Child loss charity lays foundations at parliament

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A fundraising mission giving love and shelter to bereaved families is going to the Scottish Parliament to raise its profile.

John Finnie MSP is hosting a reception on Wednesday September 18 for Anam Cara Fasgadh, co-founded by Appin couple Susan and Andrew Simpson, formerly from Benderloch.

Foundations are still being laid for the project that plans to buy holiday caravans or cabins giving short-break havens to some of the 17,000 families every year in the UK who are affected by stillbirth or the death of a baby, child or young person up to the age of 25.

On top of those heartbreaking figures, a further estimated 250,000 families experience a miscarriage.

The first of the caravans will be near Oban at Tralee Bay Holiday Park and other peaceful and accessible locations around the UK will follow as support and funds grow.

As well as accommodation for families in need of respite, the project will provide recreational activities and support.

The Simpsons, who experienced a miscarriage in 2007, three years before daughter Eilidh Beth was stillborn at 34 weeks, are also now mum and dad to Charis, 14, and Niamh, 10.

With help from other co-founders, they need £45,000 for the Tralee caravan, hopefully a three-bed. There will be extra annual costs to cover maintenance. Paid cleaners will get the caravan ready for visiting families and volunteers will arrange welcome packs.

Main funding will be sought through grants and there will be fundraising events and collaborations with businesses and other charities and organisations.

Mr Simpson said next month’s reception would give MSPs and other invited guests the opportunity to meet and hear from Anam Cara Fasgadh about its aims and ambitions.

The organisation had a slot on Oban FM recently and gave a talk at Fort William Running Trail Festival last month to raise awareness of its work.

Fundraisers so far have included a parachute jump and a Viva La Diva night with plans for a Ben Nevis climb next year involving other charitable organisations.

Mr Simpson said: ‘We have known Mr Finnie for a long time and he has always been supportive of our charitable work. We appreciate the opportunity he has given us to take our cause to the Scottish Parliament. It’s a great way to get ourselves known and gather more support.’

Work is also ongoing to create a new logo and leaflets to help spread the word.

For more details go to facebook.com/AnamCaraFasgadh.