A COMPANY rooted in the Wee County is funding winter clothing packs for 20 young people in need as part of a charity appeal.

VKY Intelligent Automation is supporting the Coats for Kids Appeal by Radio Forth's in conjunction with the Cash for Kids charity.

The appeal came as a quarter of local children are said to be missing vital warm clothing.

The cause is close to the heart of Alex Croucher, the company's managing director living in Menstrie, as a friend's family once received help from the charity in their time of need and the local man has been a keen fundraiser ever since.

Alex, whose company specialises in business process automation including machine learning and artificial intelligence solutions, said: "Even if we don't get the much-hyped terrible winter, we will definitely have several months of cold rain and wind.

"Kids still need to get to school and be outside and must have winter clothing.

"Not having these basic essentials impacts the physical health of children and can also lead to bullying and feelings of shame.

"This is likely to have a detrimental effect on their mental health.

"It's important for us to have a positive impact on the communities in which we live and work.

"Being a small company, this feels like a good way we can make a positive contribution to 20 young lives."

VKY trades out of Clackmannanshire and is headquartered in Glasgow. The charity appeal covers the Wee County as well as the Lothians, Fife and Falkirk.

Clothing vouchers will be provided by Cash for Kids to social workers who made applications on behalf of children who are in need of coats and the likes.

Local MSP Keith Brown congratulated the effort and said: "There is always a great deal of demand for this initiative and it's fantastic that Alex and his business are providing support that will help local young people access new winter clothing, giving a welcome relief from pressure for families who are struggling."

Victoria Hendry, charity manager at Radio Forth, added: "The children receiving these vouchers for winter clothing are living in extremely disadvantaged circumstances.

"We are always inundated with applications as part of this campaign and this donation from VKY Intelligent Automation will absolutely help us meet the demand.

"By giving these young people new winter clothing, it will not only increase their self-esteem but also helps to remove pressure from parents that may be struggling."