A FREE cafe for pensioners could be opening in Rosyth this summer in the old pharmacy unit at Co-op's Castlandhill Road store.

The retail company has gifted the space to West Fife volunteer group SHIELD, who have applied recently for a change of use to turn the unit into a community hub, catering especially for pensioners.

Not only do they hope to run a cafe but they also have big plans to host a social club which will include activities such as card nights, dominoes, old films, a book club, knitting and art.

SHIELD also want to provide free personal shopping for OAPs who can relax in the cafe while volunteers help get their supplies.

The news comes after SHIELD just celebrated its first birthday. It was set up at the beginning of last March's lockdown and is a self-funded group relying on food and financial donations from the public.

SHIELD founder Sarah Keeble said: "The unit has been sitting empty for about three years, I believe.

"The store has been speaking to us for a while now but it was a head office decision. So now we have the OK, we have applied to the council for a change of purpose.

"SHIELD has been very passionate about OAPs from the beginning. The OAP generation is the last of zero self-entitlement of our lifetime and we want to enjoy their company and spirit before it’s too late.

"We also didn't want to conflict or mirror services that are provided by EATS Rosyth, who do an incredible job in the area with food waste and helping the vulnerable."

The cafe will be decorated with memorabilia to evoke old memories and take people back to simpler times!

There will be a takeaway service for the general public to 'pay it forward' – similar to Social Bite – for an OAP to come for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Any surplus money will be donated to local pensioners' charities.

"It will be somewhere for the older generation to socialise and have some downtime," Sarah added.

"There has been a lot of OAPs who have lived independently this year and have been completely deprived of any social interaction.

"They have lived through so much and deserve to have something for them.

"It will be open to all residents too, not just Rosyth. And, of course, any member of the public can use the takeaway service."

SHIELD hope that once Fife Council give the go-ahead, they will be able to set up the unit in eight weeks.

However, it will begin as a takeaway as a way of fundraising to get the cafe open fully.

Sarah said: "If we do not get the change of use, we will put our clothing bank in the unit but we are committed to the idea and will still put an OAP cafe somewhere else.

"We also have been donated cafe furniture and equipment so we'll be pretty much ready to get going quite quickly.

"Regardless of the use of the space, it will be a benefit to the community.

"There is a three-year lease left on the Co-op building so we're guaranteed the space at least for that time.

"The focus will be getting the takeaway up and running so we can generate cash to get the next part going and build in a toilet and disabled access.

"It's a project but it's an achievable one!"