Cooking Up Memories…

Have you ever walked down a street or past a café when suddenly a smell engulfs you and transports you back in time? Maybe into your granny’s kitchen as she made rhubarb crumble or fruit loaf on a warm summer’s day? Or into your Dad’s greenhouse, filled with tomatoes and strawberries?

Memories sometimes have a way of escaping us as we get older, but if memories are attached to a smell, we have a much better recollection of these memories. Something as simple as a rhubarb crumble will be enough to take you back to your childhood and happier times.

During lockdown, we have had two of our volunteers baking to help keep up the spirits of the older generations who find themselves shielding during this pandemic. For many of them, they live alone and family may live miles away. For some, the only people they see in a week is the Team CASS volunteers.

That’s why we have been delivering home baking every Friday to the older people in our communities. During this time, it’s important to get people to think of happier times to keep their spirits up. It’s hard enough staying at home for those of us not shielding, so imagine having to spend another 6 weeks at home. It is having a detrimental impact on our older people and whilst we want them to stay safe, we also want to help take care of their mental health too.

This home baking is a lovely weekly treat for them, but it’s much more than that. We hope that it makes them think back to years gone by. To the times they spend with their grandparents, learning to bake. Or the picnics they went on with their family, playing games and having fun. We hope these memories help them through the next 6 weeks of shielding and keep them going on their bad days.

We’re so very grateful for Shire Housing whose donation has allowed us to keep going with our weekly home baking for those older people across our communities here in East Ayrshire. We also couldn’t do any of this without our volunteer bakers, Anne and Nancy. They’ve been extremely busy each week making lots of tasty goodies! We can’t thank them enough for giving up their time during lockdown to bake for us each week.

Please, check on your older neighbours. Give them a phone. Let them know you’re there if they need you – even if it’s just for a wee 10-minute chat on the phone or over the fence.

Keep an eye on our social media to see the home-baked goodies we have going out each week!


Christmas Time!

This Christmas, we’re holding our 3rd Christmas Day dinner for individuals who are on their own at this time of the year – and you can help us to create even more Christmas smiles this year!

Christmas is a time to spend with family and friends, celebrating and reminiscing about years gone by. For some, however, Christmas is another reminder of how lonely they are not just on one day, but for the whole year. We take for granted having company in our daily lives, whether it’s a blether on the phone or a coffee with a friend. Not everyone has this network of people and this becomes amplified at Christmas time.

In 2017, we had the idea to host a Christmas Day dinner, bringing together a range of people from all walks of life to spend the day with us at Create a Smile Scotland. Our first year, we had around 25 individuals join us for a 4-course dinner, complete with gifts, a raffle and some entertainment from Ayrshire’s very own Elvis (or John Reid to his friends!) In 2018 we had over 30 individuals at our dinner, and this year we want to reach even more people!

We rely on the kindness of others and this is where you come in – we need items donated so that we can make our Christmas Day dinner free for all those attending. We have a range of items we’re still looking for and you can find the list on our Facebook page as it’s updated as/when we get things.

We would like to say a huge thank you to – Tarelgin Butchers for the turkey with all the trimmings, Prime Cuts Cumnock for the steak pies, A&A Spittal for all of the veg and The Coffee Mill for donating all the puddings for this year’s dinner.

Finally, we want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has donated this year and the years before – without you, we wouldn’t be able to host this dinner and create as many Christmas smiles as we do!

Creating Smiles On and Off the Pitch…

CASS Football sponsorship. Cumnock Juniors.

‘Junior Fitba’ is a big-ish deal in Scotland, especially in the West Coast. It may not be as big as it used to be but there is certainly still community spirit which is definitely alive and kicking at Cumnock Juniors FC.

If you follow Junior Football at all, you might notice that Cumnock’s away top features a very special logo this year – Create a Smile Scotland! This is all thanks to a very kind-hearted group of people.

Usually when sponsoring a team, your logo goes on the front of the shirt to advertise your business. This year however, a group of 5 local businesses came together to form a consortium and sponsor CJFC. Rather than getting exposure for their businesses they decided to showcase a local charity and raise that charity’s profile.

When approached, we were over the moon that they had chosen CASS to promote on the front, especially with it being on the away kit; raising awareness of CASS across Scotland. We’d like to say a great big THANK YOU to Kings Homes, W.R. Accountants, Resolute Financial Advisers, Charlesfort and Kerr& Smith for choosing our charity. It’s a great way for us to increase awareness about the work we’re doing to help reduce social isolation in our local communities. These 5 businesses have really shown that community spirit can have such a big impact and we’re over the moon at the kindness they have shown us.

Social isolation can have a debilitating effect on health, both physically and mentally. Here at CASS, we’re trying to combat social isolation through a range of groups, events and programmes that all promote social inclusion, and of course fun!

“In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” – Unknown

Creating Smiles This Christmas!

As you all know, our all-ability drama group performs 2 shows a year; a summer show and a Christmas panto. This year, we have decided to use our Christmas panto as a way of raising awareness for our two Christmas events; our Christmas Gift delivery and our Christmas Day Dinner. 

Each year, we go out and deliver gifts to individuals in the community who are alone and need a wee smile at Christmas time. Along with help from Riverside Centre, we wrap gifts and deliver them in the week before Christmas. This is also made possible due to the kindness of Coalfield Community Transport who have donated a bus and driver for the day for the past 4 years. We ask the public for donations of gifts. It doesn’t have to be anything big – a wee cup and a pack of teabags is something that will undoubtedly make someone smile this Christmas. You can donate one gift or fifty, we’re happy for any and all donations! We also need your help for names – if you know someone in the community who could use a smile please let us know their details! 

This year we will be holding our 3rdChristmas Day Dinner, where individuals who would normally spend the day alone can join us for a 4-course meal and some company on Christmas Day. We’re now taking names for this Christmas, so if you yourself or someone you know would like to join us this Christmas, please get in touch! Our dinner isn’t means tested, we simply don’t want anyone to spend Christmas Day alone. If you would like to donate foodstuffs towards our Christmas Day Dinner, a list will be made available next month of items we need. 

At our Christmas Panto, you’ll be able to donate gifts for our Gift Delivery at the door on your way in. We’ll also have a referral sheet for anyone who would like to attend the Christmas Day Dinner. The cut off for both Gift delivery referrals and Christmas Dinner referrals will be FRIDAY 13thDECEMBER to allow us time to accommodate everyone.

If you would like any more information about our Christmas events or how to get involved, please contact –