A local charity which supports elderly and disabled people in and around Cupar is in need of funding.
Age Concern Cupar has been forced to stop taking referrals because too many people are coming forward in need of its services and it lacks the funding to expand its services.
The charity relies on the efforts of five paid staff and 24 volunteers, who give up their time to organise events, provide meals, give its users an environment to socialise, and transport them to and from their homes.
Over the last three months the charity has had to knock back 20 referrals.
Kathleen Hughes, trustee, said: “The volunteers and staff have to be careful about how many people are coming in.
“We get a lot of referrals from numerous agencies and families.
“You get to the point where you can only take a certain number of people – but we’re still getting referrals.
“We can’t up our staff because of budgets, so we can’t have any more people coming in.
“We’re disappointed in this because we know the need is out there. But we can’t meet that need because of the situation we are in.”
Canon Pat McInally, chairman of the charity, said that the families of its users knew that their relatives were coming to a “safe and comfortable environment”.
He added: “They get a meal every day and the chance to meet up with their peer group.
“It’s not just a meal Monday-to-Friday, it’s being part of a community.
“We’d hate to lose it because it is such a benefit.”
Kathleen says she thinks the charity, which supports around 50 people at each of its sessions, has become a victim of its own success.
“It’s a big family,” she added.
“Everyone knows everyone. And that makes such a difference to people living on their own – it might be the only bit of social interaction they get.”
Age Concern Cupar currently gets a grant from Fife Council, as well as funding from other sources, including a number of local organisations and businesses.
However, that funding makes up less than 50 per cent of the charity’s expenditure, with fundraising events such as coffee mornings having to be organised to make up the difference.
The situation has been made worse because the charity had to invest in a new bus, which is crucial to the service as around 90 per cent of its users need transport to and from the facility.
The charity has warned that it might be forced to take the bus off the road, unless it can find the funding to cover the costs.
The charity is currently £15,000 down on where it was last year, with transport the major cost.
The charity also received disappointing news recently when it could not secure funding for a dementia pilot project, as it claims it is the condition which has grown the most among its users.
While its financial situation is not critical, the charity wants to be able to plan for the future.
“If there’s a business out there that would like to be a sponsor, we would love to take them on,” Kathleen said.
“We want to plan for the future without thinking if there is going to be a future.
“We would love to be able to plan but at the moment we’re working on a day-to-day basis.”
As well as funding, Age Concern Cupar is also looking for help from the local community.
It is appealing for people with business experience who could offer their advice to get in contact.
It is also asking for members of the public who could volunteer to drive the bus, to come forward.
If you would like to contact Age Concern Cupar to help or to offer funding, call 01334 653597 or email email@example.com.