Fife Gingerbread - Back In Business

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Fife Gingerbread received some good news on Valentine’s Day, when Fife Council’s draft budget included a proposal to provide additional funding of up to £60k for the next three years.

The joint administration added that the funding was conditional on Fife Council assisting the charity to become more sustainable, something that was welcomed by CEO Rhona Cunningham.

Rhona said: “Since then, Wren & Greyhound Limited have been commissioned to work with us, this is very exciting as they are the ‘go-to consultancy for non-profit sustainability – first discussions with our Chairperson – Ian Clark indicate we are on the right track, so we are hopeful we can learn how to do more to increase our sustainability – we know only too well the rising demands for our services and we are driven to respond to that need.”  Ian  added “ We appreciate we have a lot of work ahead of us but are still very committed to doing the very best we possibly can for families in Fife.  We are back in business and our referral routes will be opening up again and our partnerships will strengthen.”

External funding coming to an end has been the main blame for the funding crisis, which forced Fife Gingerbread to announce its difficulties and highlight the impact a dramatic reduction in its service would have on the families it supports, and other services in the area.

Rhona added: “Going public with our situation and campaigning for funding was not something we really wanted to do, but we know the need for the support we deliver is immense, and we know how devastating it would be to families if our support was suddenly not there. It now looks like the publicity around our crisis may pay off in the long term – but there’s a long way to go for sure.”

Since going public with its funding crisis in mid-January, the independent charity has trimmed down its staff resource from 41 to 30 and many of these posts have reduced roles or hours in an attempt to protect the ability to support families   Simultaneously, the Fife charity has been inundated with messages of support from partner organisations, local businesses, elected members, and from families who have used the service in the past. An example of support is the recent fundraiser event – More than a Catwalk – organised by Kirkcaldy Sorpotimists as part of their year of support for Fife Gingerbread.

However, there is a fair bit of change ahead as staff that faced redundancies naturally have been looking elsewhere for more secure employment and this has led to a continual recruitment headache for the charity.  Yvonne Moyes – Business Service Manager said “The perfect storm was about more than just the money, it was about people.  Staff conditions in the voluntary sector are notoriously vulnerable – we did what we can to protect jobs. However, sad to say we still have lost some very good staff, they have been applying for work elsewhere.  Our staff have good skills and experience to offer, so we are now in this continual recruitment mode.  It’s bizarre and very confusing for the public to see so many vacancies after the media coverage and this will probably continue for a wee while until everything settles down again.”