I wear two hats when I write this blog of mine. First and foremost, I manage a small charity in a small Scottish town called Dumfries. Ours is a front door that opens onto the darker corners of the crumbling world that is Britain 2015. We hand out 5000 emergency food parcels a year in a town that is home to 50,000 souls. Then, as you can see from all of the book covers above, I am also a thriller writer. If you enjoy the blog, you might just enjoy the books. The link below takes you to the whole library in the Kindle store. They can be had for a couple of quid each.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022


It has to be said, we are living through very dark times. Every night the news is filled with images of genocide we all hoped would be forever consigned to the History Channel. 

Victorian levels of poverty are starting to stalk the land and before we know we'll all be spending a tenner to boil a kettle.

Finding a reason to be cheerful isn't an easy task.


Enough already.

The purpose of this missive is to inject a shaft of light into the gathering darkness.

When things are universally bleak, it is all too easy to feel helpless. Overwhelmed.

To batten down the hatches.

Fair enough.

And yet many of us feel the need to find a way to do something tangible. Something which makes things better, even if only in a small way.

Thankfully every day sees millions of people do exactly this when they put a tin into the foodbank collection box in their local supermarket.

A tin of beans makes a small difference. A million tins of beans makes a huge difference.

Which brings me to the photographs at the top of this blog.

Bullet points.

The Kupata Project is a small charity based in Dumfries and Galloway.

We raise money here in Scotland and we spend it in Uganda where the Covid 19 pandemic has taken abject poverty and turned it into desperate poverty.

What we do is really simple.

We provide sanitary pads to school girls. In a place where the average wage is £1 a day, sanitary pads are an unaffordable luxury for the vast majority of families.

Without sanitary pads, Ugandan girls miss up to 25% of their time in school.

Which basically makes their already limited life chances 25% worse.

We don't act like 'know it all' Westerners.

There's been more than enough of that kind of thing in Africa over the last few centuries.

We don't pretend to know better. Instead we solve a simple but significant problem.

The photos tell what we hope is an uplifting story. They paint a picture of a few people in Dumfries and Galloway making a direct and life changing difference to the lives of hundreds of girls in the heart of Africa.

The sums of money are not from the Bill Gates playbook.

£20 a month, £34 a month, £300 and £1000.

A school full of girls each.

A direct connection.

A vast difference made to many, many young lives.

And fair enough, in the midst of all the gathering darkness, it is only a small difference.

But when enough people put a tin of beans into a collection box it can soon add up to a million.

Anne and Bob and Maggie and Fiona and Richard and Suzie and Michelle and Shona and the members of Dalbeattie Rotary Club are separated from the girls in the photos by many thousands of miles. From rain swept Dumfries and Galloway to the green hills of Africa.

And yet the photos tell a story of a distance rendered obsolete. Instead there is a connection. An umbilical cord. Four schools adopted. A thousand lives changed.

A bright shaft of sunlight breaking through all the dark clouds.

If you would like to help out, you can find the link to the Kupata Project's online fundraising page via the link below. And if you would like to adopt a school for £20 a month, give me a call on 07770443483.

And by the way, putting the flags of Scotland and Uganda together on the posters wasn't our idea. It came from our young volunteers in Uganda.

What's not to like about that?