A prominent Fife charity, which provides therapy dogs for children and young people with additional learning needs, is pleading for public support after its community hub was destroyed by flooding.
Oliver’s Army Assistance Dog Charity’s popular drop-in support and dog training centre in Cowdenbeath, which has operated from its High Street base for just over a year, suffered severe damage after water pipes burst above the former post office building rendering much of the facility unusable and destroying, toys, learning aids and other equipment.
The damage was so severe it left the Scottish branch of the UK-wide charity, which supports around 70 families and individuals across Scotland, effectively homeless.
The charity has now launched an appeal urging the public to dig deep and help them recover.
Joanne Robertson, who runs the facility said the damage, thought to have been caused after the sprinkler system failed on New Year’s Day, has ruined most of the facilities at the centre.
She added: “It was utterly heartbreaking to see the damage to a centre which has proved so popular within the local community, not just for the therapy dog support, but also as place that people could come to for support and meet likeminded people.
“It’s become a hub for many within the local community to pop in and have a cuppa, see a friendly face and meet others but now that has all been lost.
“Luckily all of our IT equipment is safe but all flooring, furniture, toys, and support equipment has been ruined.
“To compound the issue, asbestos within the building has now contaminated the entire facility making it unsafe to even re-entre.”
Thankfully due to the intervention of BRAG (Benarty Regeneration Action Group) Enterprises, an initiative which supports areas of high deprivation, the charity, Joanne and her colleagues have been found a replacement facility in Crosshill but are now appealing for donations to help the charity relocate.
“We desperately need financial support to get us back up and running fully and supporting the families that rely heavily on us,” said Joanne.
“It’s a huge set back but we won’t let it beat us.
“We have some fantastic people involved and too many who rely on our services and dogs to give up now.”
To find out more about how to support the charity or make a donation, go to the charity’s Facebook page ‘Oliversarmy AssistanceDogs’