A DUNFERMLINE lawyer has started a new charity to provide clothing to families in need – and unfortunately he's expecting high demand.

Craig Smith, who works for Young & Partners, believes poverty is only going to rise in West Fife due to the pandemic and he wants to help.

Children's Clothing Bank Dunfermline are starting to accept new and pre-loved clothes, there's a major donation drive planned for August 29, and they're searching for premises.

The dad-of-two explained: "I'm a lawyer but through the Round Table and the beer festival I've done voluntary work and I've been looking for a suitable charity sector position to do a bit more.

"Nothing really came up and with coronavirus hitting, and the anticipated increase in levels of poverty, there'll be a need for basic necessities like food, housing costs and clothing that people may struggle with.

"There's already a foodbank but I discovered the clothing bank in Dunfermline closed last year.

"There's one in Rosyth and Edinburgh but nothing for Dunfermline so I thought I'd set one up."

The charity will provide clothes to families in need in Dunfermline and surrounding areas, for children up to and including 18, and hopes to work with the existing clothes bank in Rosyth, which also covers Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay.

Craig was placed on furlough for four weeks, which actually gave him more time to devote to the charity, as well as opening a bank account and Facebook page.

His wife, Mary-Grace, and her friend, Judy Corbett, who both have experience in the charity sector, are also trustees.

He said: "We won't be dealing directly with the members of the public who get the clothing.

"We'll get referrals from an established list which will include health professionals, the foodbank and other charities like Home Start and Fife Gingerbread.

"The advice we've been given is that's the best way to do it.

"They'll have our details and know what we can assist with, I think a typical request will be a week's worth of clothes, and we anticipate referrals for children in care too.

"By that time, we'll have premises and a growing list of stock so we'll make up a parcel and pass it direct to the referrer or a point where it can be collected – Dunfermline Advice Hub have offered to help us there."

Members of the public can drop off donations of clothes at St Margaret's Parish Church in Touch, on Saturday, August 29, from noon to 4pm, but they're not accepting shoes.

He explained: "That's a difficult one as kids want to choose their own cool trainers or pick their own style of shoes.

"We hope to be able to provide shoe shop vouchers so that parents may take a sense of pride in taking their children shopping for shoes and allowing them to pick what they want.

"We'd like to do something similar for older teenagers and provide them with a gift voucher in their clothes parcel, so they could select their own clothes."

Referral requests are not being accepted yet, there is still stock to collect, grants to apply for and donation points to establish, while the search for premises is key.

Craig said: "Right now the stock is split between the trustees' houses but we anticipate we'll need to get something by the end of this month.

"We're probably looking at similar premises to the foodbank although a warehouse may not be ideal to store clothes, it could be a room in an office although it'd need to be a fair size."

For more information, or to offer help with premises, search 'Children's Clothing Bank Dunfermline' on Facebook.