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This year The Kate Kennedy Club will be sponsoring the following charities:

The Vice-President of The Kate Kennedy Club, Thomas Kadri, talks about the hands-on charity and community work that the Club has been involved with over the last year.

The Kate Kennedy Club has been conducting charitable endeavours since its foundation in 1926. When the Cosmos Community Centre of St Andrews established in 1971, we were one of the original donors and they are but one of the causes that we continue to support right up to the present day. On Monday afternoons a few members often go down to volunteer at the after-school club that they host and last year they received several hundred pounds in financial support towards their fundraising campaign.

Last November, we also paid a visit to the Stroke Club who meet in The Cosmos Community Centre once a week, where we met several older residents of St Andrews who needed work done in their neglected gardens. Over the next week we achieved all the tasks they asked of us, and some of them very generously made a donation to our charitable fund. We have been of assistance to ‘St Andrews in Bloom’, planting flowers around the town. Last Easter we organised a community weekend which included tidying up the garden of the Trinity Church Hall, cleaning Castle Sands of any litter, and taking the inhabitants of Cupar Old People’s home to Anstruther, and to see the snowdrops at Cambo House.

A little further afield, we have been regular helpers at Cornerstone, an anti-discriminatory homeless shelter in Leven. Maintained by only a few part-time staff, they can always do with an extra hand here and there. Last April we used some money that we had raised to buy food supplies to cook a free meal for them in their cafe. We have also raised further funds to cover running costs of the centre and some of their recreational activities, such as their Sunday League football side. Since May 2008 they have received over £1,000 from us in donations.

More recently we have begun volunteering at the Scooniehill Riding for the Disabled Association, after a recent donation of £440 from our Charity Opening Ball put us in contact with their coordinator. By aiming to enhance the quality of life of disabled children and adults by operating horse rides, this charity uses it both as a therapy and an aid for confidence-building. This will hopefully materialise into a regular activity and is a real opportunity for us come into close contact with those who we hope benefit from our donations.

The Club has always had a good relationship with Homestart of St Andrews, and earlier this year we helped to organise an event to celebrate twenty-one years since the founding of Homestart in St Andrews. This also gave us the opportunity to present them with a cheque for £3,500 from the Opening Ball this October. Their work within the local community is invaluable and we wish them a very happy birthday and many more successful years in the future.
Another recent benefactor is young St Andrews resident Ruari Burton, who suffers from autistic spectrum disorder. His mother Karen tirelessly fundraises all year round to generate the money needed to send Ruari to an Autism Camp in the United States where he can receive the treatment he needs. At a recent event, we were delighted to present a cheque for £1,000 which will hopefully go a long way to ensuring he continued improvement.

For this year's May Ball we have decided to make Children's Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) our headline charity. CHAS is committed to the provision of children’s hospice services in Scotland, working exclusively with children with life-limiting conditions and their families. We are immensely pleased to be helping such an admirable cause and will hopefully be able to provide them with a sizeable donation in May. A donation of £1,300 is already on its way to them after funds raised from the Procession last year.

With over £12,000 going to a variety of local charities in the Fife region over the past academic year, I would like to express my thanks to all of the efforts that have made this possible. It is such a wonderful opportunity to be able to take a break from the library or the local pub and enjoy genuinely good times helping others in the local community. Long may it continue within the Kate Kennedy Club.

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