Local groups benefit from Santa rounds

Joyce Thomson (left) and Major Sandra McCluskey of the Salvation Army's Good Neighbours Befriending Service in Forfar.'photosonlocation.co.uk

Joyce Thomson (left) and Major Sandra McCluskey of the Salvation Army's Good Neighbours Befriending Service in Forfar.'photosonlocation.co.uk

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THE LEGACY of Forfar Rotary Club’s Santa sleigh rides throughout Forfar and the door to door collections will benefit a raft of local organisations which will receive cheques this evening (Wednesday).

A total of £4,540 was raised from the Santa collections, and £2,200 of this will be split between nine local groups who helped Rotarians on 11 evenings in December.

Cheques will be presented as follows:- The Glens United Action Group (£200); Strathmore Primary Parent Council (£400); Four Seasons After School Club (£400); Strathmore Rugby Club (£200); Forfar Sailing Club (£200); Forfar Community Sports Association (£200); Angus District Young Engineers (£200); Stepping Stones Playgroup (£200); Forfar Boys Football Club (£200).

A further donation of £500 will go to the Salvation Army to assist with their work in Forfar, and Forfar Instrumental band and the Forfar Army Cadet Force will each receive £200.

Welcoming the Rotary’s support of local organisations, Major Jim McCluskey of the Salvation Army explained the £500 donation has come at a perfect time for the group.

He told the Dispatch and Herald: “Forfar Rotary Club has recognised the work we do and we will use this money to continue the service we are providing.

“This includes the food parcels which are handed out, and the new befriending service which we have just started this week.

“We have used money we received from the Saddler Legacy to set up the Good Neighbours Befriending Service. We appointed a co-ordinator and had to look for volunteers.

“Their induction and training have now been carried out and all the legislative process is out of the way; we have started the service, primarily in the Forfar area at the moment with four volunteers.

“We hope that, once things settle down, we will look for more volunteers and we can hopefully expand the service to other areas.”

The volunteers spend around an hour visiting those who are living on their own with referrals being sought from local GP surgeries and other outlets.

Major McCluskey continued: “The befriending service allows our volunteers to spend an hour or so with people, or perhaps take them out for a coffee. It is designed to combat loneliness and isolation which affects all ages.”

Prior to tonight’s cheque presentations David Valentine of Forfar Rotary Club said: “Forfar Rotary is determined to make a difference in the community by working with and supporting local organisations who are much better placed to use the funds we raise where they will benefit most.”

He referred to the success of the Forfar Marafun and the opportunity for local groups to boost their own funds.

He continued: “By working with Rotary on community projects like Marafun, local groups can raise much needed money for their own projects and charities.

“And by working together throughout the year we can do much more good for the people of Forfar and, for example, I’m sure our close working will help make Marafun 2014 even bigger and better than ever before.”