Shock rise prompts Cottage Centre to redouble its Christmas appeal effort

Pauline Buchan, pictured, is worried they won't be able to meet demand. Picture by Fife Photo Agency.

Pauline Buchan, pictured, is worried they won't be able to meet demand. Picture by Fife Photo Agency.

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In the week that the region launched its Fairer Fife Commission Report, the woman in charge of one of the charities offering help to vulnerable families admitted she has been shocked at the huge scale of poverty in the region.

And Pauline Buchan, service manager at the Cottage Family Centre in Templehall, says she fears that this year could be the one she does not manage to meet the demands being placed on the service over the festive period.

Just a month ago Pauline and her dedicated team at the Cottage launched their annual Christmas Appeal in the Fife Free Press.

This week she voiced her fears that, despite the huge generosity so far of the people of Kirkcaldy and local businesses and companies offering their support, they may come up short.

“The referrals from local schools and nurseries are due to finish this week and those from social work next week, and the horrendous situation we find ourselves in is that between 800 and 1000 children in the town are requiring our help over the festive season,” she explained.

“When I applied for help from the Radio Forth Cash for Kids appeal we were sitting at just over 300.

‘‘That number has almost tripled and I am actually really worried that we won’t be able to help all of the families who are needing our help this year,” she said.

“We are now desperately appealing to everyone in and around the town who can help us, no matter how little it may seem, to give what they can so that children in Kirkcaldy are not waking up without a gift this Christmas.”

Last year the Cottage spent around £9000 providing food packs for 517 families in the area, and this year the numbers will be even higher.

As Pauline explained the rising costs of living – rent, food and heating – are having a devastating effect not just on families where both parents are out of work, but also on families where one or even both parents are working and on lower incomes.

“I don’t want to have to say no to anyone who has been referred to us for help, so anyone who can give us anything, from new toys to non perishable foods, toiletries, or clothing.

“I won’t be turning anything down this year, as long as it is new, because we don’t have the room to store second hand items here,” added Pauline.