Vote of confidence for unique Fife approach to tackling loneliness

  • Curnie Clubs are secured in Fife for another three years thanks to a grant from the National Lottery Community Fund
  • Unique approach combines friendship, therapeutic support and counselling
  • Further funding sought to meet need following lockdown

FASS Curnie Clubs will be helping lonely and isolated adults back into communities across Fife for another three years. The news comes thanks to a vote of confidence through funding from the National Lottery Community Fund. The Clubs began in 2015 and, thanks to a great record to date, are now assured to 2024. They are small social groups (Curnie is a Scots word for a small gathering), with several running across Kirkcaldy, Glenrothes, Methil, Leven, Cupar and Cowdenbeath. Since lockdown it’s been very apparent that social isolation takes a heavy toll over time, so the Clubs are vital now.

During lockdown, Clubs have been meeting online, taking part in a whole menu of social, therapeutic and creative activities. The emphasis is on Members supporting each other in a friendly, understanding and empowering place. Before lockdown, one Member related how “My GP asked me why he hadn’t heard from me for such a long time when I’m usually at the surgery regularly. I told him I’d been going to the Curnie Club and am feeling very different.” More recently another simply said, “They’ve been a real lifesaver.”

Loneliness and isolation were recognised as being major public health issues across Scotland before the coronavirus pandemic hit. Often, however, services have been focused on older or younger people, with those in middle age ranges left to fend for themselves. COVID has highlighted that people of all ages can suffer greatly from isolation and need help from community.

Scotland Chair of The National Lottery Community Fund, Kate Still, commented: “In these uncertain times our priority is to ensure that National Lottery money continues to flow to charities, voluntary sector organisations and grassroots groups. I would like to congratulate FASS on their award, theirs is an important project and will support people now and in the future when they can physically come back together to make great things happen in their community.”

Donald Grieve, Curnie Clubs Project Manager, added: “This is great news. People who have become severely isolated often need more than befriending to help rejoin communities. This funding allows staff trained in counselling skills and using therapeutic approaches, alongside friendship in the Clubs, to support Members’ journeys.

“It’s important that we’re not complacent at this time though. People need us more than ever since lockdown. We have the basics to support our Clubs in place. We’re now looking for match funding to ensure counselling, our Curnie Volunteer service and other resources are secure. Our Members are often afraid to visit public places or use public transport when they come to us. They need to be able to practice these skills, with the right support, at the right time and in the right place. We can get them back to communities of their choice, whether that’s social, volunteering, education or employment.”

Contact: Donald Grieve,; 07748 631417

FASS has served the people of Fife since 1977. The charity provides a range of services designed to meet the special needs of vulnerable people within the community. These provide treatment and support for individuals and families affected by substance misuse and adults who are socially isolated and vulnerable.