CRIME writer Ian Rankin has voiced his support for a fundraising appeal launched to save an Edinburgh charity. Kindred, which supports the families of children with disabilities, needs to raise £40,000 by the end of the month to prevent its doors from closing.

The organisation has been providing an “invaluable” service for more than 25 years but is facing a funding deficit of up to £80,000 because of unexpected cuts in grants.

Kindred is in talks with Edinburgh City Council and the Scottish Government over the rest of the funding required to secure its future, including the jobs of two-thirds of its staff and its team at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children (RHSC).

The charity is led by parents of children with disabilities and Rankin said it delivers an invaluable service for families of severely ill and/or disabled children in Scotland, providing help, support and advocacy in stressful situations where parents often do not know where to turn.“Kindred is a charity that’s been close to my heart ever since my son was born with special needs more than 20 years ago,” the author said. “I know first-hand the difference Kindred makes to families. With your help, they will continue to flourish and to offer support to those who need it.”

Christine Wright, whose 10-year-old son was mown down by a stolen motorbike on Ferry Road last month, said she could not have coped without Kindred’s emotional and practical support. “Kindred has been amazing at one of the worst times of my life,” she said.

“When Cameron was admitted to the high dependency unit at RHSC, our family was plunged traumatically into a living nightmare of shock, fear and anger coupled with a high level of media and police involvement.

“Kindred came along just as I was ready to crack.

“I was tired, scared and worn out.

“The staff let me talk and cry but, most importantly, they listened. We really couldn’t have coped without Kindred’s emotional support.”

The charity relies in part on short term grants from charitable trusts but has been unable to renew them due to cuts in the trusts’ own funding.

It is now in urgent need of money to continue its work addressing a wide range of issues for families. They include coming to terms with their children’s health issues, securing specialist provision at school, providing emotional support to parents and siblings, assisting families if they face financial difficulties, housing and mental health issues.

A number of professionals have backed the charity and backed its appeal for financial support.

“Kindred provides invaluable support for the families of the young people that we see in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service Learning Disability team,” said Dr Maia Forrester. “One of the families I look after has a 16-year-old boy who has a moderate-severe learning disability, autism spectrum disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

“Together, they severely impair his functioning and put a constant high level of strain on his family and on health, social care and educational services. The most fundamental factor underpinning his health and wellbeing is for his family to feel supported and understood, and for all the professionals involved to be able to communicate well with his family and with each other. Support from Kindred has facilitated all of these.”

Adam O’Brien, a parent and a pupil support manager with Edinburgh City Council said: “Kindred has a unique status as a charity working in the field of additional support needs in terms of the great size and breadth of its casework, its long experience and its contribution to national policy. Kindred provides an immensely valuable role in building resilience in families at a time of crisis.”