Faculty Christmas Collection opens for donations

13 Nov

THE Faculty of Advocates will again be coming out in support of vulnerable families in Fife during the festive season this year.

Members, staff, colleagues across the whole of the legal profession and their friends and families are being asked to donate presents, treats or cash which will go to the family support charity, Home-Start Glenrothes.

The Faculty Christmas Collection is organised each year by Maria Maguire, KC.

“It is that time of year again when we have a chance to help families in Fife. Last year the sum we raised meant that we were able to help families from other Home-start areas across Fife. They were so relieved as they had families in desperate need. It would be amazing if we could help them again,” she said.

“Sadly, there are still families in difficulties. It is unbelievable in 2023, but there are problems with access to food, hygiene products, utilities, and basic needs. Many services are not operating. The pressure on families is even more intolerable at this time of year. There are increasing mental health problems. There is loss of employment, benefits are decreasing, and changes mean there is often a six-week gap for benefit payments. Parents become extremely distressed that they will not be able to give their children anything. 

“Some parents starve themselves to be able to put aside something for their children. The alternative is debt they can never repay. The charity helps those in crisis including those driven to attempt suicide. We can provide relief and hope. They rely on us.” 

Suitable donations include new toys, books, games, clothes, pyjamas, accessories, or any fun presents for children of all ages (including teenagers). Second hand bicycles in good working condition would also be appreciated. 

The Faculty Christmas Collection would also be grateful for presents for the parents, as well as Christmas treats such as selection boxes, tins of biscuits, and other sweets and savoury treats which are not too perishable.

These physical donations can be handed in at Faculty Reception at Parliament House between Monday 11 December and Friday 15 December. Arrangements can also be made to collect items that week by emailing Faculty Superintendent Scott Brownridge on scott.brownridge@advocates.org.uk. On Saturday 16 December 2023 donations can be dropped off at the Laigh Hall at Parliament House from 10am to 11.30am.

Cash donations will be used to buy Asda vouchers for food as food banks are under huge pressure and the number of visits is restricted. They will also be used to buy Christmas dinners for families and warm clothes and blankets. The money also provides an emergency fund to help families who need urgent help with accommodation, essential items, beds and duvets for children, cookers, fridges and washing machines and helps with activities for families throughout the year. The number of families fleeing domestic abuse or breaking down increases when there is poverty and cash donations can help set up a new safe home.

“These cash donations are used only for the needs of the families – there is nothing spent on charity administration,” said Ms Maguire. Those wishing to make cash donations can email Ms Maguire on maria.maguire@advocates.org.uk and she will send the relevant bank details. A gift aid form can be found here