Published: 10/05/2012 21:00 - Updated: 10/05/2012 16:14

Helping others make a fresh start

Written byby Chris Saunderson

A CHARITY which helps homeless people make the move into a new home desperately needs Moray’s help.

Jim Clark and Marjorie Lawrie.
Jim Clark and Marjorie Lawrie.

Moray Fresh Start had another busy month in April when it distributed 26 home starter packs.

That was its second busiest month – August 2011 was the busiest – since its launch four years ago.

Last year, the inter-denominational charity, which involves churches across Moray, provided 238 packs and also delivered 123 children’s Christmas presents.

Demand for the charity’s packs remains high and new chair, Jim Clark, doesn’t envisage that changing any time soon.

"I think demand is only going to escalate because we are looking at a number of houses being released later in the year," he said.

The charity provides a range of household goods that make life a little easier for an individual or family moving into a new home after a period of homelessness.

Past chair Marjorie Lawrie admits it becomes harder each year to continue providing the service.

At present they are very short of crockery, cutlery, tea towels, double bed sheets, mugs and large bath towels.

Items such as toasters, kettles and irons have to be bought new to meet safety regulations.

That means it costs the charity around £70 per pack, which puts a pressure on their own fund-raising efforts.

Donations of goods and money are needed to give the charity a much needed boost.

Mrs Lawrie, one of the founding members of the charity, admits the tough economic times may be affecting its work.

"People are so kind and give whatever they can. We are amazed at the generosity of people.

"We are still getting donations but they have slowed down, perhaps because of the economic situation."

Mr Clark, who lives in Lhanbryde, admitted that more charities are competing for donations from the public.

"There are so many charity hands out there looking for donations. With restrictions on local government spending, charities like us are filling a gap," he said.

He said Fresh Start needs to keep raising awareness and maintain a high profile to ensure continued support.

Last year, the charity took in about £20,000 in financial support.

More recently it received £500 from the Moray Firth Radio ‘Cash for Kids’ project and £1,000 from Pluscarden Abbey, a regular supporter of the charity.

Mr Clark, a retired civil engineer and latterly North of Scotland co-ordinator for the Leprosy Mission Scotland, paid tribute to the work of Mrs Lawrie and her committee over the years.

"I read about the work of Moray Fresh Start in the paper with a degree of interest and because I was friendly with Marjorie and her husband, Bruce.

"I have been very impressed with the work they have been doing."

Having joined the committee last year, Mr Clark said it was very interesting to move from working for an international charity to very much a local one.

"Another great aspect of Moray Fresh Start is that we have no paid employees and have a lot of enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers," added Mr Clark, who also had the Moray China Salon business in Elgin for 20 years.

Donations of goods and money can be done through Mr Clark on 01343 843837 or secretary Catherine Green on 01343 552794.

More information on the charity is available online at


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