Reported by Fife Today – the news we share raises awareness of equality issues being reported in the media.

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.

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