Charity facing 'worst year ever' as increasing number of families seek help

Charities like Fife Gingerbread are beginning to feel the struggle ahead of the Christmas period.

A Fife charity is facing its “worst year ever” as an increasing number of vulnerable families struggle to cope with the cost of living crisis.

Fife Gingerbread is now in need of urgent support, as it tries to help the growing number of people turning to them for assistance.

The charity says it will help around 450 lone parents and vulnerable families this Christmas.

One mother, who goes to a baby group set up by the charity after she fled an abusive relationship, described the charity as a “lifeline”.

She said: “Gingerbread was set up while I was in hospital. My worker met us, she was fantastic. She would get us shopping, collect my medication, anything and everything, anything wasn’t a bother, she was really incredible. I don’t know what I would have done without my worker and without Gingerbread.”

The charity is giving out food parcels, clothes, toys and gifts, as well as helping to meet the cost of rising heating bills.

Volunteer Naomi Higginson, told STV News: “We’re making up the festive packages that go out to all of the families that Gingerbread supports.

“I originally came to Fife Gingerbread about ten years ago as a supported family. I basically never went out of the house and had no friends. My daughter was my only friend, so I got a buddy and started working with her and eventually I became a volunteer myself and I have been here for eight years.”

Gingerbread is there to provide crisis support when families need it most. But this year’s “Heat and Eat” appeal is needed more than ever.

Linsey Proctor, PR and fundraising coordinator at Fife Gingerbread, said: “At the moment, our cash donations go towards crisis support throughout the year.

“So we do make sure that every child has something on Christmas morning but the thing for us at the moment is that we know there will be families that will be cold in the new year and the months to come.

“We know there will be situations that we will have to intervene and help that family out with fuel and heating and food bills, and this is where this appeal pops in and it’s vital to our families that we can provide that support, and this year I am struggling to get it through the door.”

Without the appeal, the charity say they won’t be able to help as many as they want to.

As the cost of living crisis continues to impact communities in need, charities like Gingerbread are now also beginning to feel the struggle.

Ms Proctor added: “We will always be there for our families and we can direct them to other services, but perhaps we can’t offer the wider range of help that we could for emergency support. We’ll never see someone in crisis without support but that amount that we can offer to them would be cut.”

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