One of the main sources of referrals for the Cottage Centre’s Christmas appeal is Fife Council’s social work department which works day in day out with some of the most vulnerable families in Kirkcaldy.
Staff there see first hand just how many families are in need of a bit of extra help, particularly over the festive season, and they are in an ideal position to identify those struggling to make ends meet.
Over the years their involvement has become so strong that a group of them now go along to help with the deliveries each year, and they know just how much the vital aid means to their clients.
Sara Emmerson works with the criminal justice section and it was through her work with people doing community service at the Cottage that she became involved in the appeal.
“I had a couple of our guys in here on placement, and I got roped in to helping out.
‘‘‘This will be the seventh year I have been involved,” she explained.
“One year I had a family where one of the parents was terminally ill and the staff at the Cottage pulled out all the stops to ensure it was a Christmas to remember for the children.
‘‘They took them to the pantomime and to the ice show to help them create lovely memories for them to remember.
“That is the type of place this is.
‘‘The staff go well beyond the call of duty, and that’s why people are so keen to donate to the appeal and volunteer to help out.”
Donna Briggs and Angela Bett have been involved with the Cottage through the children’s and families services of social work.
Donna said: “We have had our kids in helping to sort out the toys at nights and weekends and I think it is really good for them to see how spoiled they are and how, without this appeal, some children would wake up to virtually nothing on Christmas morning.”
Angela added: “Every year in the social work department we have fundraisers to raise money for the appeal. We have had an arts and crafts fair, cake bakes and raffles with the money raised going towards buying toys for the children.
“It is like being part of a big family and for many of the families we deal with it is a safe and approachable place for them to come.
‘‘We all want the best for our families and this gives the message that they are not alone and we are all working together to make things better.”