Fife Gingerbread Blog

The difference we can all make


Recent minor surgery has resulted in a short period of recovery. It’s a hard shift sitting in the garden passing the time of day with neighbours and watching the odd cheeky squirrel and inquisitive birds, giving me the time to reflect.

This is the first time in a long time that I can really look at what Fife Gingerbread means to me personally, the staff, our families and our local communities. The amount of poverty and injustice faced by some families is overwhelming. It’s so overwhelming, that it could be easily seen as impossible. It’s easy to feel helpless- we are just a small local charity after all, working within limitations and constraints.

But it doesn’t need to be this way. The smallest of actions can make such a difference and the behaviour we show can give hope and strength to others who are struggling.

In Fife Gingerbread we can help skill up parents to cope with situations or children’s behavioural problems. We can help them make an application for the correct benefits and we can even help them navigate the car crash universal credit system. We can put food on tables and money in meters. We can show them that society hasn’t forgotten about them and wants to see every child, including their own little ones, thrive.

For years we have hundreds of activities on in holidays that are free and all have food. It’s just what we do. We are delighted to see Fife Council increase this offer with hundreds of services linking up during holidays throughout the region. Gingerbread’s amazing staff have been involved in play and various activities at these sessions which give them happy memories of a Summer well spent.

We can create opportunities for lone parents, teens and dads to meet other parents in the same position and create friendships that will last a lifetime. A chance to listen, to learn and most of all, realise they are not alone.

We have an army of volunteers and they work miracles by buddying up with parents that need a little confidence, fundraising and helping out at events. Many of our volunteers have used our services when they were raising their own children and know too well how much the service can make a really positive impact.

Fife Gingerbread is an energetic movement in every sense of the word and we work hard to secure funds to deliver the services. Sometimes the simplest things make a difference and sometimes we don’t even realise what we’ve done. That’s what makes the difference- the attitude that we treat our families as we would want to be treated ourselves.

Our previous teen parents regularly donate clothes and baby equipment they have been given to those new to the service. We have a regular supporter who buys school clothes in the sales and donates them. Every day of the week we are offered sofas, tables and beds – these are all turned round in the week or we suggest recycling charities. Banking staff drive over from Edinburgh to decorate rooms. Phone calls from taxi services, carpet shops, supermarkets are answered, offering services and are gladly received.

People just ‘get us’ – either they have experienced hard times or they are grateful they haven’t. Fife is where we are all bringing up our children. They all deserve to be valued and shown that there is a community out there that cares.

So let us show it. Everyone can do something. Help a young mum with a buggy on a bus if she is struggling, smile at babies- nothing makes a parent feel better than a kind gesture towards their kids.

You could offer to take stuff to the tip or cut the grass or hedge when you are doing yours to a family that might not have the tools. We have volunteers who do that for a few folk – once a garden is under control then it’s easier to keep on top. Volunteering is just so vital to get jobs done that are insurmountable to families struggling to keep a roof over their heads.

If you are in your own with three kids, getting them rounded up and dragged to the shop for a pint of milk is a huge task- as all parents can agree! Next time you are going just chap the door and ask if they need anything.  Start a conversation – you never know where it will lead…

Its little magic moments like these-

One of our supporters won a raffle. The prize, 4 foot Peter Rabbit , was very cute but took up a chair in the living room, so she donated Peter ‘for some bairn who didn’t have much.’ What a kind gesture.

He was beautiful, and our team had the idea that we could offer more than one child a cuddle through this lovely donation.

We held an Easter Raffle and raised £600.  With that money 15 families had a day out to Dundee enjoying an experience, having fun, meeting friends and making memories they never could have had otherwise. It’s just not an option when you are relying on food banks every day. 32 bairns tired but happy! Just a day out, but the wee smiles.. It’s magic, it really is. That was their Summer Holiday.

All because of £1 raffle ticket. Never think it’s too big to tackle- too big to change – we can all do something that makes a change and brightens somebody’s day.

It just happens to be our vision in Fife Gingerbread – brighter days and better tomorrows …

Right, better get back to see what that squirrel is up to now…