Fife charity prepares to deliver a bit of Christmas magic to nearly 1,000 children

Bank of Scotland employees Kim McGill and Margaret Stanford with Pauline Buchan, centre.

A Fife charity is spreading festive cheer to hundreds of families after raising £25,000 for its Christmas appeal.

The Cottage Family Centre has been busy sorting donations of toys, clothes, food and other essential items to help families living in poverty.

Reaching the £25,000 total means those struggling at this time of year will receive bags of provisions and help with utility bills.

Cottage Family Centre staff were joined by volunteers, including employees of Bank of Scotland and Royal Bank of Scotland, as they sorted through thousands of items due for delivery on Friday.

It followed a £10,000 donation from Briggs Marine, £2,000 from Unison Fife and £300 from Diageo, in addition to support from other organisations and members of the public.

Among the companies boosting the appeal was Gordon Eason Electrical, which donated plastic bags, so the organisers could avoid the five pence charge.

The Kirkcaldy centre’s service manager Pauline Buchan thanked members of the community who had supported the appeal.

“Nothing would be possible without the help of the community,” she said.

“No government funding comes to us, no trust funding comes to us for this and our job, on top of our normal job, is to try to get people to support others who are vulnerable.

“The great thing for me is that we live in a community which is bothered. It’s a tight community and they care about people.”

She added: “There are 955 children and their families being supported this year. There were 817 last year. Seven years ago there were less than 100.”

Ms Buchan said the appeal provided everything families facing poverty might be short of during the festive season.

A total of 310 winter coats will be delivered to children whose families are struggling to buy clothes.

The appeal has even provided cookers to those who need them.

This year, the appeal has helped a family who recently suffered a house fire.

“They get 10 days’ worth of food including Christmas dinner, then there’s help with gas and electric if they need it,” said Ms Buchan.