Community spirit thriving

St Ninian's Charity Shop. Pic: George McLuskie

St Ninian's Charity Shop. Pic: George McLuskie

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WHETHER it’s a friendly face, a piece of advice or just a hot cuppa, St Ninian’s have been at the heart of the parish in Glenrothes for decades.

And now their charity shop and Glenwood community cafe which have been offering an essential and much appreciated role within the precinct are getting ready to celebrate their tenth anniversary.

Based on the simple constitution of providing low cost food and clothing, offering a place for people to go and the dispersement of money to individuals and groups, the church group reach out to help those often missed by the mainstream.

“We have a simple aim to provide for people within the community and those three constitution points really are what we are all about”, Ralph Dean tells me.

A Director of the organisation, Ralph joined the team four years ago and says the charity is continuing to grow ten years after it was first set up.

“The original idea was to have an advocacy centre but things developed and the charity shop was opened in 2003”, Ralph explained.

“The cafe followed soon after and from the feedback from regulars it’s now regarded as an essential part of community life as often for the elderly or for those living on their own, the cafe provides them with their only interaction with other people.”

For the last five years the organisation have also been working closely with the Rathbones Organisation offering work experience opportunities for young people with the aim of helping them back into full time employment.

With a full time staff of four, plus 13 trustees and boasting more than 50 volunteers, the charity is continuing to look at other ways of providing for the local area.

“We’d like to develop the advocacy plans eventually and also provide a type of action group centre offering practical help on a variety of issues”, said Ralph.

“Also with the new legislation regarding having to use a computer to receive benefit and all the other implications for those out of work, we are currently arranging to have a number of pc’s which residents can come in and use at our Glenwood shop.”

Ralph and his colleagues are also working closely with a number of other organisations within the town with the hope of setting up a permanent foodbank providing for those who need it.

And as part of the anniversary celebrations, St Ninian’s have also earmarked £10,000 worth of grants that they want to use to fund individuals and groups who have ideas or projects that will directly benefit the local community.

Ralph explained: “The grants have been very successful when we’ve had them previously, with over £20,000 already shared around the parish to worthwhile groups such as the Brownies, Glenrothes Blind Club and Strollers football team.

“So we’re inviting people to apply for this new funding that we have.”

St Ninian’s are planning a number of events in the planning months and already looking forward to helping those less fortunate for the next decade. Long may it continue.