A CONTEMPORARY arts hub in Dunfermline has secured grant funding that should see it survive lockdown.

Fire Station Creative were successful in their application for support through the Third Sector Resilience Fund.

Ian Moir, director, admitted to the Press that the venue was "under threat" before the grant money was awarded.

He explained that staff had been furloughed and tenants have been given a "significant break" on their rent as a result of the funding.

He said: "The venue is completely closed right now and nobody is using the place.

"The ground floor, which includes the gallery, cafe and bar, was the first to close.

"After that, the biggest problem we faced was that some of our tenants' income dried up very quickly because they rely on the workshops they run at the Fire Station. Those couldn't continue because of social distancing measures. That meant their ability to pay rent was jeopardised which meant the Fire Station was under threat.

"I spent a few weeks applying for grant support and I secured one through the Third Sector Resilience Fund to support the Fire Station.

"That meant I could offer the tenants a significant discount on their rent which allowed them to hold on to their studio space while paying a smaller amount, and it took the pressure off them."

A further three applications for support have been sent away and the venue is awaiting a response.

Mr Moir is hopeful they'll be able to re-open again as soon as possible but stated they would only do so if it was physically and economically safe to.

He said: "Based on the direction we're getting from central government, bars and galleries won't be open to the public for another two months. That's just an educated guess.

"The studios should open again within a few weeks but we're waiting on direction from the First Minister (Nicola Sturgeon).

"Financially, the venue will most likely survive as long as we aren't kept in lockdown in perpetuity.

"We've structured things well and with the grant support, we're in a financially-healthy position. We'll still continue to fundraise to ensure the safety of the enterprise.

"Jobs are secured for the time being, and we're hoping to re-open as soon as possible, but safety has to come first; not just in terms of personal safety, but also from a health perspective of the business.

"We don't want to re-open if there's going to be insufficient business to support it – we have to be sure that there's sufficient custom.

"We can't stay closed forever, of course. The longer we stay closed, the more likely it is that we'll have to win more funding support."

Four exhibitions and four live music gigs have been cancelled since the outbreak but Mr Moir insisted that the venue would be "one of the safest places to visit" once they throw open their doors again.

He said: "It's difficult to measure the attitude of the public. Our customers have always been very loyal and we'll do everything in our power to ensure their safety.

"We do have some advantages over other venues in that we have a lot of space for social distancing.

"We can space tables out well and we're in the process of improving and developing our patio.

"Fire Station will be one of the safest places to visit once we're able to re-open."

The venue was gearing up to celebrate its five-year anniversary this July but the champagne is on ice for now with big party plans scrapped.

Mr Moir said that the early stages were difficult with no momentum behind it, but the business was beginning to thrive before lockdown.

He said: "The Fire Station was really starting to motor before COVID-19 appeared in the news.

"We were in a good position before this and we have all of our tenants and visitors to thank for that; we've had so much support. The business has never been healthier as it was before lockdown."