A Newburgh-based charity that brings siblings in care together is celebrating a ‘phenomenal’ windfall from the Big Lottery Fund.
STAR – Siblings Together and Reunited – has scooped a massive £100,898 grant which charity founder Karen Morrison says will help some 500 children over the next three years.
Karen, who runs STAR with a team of volunteers told the Fife Herald that words couldn’t describe how grateful she was to hear their application had been successful.
“This is a phenomenal amount of money and we are just so excited,” she said.
“Normally we just keep our heads above water thanks to donations but this means we can take the pressure off fundraising and really focus on what we are here for, to bring siblings together.
“The Lottery funding will cover our costs and let us also forge ahead with projects like creating a wildlife and sensory area which will be great for the children.”
Research shows that the number of children in care in Scotland still remains just under 16,000, and well over half of those are separated from a brother or sister.
Many of those siblings do not have arrangements in place for regular, quality, contact and many will have none.
Karen, a former pupil of Bell Baxter High School in Cupar, founded STAR in 2013, inspired by her experiences as a foster carer.
It’s based on farmland at Flisk, overlooking the Tay and has its own animals.
Since then the charity – the only one of its kind in Scotland – has helped bring a happy ending to some desperately sad stories.
They include a sibling group of three, now aged 13, 14 and 18, who were all in separate placements and didn’t see each other for six years. Now all three attend STAR regularly.
The funding boost has been welcomed by local MP Stephen Gethins, who this week congratulated the charity on the work it does and its success in securing the cash.
He said: “I am absolutely delighted STAR has received this money, which will ensure its volunteers can continue to provide a fantastic service to children from across Fife, Tayside and Perth.
“Having visited STAR recently with my SNP Westminster colleague, Dundee MP Chris Law, I know just how important the work is that they do and it’s great that the lottery money will allow children who have been separated from their brothers and sisters because they are in care, or adopted, or who are living with kinship carers, an opportunity to visit the STAR farm, and spend quality time with their siblings each month.
“This money will help approximately 500 children and young people participate over the next three years.”