The Yes-U-Are Partnership was set up by a diverse group of local people who have a shared commitment to the renewal of Dunfermline’s historic city centre and the enhancement of the lives of local people through what we hope to achieve. Indeed, central to our vision, is the purchase, repair and refurbishment, for community use, of the former church building that occupies a prominent position in the city centre.
The former St Andrews Erskine Church is a ‘B’ listed building that is registered as being “At Risk”. It is noted in the Dunfermline Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme and the Dunfermline Conservation Area Appraisal. It was purchased, by means of a MacDonald family legacy, by the Trustees of the Yes-U-Are Partnership in 2012 from the Alfred Stewart Trust who were the previous owners. The building has direct historic links to one of the participants in the First Secession, Revd. Ralph Erskine, whose congregation built the current building to replace the church building that he had built on the same elevated ridge, his statue stands in the approximate location of his original pulpit.
Planning for the future
In order to conserve this important site and to ensure that it is developed with sensitivity. Yes-U-Are Partnership has commissioned Pollock Hammond Partnership as our architects. Pollock Hammond Partnership “has gained an acknowledged and award-winning reputation for excellence in its specialist field of conservation, restoration and rehabilitation of listed and traditional buildings throughout Scotland” see: About the practice
The Yes-U-Are Partnership believes that the process of conserving significant aspects of our past through quality design should also provide the community with a facility that is aesthetically pleasing and practical to use for the many purposes that local people and groups have recommended. It is our hope that this much loved classical building will have a revival that is worthy of its Renaissance porch!
The central location of the building is key to the range and variety of uses that it will become the focal point for. Situated at the western entrance to the popular Kingsgate shopping mall, it is directly opposite the Post Office, has ease of access to the Bus Station and is within yards of the recently developed Hub Café, the High Street and of course the Abbey precincts.
We are delighted that we have realised the first aspect of our vision. When we look beyond the essential building restoration and refit that are the central phase of our dreams, what do we see?
Imagining the future
At the very heart of our longer range vision is people. Folks who come to the building for a multiplicity of reasons. Some will come to socialise with others over a coffee in the cafe, in a group activity or in an exercise group. Other people will come for training, themed conferences or to participate in business meetings. Beyond the cultural and educational activities there will also be the opportunity for individuals and groups to celebrate the important seasons of life through art, music, drama and worship events. There will also be those who will come to work at reception, in the various offices, café or as tutors, coaches or mentors. At the heart of this bustle of activity there will be the opportunity for some to experience stillness, quietness and contemplative personal reflection.
It is not our intention to have a vast staff but those who are fully trained and equipped to provide the level of hospitality and support that we desire will be supplemented by a band of loyal volunteers who will do everything that they can to ensure that people get service that is full of warmth, smiles and where necessary, compassion. Our volunteers will help people to understand our part in Dunfermline’s rich heritage more fully, they will provide well informed tours of the building, support for functions, service with a smile in the café and an array of administrative functions.
To ensure that the building meets its fullest potential as well as our commitment to enhancing and transforming community, the building will be open in the evenings as well as the daytime. Local people have said that they want to be able to use the city centre in the evening and that an alternative or complement to what currently exists is much needed. It will also provide a desirable base for charities involved in pastoral street work as exemplified by our recent pilot project* among people addicted to alcohol and drugs locally. See our Projects page
Bringing about the future
Yes-U-Are is dedicated to making certain that we realize our dream for the building and for local people. This will take an increasing level of effort by those with the original vision and those new members who are joining us. There is no doubt that we have set ourselves an immense task but we believe that the good people of Dunfermline are fully behind our efforts and as our own capacity wanes or we are presented with challenges outside our ken, folk will rise up to fill the gap or strengthen our hand. Membership of Yes-U-Are is free and open to all, so if you have something to offer or a service that you can provide pro bono, please do not hesitate to enlist! See our Membership page.
The next stage of essential repair works will ensure that the building is water, wind and pigeon “tight” and will allow us to create a short-term office in the building. This temporary phase is being funded by another MacDonald legacy and will give us time to finalise the plans, seek planning permission and raise the necessary funds to fully complete the refurbishment.
Obviously we cannot rely on legacies to proceed but as well as applying for grant aid, we will be staging local events to support our efforts. Donations will always be gratefully received and of course there is the opportunity to provide “In Memoriam” gifts for specific items of equipment or the restoration of particular rooms or areas/features of the building. See donations page
The Yes-U-Are’s annual reports are available from 2012. Annual reports