By Jennifer Macdonald / November 8, 2023

As temperatures plunge this winter, life will get harder for those living below the poverty line who are pushed into the position of choosing whether to heat or eat. The cost-of-living crisis continues to hit household incomes and surging energy bills make it harder than ever to keep warm. Although there are cheaper alternatives, such as charity shops, not everyone can afford to buy the basics needed to get through cold winter months in the north-east.

This inspired the members of Stonehaven Carronside Church to do something to help this winter by organising a Winter Warmer event in St Bridget’s Hall on Saturday 28th October. We invited other churches, groups and individuals in the town to donate good quality coats, jackets, fleeces, knitwear, hats, scarves and gloves to this project as these items could make a potentially life-saving difference to someone in need.

We were overwhelmed by the kind-heartedness of the people in Stonehaven and surrounding area. We received an enormous quantity of good quality winter clothing – far more than we could ever have imagined. Huge thanks go to everyone who donated items … we are so grateful for your generous response to this appeal.

Many helped behind the scenes in the fortnight before the event to sort out clothing and then to set out the Hall. Thanks go to Stonehaven Recreation Grounds and Diana Glennie for the loan of coat racks and to the Original Factory Shop for coat hangers.

We spread the word about this event and invited people to come along and help themselves to what they need. The October weather was not the best-with Storm Babet the week before the event and Storm Ciaran over the weekend of the event itself. However there was a steady stream of people through the doors on the day who were all so grateful for this opportunity to get warm clothing for themselves and their families.

Many could not believe there was no charge and insisted on leaving a donation. The £120 donated will go to the Cyrenians.

Stonehaven Carronside church is a regular supporter of the Aberdeen Cyrenians and we stated from the outset that any items which remained after the event would be donated to this local charity whose goal is to provide practical support for people most in need. We bagged up all the remaining items and when we contacted the Cyrenians to tell them that they were about to receive a vanload of winter clothing, they were delighted and told us that they are very short of winter clothes, especially men’s jackets.

If you contributed to this initiative in any way, we thank you again for your generosity and for helping us achieve our goal of making a potentially life-saving difference to someone in need this winter.