Past Projects

The Life Labyrinth

When SCI left Kinghorn Loch in May 2021 our wildflower labyrinth had to be removed. Lots and lots of the plants were transported to peoples’ homes and gardens. Many members of the community came forward to let us know how much they had enjoyed the labyrinth – whether it was for playing with their grandchildren, or sitting in quiet reflection when life felt hard, it will be sorely missed.

The Life Labyrinth project wouldn’t have been possible without the help of so many people.
Warmest thanks for the incredible hard work of the boys and staff at Hillside School, especially Jay Wallace, Jordan Fraser, Darren Inglis, Thomas Anderson, Robbie Dudgeon and their teacher RoseAnn Carlin.

The project would not have been possible without the help of the Community Payback team, Scottish Water volunteers, as well as Douglas Collins, Kenneth Mullen, Geetam, Teodora Bokonyi, Kenny Grieve and anyone else who helped out.

Appreciation is given for the generous support from Pumphouse Trust, Breedon Aggregates (Orrock), CSV Action Earth, and site owners Diana and Richard Neil and Penny and Chris Holland.

2019-2021 Maintenance Coordinator at the Earthship

The Pump House Trust continues to support SCI after our major renovation works at the Earthship last summer through funding a part-time maintenance coordinator’s post. Richard Bennet, who was in the original build team in 2002-2004 starts the position in April this year. Richard will maintain the building, support volunteers and record any changes made to the building.

2017 Four events

This year we had funding from the Pump House Trust and Scotrail to run 4 seasonal community events at the Earthship and Life Labyrinth.


The first of the events was in April when we transformed old dated metal-framed chairs by using waste materials such as bicycle inner tubes and fabric – we created functional fun “new” chairs! The skills are applicable at home and no specialised tools or equipment are necessary. Also an opportunity to see our newly-covered yurt, which is very smart!

Summer Event

The summer event, in August was focused around the reflective benefits of the wild-flower Life Labyrinth next to the Earthship. Through the use of storytelling, games and nature activities families can enjoy thinking about areas of their lives where they feel able to make positive changes. The summer event took place on the 26th August.


The Autumn event on October 28th was on the theme of harvesting – harvesting what we have. It brought like-minded and new people together to share inner and practical resources in the spirit of celebration. The event includes a big swap – clothes, toys and books. Any abundant locally grown food produce and recipes were also be shared.


The final event of the year was the annual Xmas fair where people enjoyed learning how to make wreaths and decorations from waste and nature. It also featured seasonal storytelling and local refreshments, with information on sustainable choices at the highly-consuming time of year. In 2017 it was run on December 9th at the Barn on the Loch.

2017 Outdoor Learning

This outdoor learning project delivered a nature connection week (5 days) to 12 children 8-12 years who are struggling at mainstream school. The project gave children an opportunity to have fun outdoors in a safe and nurturing way and helped them to discover an alternative to more sedentary out-of-school activities.

The project aims to help children connect to the land around them and create a sense of belonging, connection to themselves and have more awareness of their needs and inner resources, and connect to others and have more skill in listening to others with empathy.

The sessions include games and activities that focus on nature connection and social skills. The children play team-building games, learn bush craft skills such as den building, fire-starting, foraging and wild cooking, tracking, and storytelling.

We hope to give the children the experience of freedom outdoors with their peers and that they will also experience comradeship, independence and rekindle their imagination, experiencing the outdoor environs of Kinghorn Loch in a supported and focussed way. We also hope that the experience that the children have of playing and learning safely outdoors will give them and their parents and carers the confidence to continue exploring the outdoors and what it has to offer.

The 12 places in 2017 were allocated to P6 pupils at Burntisland and Fair Isle Primary Schools.

Funded by:  Shell UK Community Awards administered by Foundation Scotland

2016 Reach N Teach

Reach N Teach with the Earthship is a 12-month project with the aim of training our sessional facilitators to deliver 35 interactive talks and skills-sharing workshops to school children and local communities.

The Earthship will be used as an example of sustainable living and to encourage communities to consider how they can make more sustainable choices.

Initially facilitators will deliver a short talk to each group adapted to their individual needs. Participants will find out how the Earthship came to Scotland, its unique design techniques and what we can learn from the building concept. Key techniques used in the Earthship will also be explored including re-using waste materials such as tyres; passive solar design; thermal mass; three types of renewable energy; autonomous sewage and rainwater systems.

A children’s version of the talk will also be available and includes the story of the Earthship, written by a storyteller, which will be self-published and illustrated as part of the project.

Following on from their talk groups will then be offered a free skills sharing workshop at their school, community meeting place or the Earthship Fife Visitor Centre. Workshops will be tailored to the groups’ individual learning requirements and will teach them skills such as:

  • creative waste – how to make things out of household waste
  • renewable energy – how it works and what can be done at home
  • saving money on bills
  • managing waste

New ideas will be developed as the project progresses using input from participating groups.

If you would like to find out more about Reach N Teach with the Earthship please e-mail us.

People's Postcode Lottery logo

Funded by:  Postcode Community Trust

The Postcode Community Trust is a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Reach N Teach received £11,690 from the Trust to help people change their habitats towards a more sustainable lifestyle.

2015: The Life Labyrinth

Young people from Fife are working hard on designing and creating a labyrinth made out of native plants at the front of the Earthship on the lochside. Their commitment to the project has them out in all weathers measuring, digging, and planting. The project will give the community and future generations a thoughtful experience as they journey around the labyrinth and a chance to reflect under a centre piece which the young people will have carved and built with their own hands – if you want to know what it is you’ll have to come and visit! All will be revealed in September at our Harvest Festival when we celebrate all we have created together this year.

Do you know what the difference between a maze and a labyrinth is?

Photo of maze and labyrinth

Funded by:  The Pumphouse Trust and CSV Action Earth

2015 Your Patch Too

Your Patch Too logo

Your Patch Too is a series of family workshops at the Earthship Fife Visitor Centre for local family groups who are given the opportunity to experience the outdoor environs of Kinghorn Loch in a supported and focused way. They will play outdoors, learn new skills using free natural and waste materials as resources,  spend time with their family, and form relationships with members of their community.
Each group comprises a maximum of 12 people, and will participate in an 8 week block of 2 hour workshops per week.
Each session will include sharing snacks, storytelling, nature connection games, and arts and crafts activities.

The first Your Patch project in 2013-2014 was a great success –

It gave parents and children the opportunity to work together on common goals to create items for our new school. It enhanced communication and made a great impact on relationships.

(Julie Anderson, Head teacher at Burntisland Primary School)

Colage for Your Patch Too

David Torrance, MSP, lodged a motion on the Scottish Parliament in January about Your Patch Too:

Sustainable Communities Initiatives Receives Funding

That the Parliament congratulates the Sustainable Communities Initiatives (SCI) in Kinghorn on receiving £9,860 from the Big Lottery’s Communities and Family Fund; notes that SCI is a grassroots organisation promoting social and environmental sustainability in communities; recognises that, over the last 10 years, the charity has initiated a vast number of projects, ranging from teaching community members on sustainable building methods to offering workshops on how to live an environmentally-friendly lifestyle; understands that these focus groups and seminars foster the development of new and useful skills, enable participants to explore the surrounding area and strengthen community cohesion; further understands that the grant will be invested in workshops for less advantaged families that will involve storytelling, nature connection games, healthy snacks and arts and crafts sessions using natural materials; welcomes what it considers the dedicated and invaluable work accomplished by SCI in making a vital contribution to creating a sustainable future for following generations, and wishes SCI and its staff great success for their upcoming projects.

Supported by: Joan McAlpine, Graeme Dey, Stuart McMillan, Bill Kidd, Liz Smith, Chic Brodie, Roderick Campbell, Colin Beattie, Dennis Robertson, Rob Gibson, Adam Ingram, Richard Lyle, Kevin Stewart, Mike MacKenzie, Sandra White

Funded by:  Big Lottery Communities and Families Fund

Bog Lottery Fund logo

2014 Celebrating 10 years of Earthship Fife

2014 Events
Earthship Fife 10th Birthday event

SCI has been running the Earthship Fife Visitor Centre for over 10 years – having built it over 2 years with over 225 volunteers, lots of fun, hard work and learning. Since that time SCI has introduced 15,900 visitors to the Earthship concept, delivered almost 500 waste and energy workshops, reaching 19,600 people in schools and in the  community, and sold almost 2,000 self-written publications for community use.

2014 was the 10th anniversary of the Earthship and we wanted to utilise the celebratory nature of the Earthship in its tenth year to offer a full year of community building, family learning and alternative education. 2014 was celebrated with a big 10th birthday bash, free childrens’ Earthship tours and Creative Waste workshops, Skills-Sharing Days and Creative Waste competitions; for adults and children and all held at Earthship Fife Visitor Centre. Our final event was our annual Christmas fair – Make Christmas at Earthship Fife – with wreathmaking, rag-rugging, knitting and home made cakes, as well as a storytelling walk around Craigencalt Farm. A wonderful end to a fantastic year!

xmas event collage
Make Christmas at Earthship Fife

 Funded by:  Fife Council, Pump House Trust, Russell Trust, Fife Charities Trust, and Rotary Club of Kinghorn and Burntisland

2013-2014 Your Patch

‘Your Patch’ is a skill-building series of family workshops for disadvantaged groups in Fife. The project gives community groups, including both children and their carers/parents, the opportunity to experience using waste as a resource, learn new skills, spend time with their family, and form relationships with members of their community.

It gave parents and children the opportunity to work together on common goals to create items for our new school. It enhanced communication and made a great impact on relationships.

(Julie Anderson, Head teacher at Burntisland Primary School)

Funded by:  Awards for All

2012-2013 Leap Frog

A project to help equip families facing social, economic and environmental challenges by delivering workshops that provide information, share skills, boost confidence and nurture community cohesion. The model used to work with the groups was a combination of compassionate communication, storytelling, energy related workshops, and arts and crafts.

Gave me a better understanding of other peoples thoughts and emotions.

Helped me think about others’ feelings rather than my own.

(Quotes from participants)

Funded by: Awards for All, Cattanach Trust and Fife Council

2008-2013 Ecovillage

SCI  worked with the Core Residents Group (CRG) and for some of the time, the Bodhi Eco Project to develop a plot of land in Burntisland in Fife known as The Widows Land. The proposal being developed was to build a low impact development with numerous community benefits, such as affordable housing, a visitors bunkhouse, and outdoor education programme, a  community supported agriculture scheme,  woodland walks, a wildlife area and a play area.

This project would have showcased a number of innovative ideas and technologies and used sustainable building methods to create permanent low impact buildings such as Earthships and Straw Bale buildings – types of construction that are possible using recycled materials and sustainable methods. The plans included 12 houses, and the site was to be, as far as possible, off-grid – generating its own power, recycling its own waste, and growing some of its own food.

In September 2013 Fife Council The planning department recommended that the proposal be refused, and at the planning committee meeting the Councillors agreed with his recommendation. In December 2013, SCI made the decision not to re-submit the planning application.

Funded by: Schiellion Trust, Pump House Trust, Investing in Ideas and Bodhi Eco Project

2008-2010 Carbon Busters: Clean Green Kinghorn and Cool Burntisland

A project to raise awareness, support the local community in Kinghorn and Burntisland and teach practical skills to help people make positive lifestyle changes, individually and together with their community to reduce carbon emissions.   Free events and workshops were run for children, youths, families, adults and business people.

Funded by: The Climate Challenge Fund

2008 Green Living on a Budget

SCI offered a range of workshops which introduced environmental issues to people on low incomes, and offered practical advice and solutions for how to tackle them. These included travel & holiday, saving energy at home, reducing waste and food.

A booklet full of advice and tips was also published and distributed free.

Funded by: The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

2004-2007 CWaCS (Creative Waste and Community Solutions)

CWaCS was a partnership project with Waste Aware Fife, set up to enhance the delivery of WAF’s educational programme. SCI provided hands-on activities, such as using waste creatively, and waste games highlighting the 3R’s, in community centres with the service users. 

Funded by: Fife Council, Fife Environment Trust, Waste Aware Fife

2002 Shelter

A project to raise awareness of asylum seekers through storytelling and building a plastic bottle shelter wall.

Funded by: The Scottish Arts Council, Awards for All

2000-2004 Building the Earthship Fife Visitor Centre

To find out more about Earthship Fife please click here

Funded by: Leet Hill Trust, Awards for All, The Shell Better Britain Campaign, Fife Council, Russell Trust, Network 21, Lintel Trust, Forward Scotland, Scottish Power