Kirkcaldy: Cottage Centre’s biggest ever Christmas appeal to help 1600 children in poverty

The Cottage Centre’s 2021 Christmas Appeal is its biggest ever. It is also its most important.

By Allan Crow
Thursday, 18th November 2021, 6:53 pm

The frontline charity is urging people to dig deep and help it to raise £45,000 in little more than 40 days to ensure families with nothing are not left out during the festive season.

The centre estimates it will need to help up to 1600 children trapped in poverty.

That’s 1600 youngsters in our town - neighbours and school friends, team-mates and relatives - facing the toughest Christmas imaginable.

Pauline Buchan launches the Cottage Centre's 2021 Christmas appeal (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)

As well as donations of toys and clothes, the Cottage Centre is determined to give them each a ten-day survival pack of food to get them through the festive period when many services are closed.

And it will also ensure that families are able to stay warm by giving them cards to keep the heating on.

The appeal comes at a time when those with next to nothing are suffering the most as utility bills soar, the cost of food rises, and they come to terms with the £20 top-up Universal Credit payment being turned off.

And for many, this will be the first time they have ever experienced such a nightmare scenario.

The appeal will help almost 1600 children and families across Kirkcaldy

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Pauline Buchan, manager at the Cottage Centre, is in no doubt - the town cannot abandon them this Christmas.

After exhausting every source of support to help around 1200 families last year - at the height of lockdown - her team of volunteers are mobilising once more.

She said: “The appeal this year is much bigger and more important than ever. It is desperately needed.”

The centre's warehouse will again be filled with crates as the appeal gains momentum (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)

The alarming rise in poverty across parts of Kirkcaldy district can be underlined with just one statistic.

In 2010, the Cottage Centre’s first appeals supported 100 families.

That figure has now grown more than ten fold.

“Last year we helped 1400 children,” said Pauline, “We think that will rise to 1600 and it will keep rising until someone somewhere does something productive and thinks about the long term picture.”

The centre is now seeing families mired in poverty and being referred to them for the very first time.

“We had people who were getting through until COVID came along,

“It brought in a tsunami of vulnerable people - many who had never been in this situation before.

“People who were coping with an ill partner, trying to look after children and being put on furlough were just managing. “But when one keels over, there is a there is a domino effect/, and the moment they want help they find it isn’t there - the system is too slow to react at a time when it should be helping people at their lowest and their worst. “

The Cottage provides that safety net - but it can only do so with our help.

Every penny raised through its 2021 appeal goes to helping to support the most vulnerable families in crisis, providing food, clothing, utilities, and even items such as beds and cookers.

It is now accepting donations of new clothes, PJs, toys, toiletries, non-perishable food, and baby milk for families and children from new born to aged 16.

It cannot, however, accept any second hand goods because of health and safety regulations.

Donations can be dropped off directly to the Cottage at 29-31 Cawdor Crescent, or its St Clair Street base until Wednesday, December 15.

Financial donations can be made via bank transfer using Cot Xmas App as a reference: Sort Code 80-16-84, account number 06006462.

On Thursday, December 23, its team of volunteers, supported by several key businesses, will begin the massive task of delivering everything to the doorsteps of people in crisis.

Your support has never been more important.

The appeal is the biggest in Fife, and it can make the difference between a family enjoying Christmas or spending the festive season alone, with almost nothing.

Fifers have shown, year after year, that they will dig deep to help look after their own.

Throughout lockdown so many went out of their way to help people who were struggling. It was a remarkable community effort.

Now, just weeks before Christmas, we ask you to help the Cottage hit its targets and ensure that no-one is forgotten about over the festive season.

Added Pauline: “It is always the most vulnerable who suffer the most.”

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