Welcome to our winter newsletter.

Time seems to have flown past and it is hard to believe that we are near the end of the year.

With Christmas fast approaching it is worth remembering that although it can be a lovely time, seeing friends and family, exchanging gifts and eating a little too much, it can also be a very stressful and worrying time for some families. Christmas is very expensive with a lot of pressure to spend money that the families we work with quite simply don’t have. Their children will expect food, presents and decorations just like their friends have or that they see other families having on TV. This can cause parents to feel a lot of shame and spend way beyond their means.

Circle staff work very hard to support those families to budget properly, talk about their situation as a family and not make rash decisions. We also apply for toys, gifts and food parcels to help take a little of the burden and pressure off. We are always grateful to Radio Forth’s Cash for Kids, Inverleith Church, Pilrig St. Paul’s Church, St. Mary’s Church in Hamilton and others who each year help Circle to ensure that lots of these vulnerable children and young people have presents to open. We also work in partnership with the Salvation Army, who provide much needed food parcels for families we support. The most exciting bit of Christmas for Circle staff is seeing our office full of toys and food and looking a lot like Santa’s Grotto, just before we distribute it all to the families we support. None of us ever quite grow up!

Helping our families have a Merry Christmas takes time and starts well before shop windows start to turn festive. On average we work with a family for 8 months and so for the 380 children we are helping this Christmas, our work might well have started in April. To keep doing this work we depend on you, our supporter, and this year we are delighted to announce that any festive donation you make to us will have double the impact.

We are very lucky to have been selected as one of the #BigGive charities and to have £5,000 secured in matched funding, thanks to the Dulverton Trust. This means every donation we receive online between now and midday on Tuesday 4th December , up to £5,000, will be doubled by them. Every penny of which will be used to support local vulnerable families, helping them develop the understanding, skills and resilience needed to overcome substance abuse, imprisonment and poverty which will ensure that this Christmas and all those in the future are happier and healthier.

Please take a minute to donate here and change a child’s life – http://bit.ly/BigGiveforCircle

As always our beloved patron David Tennant has made us an appeal video which you can see here – http://bit.ly/DavidTennantChristmasAppeal Please share with your friends and family and help us make the most of this double donation opportunity.

I’d also like to take a moment to welcome a few new staff members to the Circle team. Massive congratulations to Angela Gentile, our part-time Development Manager, who has also recently been appointed as our part-time Project Manager in East Lothian. She is joined in the East Lothian team by Claire Boyd who started last week and has been meeting everyone this week. I would also like to welcome Aileen Duff and Anita Lenyk who have been appointed to the new Women’s Outreach Service based in Alloa. Aileen is a Circle employee and Anita is employed by our partners Addiction Support and Counselling (ASC). This project is an extension of our very successful partnership with ASC and we are grateful to the Alcohol and Drug Partnership for supporting this.

I hope you enjoy the newsletter and, as always, if you have any questions or would like to get more involved with our activities, please do get in touch. From all at Circle I would like to wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy New Year when it comes.