How charities are spreading festive cheer to people in need this Christmas

The Clutha and other charities are working 'flat-out' to help bring Christmas cheer to people in need.

How the Clutha Trust and other charities are spreading festive cheer to people in need this Christmas STV News

Charities across Scotland are working around the clock to help bring festive cheer to families in need this Christmas.

Volunteers are working to provide food parcels and toys to families who are struggling, as well as lunches and companionship for people on their own.

It comes as thousands are set to turn to charities for help and support due to the cost of living crisis.

The Clutha bar in Glasgow is preparing to open their doors on December 25 to provide meals for people in need.

The pub is normally closed on Christmas Day but staff have volunteered to host 40 people in need of some extra cheer.

People from all backgrounds including refugees and those affected by the cost of living will sit down together to enjoy a festive feast.

It’s the first Christmas dinner they have organised since before the pandemic.

Clutha Trust founder Alan Crossan told STV News: “If you imagine someone sitting on their own at Christmas or maybe families that are struggling, so they come and get their dinner and maybe we can also sort out a wee present.

“Its just to help people get over that day. Christmas is brilliant unless you are skint, or struggling, or on your own.

“If everyone did a small thing for someone who is less fortunate then it would be a much better place.”

Clutha Trust founder Alan Crossan.

Glasgow-based children’s charity Spirit Aid been working flat-out this festive period, helping provide food parcels and toys to the families who need them most.

Representative Jim Ridley estimates they’ve given out around 12,000 toys so far.

He said: “We have volunteer drivers coming in and they help us with deliveries as far as Irvine and Bathgate.

“Sometimes the schools do the deliveries or families pick up from the school, but some times we have to do the door-to-door deliveries.

“If someone gives us a call on Saturday and even Sunday, then we will do our best to get out and deliver what they need.”

Jim said handing over gifts to families is often an emotional experience.

“I have had people crying when I’ve taken stuff to the door,” he said.

“At times you are nearly reduced to tears yourself because its the people with the least who often give the most.

“There was an elderly woman who had come with toys recently and she saw our van driving away.

“She was really heartbroken because she thought that was the last delivery and the van was off; but we got the stuff and was distributed in plenty of time.

“She was so thankful – but she was helping us.”

Around a quarter of all children in Scotland are in relative poverty, while about one in six pensioners are living below the breadline according to Scottish Government figures.

At the Salvation Army centre in Glasgow, volunteers are doing what they can to make sure no-one’s forgotten this Christmas.

They are preparing “senior bags” that are packed full of games and sweet treats in a bid to boost the festive mood.

Volunteer Fiona Howett said: “It’s really heartwarming isn’t it? So special to see someone who has had a lovely surprise and you’re there on behalf of a great organisation.

“It’s really nice to hear a bit of their story as well, about who that person is, and whether they’re lonely and whether they need any support.

“It’s really good to be able to do something for them. Christmas is quite a sad time for people if they’ve lost a loved one, or if they’re isolated or on their own

Valerie McDonagh, who received a senior bag, said: “It’s lovely. It just means everything, because its the true spirit of Christmas – especially when you don’t expect something.”

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