‘Magical’ childhood cancer drop-in centre secures vital funding

Toby Etheridge.
Toby Etheridge.

The immediate future of Fife’s first childhood cancer drop-in centre has been secured.

National Lottery Awards for All scheme has given £9900 to Toby’s Magical Journey drop-in centre at 126 Bonnygate, which will be used to cover the running costs of the building.

The drop-in centre, the first of its kind in the Kingdom, opened in October, with support coming from Nationwide Building Society in Cupar.

The National Lottery funding means that the charity’s 27 volunteers can now focus on continuing to raise money for the organisation and develop the building.

At the moment, around a dozen families affected by childhood cancer use the drop-in centre, whether it is to just for a chat with the volunteers, or picking up leaflets and information booklets about the disease. And while the adults do this, the children can play games, be creative in the art corner, and just hang out with other children going through similar experiences, all within a relaxing and welcoming environment.

“They don’t feel out of place,” explained Toby’s mum, Alison Etheridge, who helps run the charity and the centre.

“No one judges. Everyone is welcome. It’s been lovely to watch.”

While the centre has been a huge benefit to the families affected by childhood cancer, adults with cancer have also dropped in – something Alison was not expecting.

She explained some had come in for help and support because it was closer than travelling to the Maggie’s centres in Kirkcaldy and Dundee.

The centre has also become a popular space within the community.

The drop-in centre hosts numerous fundraising events, from ladies’ nights and bingo nights, to craft workshops, giving the customers a place to have a good time, while raising money for the charity.

Alison and the volunteer team are now looking towards the future. One of the many rooms in the centre is being turned into a quiet space, which will allow parents to chat while their kids relax.

They are also planning events, such as Toby’s upcoming third annual bridge walk.

If you would like to keep up-to-date with what is happening at Toby’s Magical Journey, visit the charity’s Facebook page.