figure it means the item is spend, not a saving) and there is also a reference to savings of £1.5m on Council Tax income. This is not a saving as such. What is meant here is an increase in Council Tax Revenue of £1.5m.

There is also a summary of operational savings.  You can find details of these here

There are total savings of £5.366m for the operational ones and £9.450m for the updated assumptions.

  • Appendix 3 (Page 10) – Proposed additional savings £4.279m
  • Appendix 4 (Page 12) – Further Possible Budget Savings £5.440m
  • Appendix 4 (Page 13)- Rejected Additional Savings  £11.371m ((Remember this is a draft so they could be ruled back in)
  • Appendix 5 (Page 14)- Temporary Savings £9.373m

We were curious about this one for no other reason than…

When the word temporary is used by government departments etc it always is a cause for concern.  We always remember the story about the introduction of income tax as a temporary measure in 1803. Two old pence on each pound was charged on income over £60 a year (equivalent to £5,641 as of 2016).  In the main we all still pay income tax.   Therefore it is a tax that was a temporary measure that is still with is,  and  I must say costs a lot more than one new penny in the pound.  Just a thought… income tax at less than 1% of your income.  Wow!

So we asked some questions

You talk about temporary savings can you explain how that will operate?

“These savings will be for one year only and it will be a reduction in budgets.”

Will you put your workers on short time for a year?

“No, employees will not be on short time for a year.”

The Temporary Savings

Can you please explain some examples of temporary savings?

  1. Reduction in Supplies and Services

“This is a reduction in budgets for consumable items such as printing, stationery, equipment etc”

  1. Reduction in Maintenance of Building

“We have a budget to allow us to undertake routine maintenance on buildings, for one year only this budget will be reduced, meaning that some maintenance will not be undertaken.”

  1. Reduction in Maintenance of Roads.

“Similar to buildings there is a budget to maintain roads, for one year only this budget will be reducing, meaning that not all road maintenance work will be undertaken.”

  1. Review of inflation

“Inflation is applied to some budgets to reflect the increase in prices, given the financial challenges, we have reviewed this requirement and will not be applying inflation to some items.”

  1. Review of Staffing Budget – vacancy management

“Services will be asked to hold vacancies and manage the recruitment process, meaning that there will be a delay in recruiting some staff which will result in a saving.”

  1. Review of Trust Funding

“Fife Council has a number of subsidiaries and trusts which are receive some of their funding from the Council.  Given the scale of the challenges and the need for the council to make reductions, we are reviewing the level of funding we provide to these organisations.”

  1. Review of Capital Plan – planned slow down

“This reflects the revenue savings that would be generated from a reduced level of borrowing to fund the capital programme.  This has been calculated on the basis of the level of underspend on the capital programme this year and reported to committee last week.”

  • Appendix 6 (Page 15) – 7.51% increase in Council Tax.
  • Appendix 7 (Pages 16) Further Areas for Potential Savings.

This includes proposals to shave off 30 minutes from the working time of staff and close the Council Offices for half a day a week.

  • Appendix 8 (Pages 17-19) Transformational Proposals – looking at other options and efficiencies.

So that is it apart from TLAs…

TLAs the downfall of man

Oops! I should have said (TLAs) Three Letter Abbreviations which some think is our downfall!

Here are the abbreviations we spotted.

IJB – Integrated Joint Board

CCFM – Catering, Cleaning and Facilities Management – which is a Business Unit of the council

PBB -Priority Based Budgeting – this was a report prepared looking at the methods of budgeting for Transportation Service. The report proposed a number of initiatives which are now in the draft budget and identified with PBB.

To summarise, we have looked at this draft budget to find out how easy it is for you to have your say.  We believe it is well worth everyone contributing to the Let’s Talk debate.  You just need a cup of tea, a little bit of time and perhaps a lot of patience.

Councillor Altany Craik
Councillor Altany Craik explains the consultation process

And to that end  please do contribute.

Just for a word of encouragement we have asked Councillor Altany Craik somes questions about the process

1) What will Fife Council do with your comments when they receive them?

“The responses will all be collated and analysed.  we will get a copy of all consultation responses to consider.”

Will my suggestions abouts savings and additional revenues be listened to?

“On the revenue raising ideas, nothing is off the table – we need to balance the budget through a combination of efficiency, savings, raising revenues and transforming processes and service delivery.”

Altany then added…

“There can be no sacred cows in terms of consideration.”

Thank you Altany, the bottom line, your expert input is needed by Fife Council.

So, it is now time, first of all to start reading and secondly writing your responses.  Once you have done so please submit your comments, suggestion and ideas on how to make the budget work.  That is before time runs out on this Thursday, 4th February 2016!

Helen Grant Book Signings in Fife

Helen Grant at her book signing
Helen Grant at book signings in Fife on Saturday 4th july. Helen meets with readers in Waterstones’ stores in Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy

Crieff based fiction writer Helen Grant had a busy Saturday in Fife doing book signings. The signings took place on 4th July 2015, in Waterstone’s Kirkcaldy at 11am, and Waterstone’s Dunfermline at 2pm.

Helen writes thrillers with international locations, all of them published by Penguin Random House. On Saturday she signed copies of Forbidden Spaces, a trilogy of thrillers set in Brussels, of which the last book, Urban Legends, was published in March 2015.

As well as signing copies of the trilogy, Helen chatted to readers about her books – in particular about their urban exploration theme. The books involved extensive research and she used her experiences of living in Brussels to add more atmosphere to her story.

Helen aims to make her stories as realistic as possible, and to that end she has visited nearly all the locations in the trilogy. The places visited include an abandoned factory, the Gravensteen castle in Ghent, a disused railway tunnel and the Brussels sewers!

As you will have guessed, Helen lived in Brussels before she moved to Crieff. Her life in Brussels inspired her to write the trilogy. Consequently, as she now lives in Scotland Helen is working on a new novel set in Perthshire. Like her other books, it is a thriller and has exciting elements of mystery and intrigue.

As always Helen’s fans appreciate her special signed copies and look forward with anticipation to her new Perthshire novel.

Leek and Bacon Soup


8oz Smoked Bacon (derinded and chopped)
Ilb Leeks (trimmed and finely sliced)
8oz Diced Potato
1pt Chicken Stock
2tblsps Fresh Chopped Chives


Dry fry bacon till juices start to run and cook for 2 mins, remove with slotted spoon and set aside. Add leeks and potato to pan, cover and sweat for 5 mins, Stir in the stock and bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15mins. Cool slightly and blend till smooth. Add chives and bacon and reheat.

Recipe by Grace Gray Fife

Used by the kind permission of Scotland4me

2nd February 2015 – Dalgety Bay Stagecoach buses to Edinburgh and Kirkcaldy all Change

Travelling from Dalgety Bay to Edinburgh at the bus stop opposite Pentland Rise on Monday 2nd February 2015? And you are … looking to catch the X58 to Edinburgh at 9:23?

If so you will have a long wait!   StageCoach have changed the bus times.  You should have tried to catch the X62 at 9:08 .  That is right there is a new service at a new time.  Fortunately,  a X58 will appear at 10:08 and every hour thereafter until 20:08 when the X58 becomes a X62 again.

Below we have extracted most of the services that run through Dalgety Bay to Edinburgh.

However, the X60 still runs stopping at Dalgety Bay Railway Halt. You can find full details of all Dalgety to Kirkcaldy/Edinburgh services from 2nd February here:-

X58  0523
X58  0608
X53  0620
X62  0634
X57 0648
X62 0702
X53 0715
X57 0745
X58 0809
X53 0843
X62 0908
X58 1008
X58 1108 then every hour until
X62 2008  then every hour until the last bus to Edinburgh 2208 and on a Friday 2308