Tis the season to be jolly, well for most. I’m very fortunate to have lived and worked in my constituency all my life, Glasgow Cathcart is my definition of home. There are areas of my constituency which would be described as wealthy; but equally so there are areas which would have the tag of “poverty stricken”. Places such as Carnwadric, Mansewood and Castlemilk amongst others; places which are renowned for people living in poverty but, more than that, places which are known for having the most wonderful community spirit.
Organisations such as The Jeely Piece Club, WAVES and the Mount Befriending, amongst a huge variety of others, are offering services to the community from childhood right up to some of our more senior constituents. Throughout the year they work tirelessly looking after some of the most vulnerable people who live in the south side of Glasgow, and while they toil endlessly at obtaining funding and fundraising; Christmas without a doubt causes an increased strain on resources.
Christmas has always been like that, I bet for most of you reading this you would be able to think of a Christmas where times have been a little tight. Maybe as a child you were told Santa had lots of boys and girls to take toys to, so not to be greedy? Or maybe your mammy wasn’t able to provide the big feast that we see in all the adverts? Growing up my family rarely had turkey, we would have chicken or some other humble meat that was able to stretch to satisfy all us growing boys. I didn’t mind though, all I ever wanted was to get my football and run outside and play with everyone else who had something new to share with the group. Rain, hail or snow we would be out and making the most of this day. A quieter atmosphere and good cheer, accompanied by a jovial community spirit was what Christmas meant to me. Of course, as always, there would those who had nothing, no money for toys or a Christmas dinner, or any dinner at all; but this never went unnoticed. Word would quietly spread of those in need, and without a fuss food and gifts would appear at these homes. Everyone chipped in, because everyone knew that next year it might be them that would need a wee leg up. That’s what I love about Glasgow, there’s always someone willing to give you a hand.
These memories live with me to this day, memories of others doing their bit to support the community, and I think more so of doing it in a way where people didn’t feel like a “charity case”. Most people want to be able to provide for their own, and if they can’t it’s nice to be able to help while letting others maintain pride and dignity.
That’s what happens up and down the constituency but in the spirit of giving that’s why me and my team want to support these organisations in any way we can. We are collecting toys and gifts for women and children who may need some extra support this year. I want to carry on that tradition of kindness that I grew up with and pass it on to our future generations.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank anyone who has already donated to this appeal, and to those who do such great work across my constituency at Christmas. Our office would like to send the warmest of wishes to all this festive season, and remember we are here for anyone who may need help this Christmas.
Enquiries for anyone needing assistance can be sent to the contact details on my home page.
If you would like to donate to the collection then gifts can be handed in to our office, or we have a giving page which can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/christmas-toy-appeal-2017