Local charities receive cash boost from Thistles’ shoppers

Generous donations will help great causes


Two local charities have received a much-deserved surprise, with £300 donated to each thanks to visitors at Thistles who have been kindly putting loose change inside an ancient well within an attraction at the shopping centre.


As many know, Thistles is built on a 16th century jail and proudly displays The Bastion – the remains of a defensive tower, which was once part of Stirling’s Town Wall. The dungeon known as the ‘thieves pot’ is where visitors have been contributing spare change for a number of years. It is, however, currently closed due to social distancing restrictions.


When the city went into lockdown in March, the monies were put away for safe keeping. At that point it had not been counted and following the re-opening of the centre a few weeks ago, Gary Turnbull, centre director at Thistles, said he was over the moon to discover £600 had been donated.


Thistles has previously supported Strathcarron Hospice and Start Up Stirling with a number of awareness raising activities and upon realising how much had being collected, it was decided that the money would be distributed equally between the two beneficiaries.


Gary said: “The pandemic has stretched many sectors such as charitable organisations to the limit and having worked closely with Strathcarron Hospice and Start Up Stirling, donating the collection was our way of helping to ease some pressure on their resources.


“The team was bowled over when we discovered how much our amazing shoppers had given to the well,” Gary said. “It’s such a simple gesture to offer some small change but the accumulated results speak volumes and makes this so heart-warming.


“The additional funds for these two essential causes, which service our community means that even more families experiencing challenging situations can benefit from the much-needed care and support the charities provide.


“This will make the world of difference to many and will enable the phenomenal work to continue, so thank you to each and every one of you who helped make this happen.”


Strathcarron Hospice provides specialist palliative and expert end-of-life care for almost 1,400 patients. Its business development fundraiser, Claire MacDonald, commented: “During the COVID-19 pandemic, our priority has remained to provide specialist care for local people living with, and dying from, a terminal illness.


“These past few months have been difficult and challenging, and we’ve all found ourselves working in new ways. We have adapted and extended our core services to include more support for people at home and in the community, and our in-patient unit has always remained open.


“With our traditional fundraising events and campaigns cancelled, never before has the support of our local community been more vital in helping us to keep our services running,” Claire continued. “This generous £300 donation can pay for over 12 hours of nursing care and we are incredibly grateful to the Thistles and its customers.”


Start Up Stirling runs two food banks weekly to help local people living with financial hardships due to circumstances or health issues. Julie Christie, communities and fundraising manager at the charity, said: “We want to thank everyone at Thistles and their customers who have supported us at Start Up Stirling during the lockdown.


“Our crisis foodbanks closed to keep the people who use our services and our volunteers safe. We switched to a home delivery service, helping individuals and families across Stirling District who needed our support. These welcome funds will help us to continue to assist people living in hardship throughout the area.”