Cottage Centre Appeal: Can you help Kirkcaldy families in need this Christmas?

Euan and Murray Oliver with Pauline Buchan at the Cottage. Pics by Fife Photo Agency
Euan and Murray Oliver with Pauline Buchan at the Cottage. Pics by Fife Photo Agency

A generous donation of £10,000 from local firm Briggs Marine has helped the Cottage Centre’s annual festive appeal get off to a flying start.

And Kirkcaldy brothers Euan and Murray Oliver have also raised a brilliant £725 from a coffee morning they held in Kirkcaldy Rugby Club to help give children and families in the town affected by poverty a happy Christmas.

Now Pauline Buchan, of the Cottage is appealing for any other businesses or groups hosting fundraising events in the coming weeks or looking for alternatives to sending Christmas cards to consider donating the cash to the centre instead.

“Many of the families we are dealing with at the centre on a daily basis don’t have enough money to live, never mind to deal with Christmas,” explained Pauline Buchan service manager.

“For them Christmas just brings a massive added expense which is very far removed from the festive cheer we are all expected to have at this time of year.

“During our Cottage Cafe, which we held over the summer, parents were telling us that they were already panicking at the thought, with some saying their work contracts were due to finish and others facing the prospect of Universal Credit, and that was back in July!

“The big difference this year is household income and how to survive, not about buying Christmas presents. People just don’t have enough money coming in to eat properly or heat their homes before they even start to think about Christmas.

“They start to think they are bad parents because they are having to go to the foodbank for help. Food parcels are supposed to be for emergencies, but many people are having to use them to survive long-term.”

And Pauline explained that trying to stop them from using loan companies which charge massive interest is a difficult thing.

“We would try to direct them to Credit Unions and suchlike, but for most of these you have to have savings in the first place, which they don’t,” she said.

That’s where your help is vital. If you can donate any new toys or clothes, toiletries or non-perishable food, then the Cottage would be very grateful.

Last year it helped 955 children and families in and around Kirkcaldy but this year, with the effects of Universal Credit kicking in, it is anticipating having to help 1200 – a rise of around a third.

“We fed 330 children over the summer holidays, an increase of around 100 on last year, and that is always a fairly reliable indicator of how many families we are going to be asked to help over Christmas,” added Pauline.

“We are so so grateful to Collieson Briggs for his continuing generosity towards our cause, without which we would not be able to help nearly as many people as we do.

“And the kindness of Euan and Murray who decided they wanted to give the money from their coffee morning to help those less well off than themselves is so heartwarming.

“Every year we are amazed by the generosity of the people of Kirkcaldy and how they rally round to help, and once again we are calling on that generosity to help us.”

“This year we are expecting to spend around £30,000 on food and utilities alone.

“We’ve sent out our usual letters to local businesses and again we couldn’t do without their help.

“Fare Share, Tesco, CMS Windows and Fife Council are all regular supporters along with many local schools and individuals and we are eternally grateful to them.

“From discounted food and clothing to manpower and transport for delivering to the families in time for Christmas, we couldn’t do it without them.”

“Little did we know when we started back in 2010, we would be needed more than ever in 2018.”