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Charity to bring festive cheer to children living in Ayrshire

A CHARITY based in Ayr are set to bring festive cheer to local kids from difficult backgrounds.

Ayr Charity 'The Night Before Christmas' was set up in November 2015 when 12-year-old Tygan asked her mum if every child got a Night Before Christmas box like her.

Tygan's mum, Jodie, explained "not every child is as lucky as you, some children don't get anything at Christmas time". Tygan was saddened by this and asker her mum to help her to make boxes for children in their local area, so that they could feel the same magic at Christmas that she did.

Jodie and some of the family got together that year and started a small campaign in the village of Annbank in South Ayrshire. They collected and distributed 90 boxes with only weeks to spare before Christmas.

The campaign continued the following year, with the aim to spread the Christmas spirit beyond Annbank and Ayrshire - with Jodies friend Gail and her daughter Taylor joining 3 years ago starting collections and distributing in Renfrewshire and Glasgow.

Jodie explained: "On a cold November morning, we spent hours in Glasgow giving out food, hats, gloves and hot drink vouchers to the homeless. It really opened our eyes and we were shocked to see how many people are currently sleeping on Glasgow's streets.

"We are a registered charity SCO47995 so all funding is audited and regulated.

"Last year we completed over 2600 boxes but for us it's not about the quantity of boxes it's about making sure that no families go without at Christmas."

The charity were very lucky to be given a space in the Tsukure Community Hub on Ayr High Street. Owners Adam and Euan helped get funding to do up what used to be a cannabis farm, which now looks like a magical Christmas workshop where they can help those most in need.

Jodie continued: "We have also been very lucky to turn downstairs what used to be Henderson the jeweller's into our own charity shop. Any second hand donations we get in we can sell to buy new items for all our referrals.

Most of our referrals come from health visitors and social workers who deal with families who are seriously struggling. Most of the families we are helping this year have been affected with covid. They have either lost their jobs or had their hours dramatically reduced.

"Universal credit takes around 5 to 6 weeks to come through and they are increasing their debit level to see them through this period.

"It's heartbreaking listening to all the individual stories and we try and give these families as much as possible. "

Support from companies in the local area including Morrisons (Ayr, Troon and Kilmarnock), Nationwide Ayr, LCS Workwear, Poets corner in Alloway, Daisy Chain in Prestwick, and also local schools - Alloway primary are donating all of the money from Secret Santa to the charity, plus many more great local businesses.

An amazing team of elves have been volunteering to help make all of this happen. Delivery driver Kenny has been out doing drop offs and pick ups - whilst Liz his wife is in the workshop nearly every day helping prepare Christmas boxes. Both are retired teachers.

Jodie finished by saying: "It's such a fantastic charity with an amazing team. We are not just a charity the does things at Christmas we are constantly working through-out the year making sure that vulnerable kids are getting help. Lots of new things will be happening next year so watch this space.

"The amount of support and donations received this year has blown us away. Every day we are receiving gifts in to the workshop and everyday we are receiving messages of support and offers to help. We honesty can't thank everyone enough."

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