Cupar Trooper – Michael Fyffe
Our Cupar Trooper campaign is generating some lovely comments. This week’s ‘trooper’ is Michael Fyffe. Actively involved in our community with a number of different projects, in the last three months, Michael has been supporting EU nationals around the North East Fife area to gain settlement status. We’re delighted to highlight Michael as a much-deserving Cupar Trooper and he’s told us a little more about his work that led to his nomination …
Michael started up an independent group called Community in Cupar with the strong ethos “anyone can be part of the community“. The group works closely with Rev Gavin Black at St. Johns. Michael explains: “The church allows us to use the hall and rooms to support a number of groups to have a platform in the community.” An Early Years Officer during the day, Michael finishes at 2.30pm – and then starts work with the community groups he supports. They include those suffering mental health, disabilities, LGBTI issues as well as the EU national support work.
“After the Covid-19 outbreak, we had to stop our group work” says Michael, who is also the current Equality Officer for SNP Cupar. “I gathered a bunch of members and other volunteers around the community to have standby drivers to support the local Foodbank as part of a contingency plan in case the Cupar Foodbank was forced to close.”
Michael lives in Mount Cabra and his next task was to print leaflets with his contact number to offer support to neighbours – many being elderly residents. He says: “I started to offer support with prescriptions pick ups leaving them at the door for neighbours. I then heard from many that they were lonely and missing groups like age concern.” Michael’s network connections came to good use: “I asked for support from friends and volunteers to work with the Community in Cupar to support those in isolation.”
See you next Wednesday …
Through the lockdown, Michael’s team is managing the prescription runs each Wednesday for those in need – in four residential complexes as well as for some vulnerable residents around the town. Michael says: “This has taken a little of the burden off the hard-worked wardens.”
We asked how all of this is coordinated? Michael is the first to highlight those with whom he is working: “We have Heather (aka ‘Heather the Blether’) – a volunteer who is in a wheelchair and partially sighted. Heather is our call handler and calls those feeling lonely or distressed, reassuring those who have no one else during this difficult time.” And there’s more. “We noticed many residents were struggling to get groceries and with further restrictions with queuing for shops, no cash and items not in stock – so we thought to offer free meals to those most in need every Tuesday and Thursday.” Michael adds: “We have two talented cooks in our team – Michy and Louise – both with catering backgrounds, as well as our magnificent welfare coordinator, Lesley Morgan who supports with forming menus and helping to source ingredients.”
The offering has grown. They are now providing single parent families and those most in need with some personalised shopping bags of essential items – helped by their partners at local supermarkets.
Three to three-hundred!
Is there any way others can help? Michael says: “A lot of time is taken up searching for and securing support from local businesses. We started off just offering support to 3 of my neighbours. Through word of mouth, we are now supporting four residential complexes, one care home – all in all, covering over 300 people at present.”
There are businesses in and around Cupar that Michael would like to name as going ‘above and beyond’ when it comes to their help for his work. He adds: “I’ve been amazed with the support from local businesses. Jo at Two An A Coo offers the elderly free delivery with their grocery shop, telephone ordering and gave us printable grocery lists and menus as most of the elderly can’t use the internet or apps.” Other businesses get a thumbs up: “Premier in Cupar have also offered services for the elderly with free delivery and telephone orders – and both stores have offered card or cash payment in envelopes and sterilised coins for change. Another big supporter is Quaker Oats who gave us a car full of porridge oats that got distributed through all the care complexes via wardens, families in need and the local school serving as a community hub.”
The following have given their support freely – whether it has been hundreds of plastic food containers for food orders to produce or shopping to share to those most in need. “I can’t thank our team of volunteers and drivers enough for all the work they have put in to ensure no one feels alone or lost during the Covid-19 crisis.”
Beyond Cupar, Michael’s team has been given support from Fife Migrant Forum in Dunfermline, ASDA in Glenrothes, Failte Online (Glasgow), New Delight Takeaway in Leuchars, Morrisons in St Andrews and Zara Balti House in Tayport.
Michael concludes: “A huge heart felt thank you to the support of the local community champions and all the other businesses who have supported us in every kind way they could. We just wouldn’t be able to do the work we do without them. Keeping those most vulnerable supported and ensuring all our clients have something to look forward to – whether a warm meal in their tummies or knowing they can have their groceries delivered free to their home.”
The award was given to Michael, but he accepts it on behalf of all those in his network: “We very gratefully accept this award and hamper and will put it to good use … back out into the community to those most in need. We will continue to support our local community however long this crisis may last and look forward to reopening our hub in the near future.”
Pictured above (left) is Michael – receiving the hamper kindly donated by Amanda Graham at Ostlers. Delivering the hamper full of wonderful homemade goodies from her restaurant, Amanda says: “I met with Michael. What a great guy … really worthy recipient. Such a positive enthusiastic person.” Above right, Michael receiving flowers donated by Elizabeth at Brodies Blooms & Gifts. Thank you to both businesses for supporting our Cupar Trooper campaign … it is very much appreciated!
You can reach Michael on 07421223369 or via email – michael.fyffe@CiC.scot
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