Last big push to help Kirkcaldy children in need this Christmas

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Knowing that people are thinking about them is one of the main things which helps people in need.

And by donating to the Cottage Centre’s 2016 Christmas appeal, you are not only directly helping our most vulnerable families, but you are also sending a very positive message.

Innes Laing and Shona Ewing from Digby Brown with Pauline Buchan. Pic by Fife Photo Agency

Innes Laing and Shona Ewing from Digby Brown with Pauline Buchan. Pic by Fife Photo Agency

You’re telling folk that you care.

You care enough about them to make sure they don’t go without on December 25.

And that makes a world of difference.

Pauline Buchan, service manager at the Templehall based organisation, said: “It is wonderful to see the look on people’s faces when we do our deliveries.

“I have had people in tears because they just can’t believe that people actually care about them.”

Her comments came as she urged Press readers and local businesses to make one final push for the appeal before Christmas.

The Cottage Family Centre’s campaign shows hundreds of families in and around Kirkcaldy just how much people care.

And Pauline hopes they will find time to make one last minute donation to help families in need.

“It’s wonderful to see the look on people’s faces when we do our deliveries.

“I have had people in tears because they just can’t believe that people actually care about them.

“For so many it is very difficult to ask for help. I have been contacted by people who have been too ashamed to admit that they just can’t make ends meet, which breaks my heart.

“We all need to be there for families in need because next year it could be you.

“I would like to think that if I found myself in a similar situation people would care enough to help me.”

With the big day fast approaching and more referrals coming in daily, the centre staff are pulling out all the stops to ensure every child in the town has a good Christmas.

And it has just extended the period for people to make donations until this Sunday (December 18) for last minute toys and gifts to be handed in to the centre.

With the number of referrals rising – at the last count it was more than 600 children – and a shortage of donated toys for all ages, Pauline Buchan, the centre’s service manager, says she is starting to panic.

“I am hoping that maybe our referrals are just a bit more organised than they usually are and that we are not going to have the last minute rush that we usually do, but I am not holding my breath,” she told the Press.

“Compared to last year we are about 150 children up for the same period, and that’s not a good sign, so I am appealing to all the Fife Free Press readers, individuals, groups and businesspeople to give whatever they can to help local children and families.”

To hopefully ensure there is enough to go around, Pauline has extended the time for people to make donations until the end of this week, when it was supposed to finish up on Friday.

Generous cash donations from the Kirkcaldy branch of Digby Brown solicitors and Briggs Marine in Burntisland are already earmarked to buy the food which will help to feed hundreds of families for around ten days over the festive period.

This includes a Christmas lunch of steak pie, potatoes and fresh vegetables, and other essentials such as gas and electricity, cookers and winter clothing.

“This is not something we have to do – it is not part of our statutory duty as an organisation.

“It is something we have chosen to do to help people in our town who are in need of some support,” said Pauline.

“We started it six years ago when we helped 100 families, and last year that had risen year on year to over 750.

“What is most shocking to me is that we are now not just having to help people where both parents are on benefits, but also families where maybe one or possibly both parents ARE working, yet the family is still struggling to make ends meet.”

As well as the food, the Cottage provides toys for children, as well as a warm pair of pyjamas, hats and gloves and other essentials such as winter coats and shoes if they are asked for.

“We still haven’t been told exactly what we are getting from other groups which are doing or have already done collections, so it makes it difficult for us to plan ahead,” said Pauline.

“So, right now, I am panicking that we won’t have enough to go aroond and I would hate for any child to wake up to no presents on Christmas morning.”

The Kirkcaldy office of Digby Brown chose the Cottage Family Centre in Templehall as its nominated charity for 2016 following a vote among its staff.

It has held a number of local fundraising drives over the last few months including a highly successful charity quiz in March, a bake sale and weekly dress-down Fridays at a cost of £1 per employee to raise money for the cause.

Innes Laing, a partner with Digby Brown, said: “All in all we have managed to raise the impressive total of £3417.58, which, for an office of ten people, isn’t too bad!”

You can drop off new (not second-hand) toys for children up to the age of 16 to the Cottage Centre, Cawdor Road, Kirkcaldy during its opening hours Mon-Fri 9am to 5pm (closed 12-1 for lunch).

Call (01592) 269489 or email info@thecottagefamilycentre.org.uk for more details.