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Forres Area Community Trust organise free packages for local people who are struggling

By Garry McCartney

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FACT staff and volunteers at the town hall.
FACT staff and volunteers at the town hall.

A LOCAL development trust has been spreading Christmas cheer around Forres and Kinloss.

Forres Area Community Trust (FACT) ran a appeal for shoeboxes filled with essential items and treats for residents who are struggling, delivering them, as well as “tea boxes”, to older people who were supposed to attend an afternoon tea at Forres Town Hall, which had to be cancelled because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

FACT lead development officer Debbie Herron and her team worked with Moray Council community support officer Sylvia Jamieson and Claire Brenton from Kinloss, to deliver the shoeboxes, along with a Christmas meal provided by food bank Moray Food Plus.

Debbie said: “We at FACT have been very touched by the way the community have stepped up and made a difference over the last year, so we wanted to bring a little festive cheer to as many people as possible.”

Claire was humbled to be part of the Forres and Kinloss food project.

She said: “We delivered 50 three-course meals, and filled boxes to people in Kinloss affected by Covid-19.

“Findhorn and Kinloss Community Council provided £50 Tesco vouchers for each family shoebox. Morayvia allowed us to use their facility as a base for sorting.

“Thank you so much to everyone who handed in shoeboxes, or items for them. It’s good to know that community spirit is still alive, despite it being such a terrible year for so many people.”

Goodies in FACT's boxes.
Goodies in FACT's boxes.

Findhorn and Kinloss Community Council’s (FKCC) contribution to the shoeboxes was accompanied by a message which said: “A Tesco gift card from the Findhorn and Kinloss Community Council”.

Anne Skene, chairwoman of FKCC, said: “Your local community council have been, and still are, closely involved with the groups that are supporting people and families affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. FKCC are giving this gift card to you, and we hope it goes some way to helping you this Christmas.

“Over the years FKCC have put on fundraising events for these sorts of purposes, and they voted unanimously to spend this money on families that have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Forres Area Community Trust and Rotary Club of Forres prepare to hand out tea boxes and gifts to the community.
Forres Area Community Trust and Rotary Club of Forres prepare to hand out tea boxes and gifts to the community.

FACT’s shoebox appeal brought in a total of 103 boxes to sorting offices at Forres Town Hall and Kinloss Crafty Cool Kids Club, where they were checked by volunteers, then distributed around Kinloss, Forres and the surrounding area.

This was followed by delivery of 100 afternoon tea boxes, blankets, and more shoeboxes to older members of the community, and people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Rachel Philp, of Philps Fine Foods, helped FACT source the ingredients for the tea boxes, and Maclean’s Highland Bakery provided rolls for the sandwiches.

Rachel said: I donated some ingredients, and the compostable boxes the treats went into.”

Maclean’s Highland Bakery managing director Lewis Maclean added: “We donated some rolls and shortbread. We are very keen to support local community groups, so when FACT asked for help we had no hesitation.”

Rotary Club of Forres also provided £100 towards chocolate coins that were included the boxes.

The nibbles were prepared by volunteers Liz Stewart, Graham Watson and Laura MacPherson.

Feedback sent to FACT included: “Thank you all so much for the lovely Christmas gift pack received and appreciated; and “Thanks for the box of goodies – each one will be an evening treat. Fingers crossed for all your plans going ahead in 2021.”

Debbie added: “We would like to thank Moray Food Plus, the Forres Rotary Club, and the local businesses that have supported us... and of course all of the volunteers who have helped in so many ways this year.”

Kirsty Williams, Lorretta Oliphant and Laura MacPherson Zieger.
Kirsty Williams, Lorretta Oliphant and Laura MacPherson Zieger.

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