A CHARITY has said it is likely to crumble after Fife Council confirmed it could not offer any additional funding.

Fife Gingerbread revealed last week that it was facing a cash crisis as previous sources of funding were due to finish.

If £600,000 is not found, they fear 27 jobs will be lost and they will not be able to support 253 of the 348 families it currently works with.

The independent charity has been supporting lone parent, vulnerable and disadvantaged families across Fife for more than 30 years. Last year, it helped 739 families – 22 from West Fife.

At a meeting last Wednesday, Fife Council's co-leaders confirmed they would not be able to find any more cash to help.

Fife Gingerbread's CEO, Rhona Cunningham, said she was "frustrated beyond belief" at the response.

"Everyone is sympathetic and agrees we need to continue our level of service, but everyone points to someone else as being responsible; another directorate, another party, Scottish Government, Westminster, it’s always someone else getting the blame but blame doesn’t help families.

"Areas in Fife already have some of the highest rates of derivation in the country, where is the appetite to solve this?" she said.

"Right now we feel like an unvalued and disposable voluntary sector partner.”

Ms Cunningham said £400,000 which the council are planning to spend on holiday hunger provision could be put to better use through them.

“The council’s proposal is to open schools during the holidays to allow families to come along and have a meal; however we have heard from parents who were part of the pilot that five families turned up during a two week period," she added.

"Compare this to Fife Gingerbread, who had 117 holiday provision groups in summer 2018 alone which provided meals to hundreds of families and children, and we do the same during the other school holidays.

"Fife Gingerbread’s holiday provision is not a hand out or a soup kitchen. It brings families together in the community to play and have fun, but also have a meal and take food home. This just goes to show how out of touch and disconnected some council directorates are, and that they are most definitely not working in the spirit of the Fairer Fife Commission.

"If we had the £400k we could feed these children and do so much more, we could really make a difference to their lives.”

Fife Council Co-Leader, Councillor David Ross, said Fife Gingerbread provides valuable local services to children and families.

"The council continues to provide substantial funding to the organisation and in the past couple of years, has provided transitional funding to Gingerbread to tide them over until other external funding was available," he said.

“Their current financial difficulties are in the main down to the ending of time limited Lottery and Scottish Government funding streams. Unfortunately the realities of the council’s financial position mean it isn’t possible for the council to step in and make up for the loss of external funding.

“I know that officers are working with Fife Gingerbread to see what might be possible in order to protect what we all recognise are valuable services.”

Fellow Co-Leader, Councillor David Alexander, added: "In Levenmouth this financial year we handed over £170k of our local funds to Gingerbread based on promises we made at the budget meeting. That money is no longer available.

"When groups receive one-off funds from other organisations, they can no longer expect the council to fill the gap."