Spare a thought for Cosgrove Care

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GIVING to charity seems all the more important in the run-up to Christmas.

But while taking the season of goodwill to heart and donating time, money or unwanted goods to charity, it’s easy to overlook smaller, community-based causes.

With this in mind, The Extra visited Cosgrove Care – a charity with feet firmly in the southside.

Originally a group for Jewish children, Cosgrove Care has been running for 51 years, and supports adults and children – from all backgrounds – with learning disabilities and mental health issues.

First on the agenda was a visit to the Giffnock centre, where service users take part in everything from dance, music and yoga to computer training, art and creative writing.

The centre is always on the lookout for volunteers, as well as new classes to add to what’s currently on offer – no experience is necessary, and the staff at Cosgrove would love to hear from anyone with a skill they think they could teach to service users.

Cosgrove Care is part-funded by two shops on Skirving Street, Shawlands – but far from the usual charity shop set-up, these stores have bigger goals in mind.

Manager Derek Brown told The Extra: “People with learning disabilities work in both our shops, to gain skills – sometimes nationally recognised qualifications – and move towards the world of work.

“We’re more than just a charity shop, and try to offer something to everyone who comes through our door – whether it’s improving their customer service, learning to work the till or answer the phone.

“There’s a lot going on and it’s a great environment to work in”.

Derek admits that a smaller, community-based charity can be overlooked in favour of national organisations – but Cosgrove is working to change that, by seeking volunteers and donations from southside schools.

Still, the charity welcomes any help, be it unwanted furniture, or a couple of hours of someone’s time.

Derek continued: “We’re very reliant on volunteers. We’re hoping to open on a Sunday soon, so finding someone to do that would be ideal, as well as people willing to do electrical testing and odd jobs around the shop, or go out to houses and looking at furniture offered for donation.

“There are no particular skills needed – just time and willingness to help”.

It’s a task which this reporter can personally recommend, having spent a lunchtime creating a window display for Cosgrove Care (although those of you who spotted it might recommend sticking with the day job).

Anyone else interested in lending a hand – or a few donations – can find out more at the Cosgrove Care website.