Kind-hearted residents of Clydebank can help bring some extra cheer to cash-strapped families this Christmas.

West Dunbartonshire Community Foodshare has launched its festive appeal and is asking for food and toy donations which will be distributed among families struggling to make ends meet.

With the local roll-out of the controversial Universal Credit due to take place in November, the charity is expecting to be particularly busy as families try to cope with the new benefits system which has been widely criticised for its negative impact on many claimants.

Clair Coyle, who runs the foodshare and Christmas toy appeal, told the Post: “We will just have to wait and see but we are gearing up in anticipation, and we do expect this will be our busiest ever season.”

The charity realises parents who struggle to buy food find Christmas a very difficult time, especially with the added stress of buying toys for children on Christmas morning.

Last year, they supported 548 local kids with five or six new new toys and gifts to open, thanks to the generosity of a wide range of individuals, schools, council staff, businesses, supermarkets and church groups.

And in anticipation of an even busier festive season this year they are again urging firms to help by setting up collection points for donations of toys and non-perishable food.

The charity is looking for toys, selection boxes, toiletries and non perishable goods for children from 0 to 16.

The Christmas appeal comes after a busy year for the charity.

Clair added: “Our distribution centres are fortunate in having teams of dedicated volunteers to whom the trustees are very grateful. The work can be a bit stressful but they are always smiling but they put in an invaluable amount of effort to help families in need.”

Clair said other projects run by the charity had also been busier during the season.

The holiday brunch bag project which runs when schools are closed had given out just under 900 bags and the cheap breakfast clubs had also proved invaluable.

In addition, a total of 233 kids had received uniforms donated to their uniform bank.

Call 01389 764135 or email