A CHURCH of Scotland minister, who headed a controversial training and

job creation project which was once hailed by the Government as a

flagship but crashed owing around #850,000, is moving from Fife to


The Rev. Dane Sherrard is leaving Buckhaven Parish Church, where he

has preached for 17 years, for the larger congregation of Glasgow Cadder

Church on March 9.

In 1983, concerned at unemployment levels of up to 40% in some parts

of Levenmouth, Fife, Mr Sherrard and his kirk session took a bold

initiative to try to regenerate the area by launching the Buckhaven

Parish Church Agency.

It rapidly brought new prosperity to the community and at one time the

ambitious scheme employed almost 1000 people in its diverse operations,

ranging from a community theatre to a building firm, and had an

estimated turnover of #3m a year.

More than 2000 people received help in finding full-time work and the

agency won many admirers, including then Scots Secretary Malcolm

Rifkind, who hailed it as a shining example to the rest of the country.

But it also had its critics, including local Labour MP Henry McLeish

who as Shadow employment and training spokesman repeatedly demanded

inquiries into the running of the agency. In April 1991, it went into

voluntary liquidation owing around #850,000.

A creditors' meeting heard that all debts were likely to be paid in

full as the project's assets, including about 16 buildings, were greater

than its liabilities, but it is understood many small firms eventually

had to write off what they were owed.

Nearly 400 adults on employment training schemes plus 42 staff lost

their places when the project crashed after the agency's successor, Fife

Enterprise, decided not to offer the BPCA a contract.

It was alleged that its financial plight was worsened by the refusal

of the training agency to provide funding to allow trainees to complete

their programmes, which resulted in the Church serving a writ on the


Saying that it was good for a congregation to have a change, and as he

was nearing 50, Mr Sherrard said yesterday that it was time for him to

move on.

He denied that he had been saddened by the outcome of the Buckhaven

Parish Church project.

''We did what we could to help unemployed people in the area, and we

achieved what we wanted,'' he said.