Local Charities working to #KeepThePromise in Aberdeen

08/07/2024

ACVO TSI, Aberdeen’s third sector interface, has this week launched a campaign to highlight and celebrate 6 city-based organisations working towards the aims of The Promise Scotland, a national initiative implemented to bring about change demanded by the findings published in the Independent Care Review in 2020.

As a result of the findings contained within the review, The Scottish Government pledged that the country would #KeepThePromise so that care experienced children and young people grow up loved, safe and respected.

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To meet these aims, organisations in Aberdeen and across the country have been working tirelessly to deliver the aims of The Promise, to ensure families and children get the support they need and deserve.

The #KeepThePromise in Aberdeen campaign gathers stories from local organisations – Home-Start Aberdeen, Befriend a Child, Touch of Love, Sport Aberdeen, Sunrise Partnership and ACVO TSI – in order to demonstrate the huge positive impact this work is having on the lives of people within our city’s communities.

The campaign, which can be viewed at www.acvo.org.uk/keepthepromise, features audio recordings and first-hand reflections from those working on the front line to deliver services to those most in need in Aberdeen.

Georgette Cobban, Senior Development Officer (The Promise) at ACVO TSI, said: “The project not only aims to raise awareness about how The Promise is being delivered in Aberdeen but also the need for support from the local community. We all have a collective responsibility to make things better for our children and young people.

“There are so many organisations working to support families across the city – this is a great opportunity to bring some of them together to promote how Aberdeen is keeping The Promise.”

Befriend a Child – building positive & trusting relationships with young people and their families

Befriend a Child operates various projects aimed at providing consistent, supportive relationships for children who have experienced challenging family circumstances.

Jean Gordon, Head of Operations at Befriend a Child, underscores the importance of these relationships: “Our befriending initiatives are crucial in providing children with trusting relationships that help build self-esteem, confidence, and future aspirations.

“We work with local volunteers and ask for a one-year commitment. During that time, trust is built up and self-confidence is boosted. Children look forward to their befrienders coming to take them out twice a month, or with our Intandem project, once a week.

“Imagine a young child standing at a window waiting for that volunteer to turn up; they can be the most consistent person in their lives.”

Louise Coleman, Family Support Coordinator at Befriend a Child, plays a critical role in ensuring that the charity’s efforts align with the principles of The Promise. Her work is deeply person-centred, addressing the unique challenges each family faces.

“My role is very varied. It has to be relevant to the family I’m working with and make a difference to them. One family might need signposting to services, others might need a listening ear. It’s about building that relationship and trust with them,” said Louise.

“The Promise is all about being heard and empowering people to make informed decisions about their own lives. Our work evolves from listening to care-experienced young people, taking on their concerns and experiences, and learning from them. They are the experts in their situations, and it’s crucial for us to listen.”

Home-Start Aberdeen – ensuring local families don’t face challenges alone

Home-Start Aberdeen works with families with young children and offers person-centred services aimed at breaking the cycles of social isolation, financial hardship, and mental health challenges.

About their work to #KeepThePromise in Aberdeen, Cameron McCready, Chief Executive of Home-Start Aberdeen said: “The core of our support is our Home Visiting Volunteers who meet with families, assess their level of need, and offer a friendly, accessible service.

“We know that early years are critically important for the development of children, and those little differences can add up to big changes over the course of their lives. We make sure that all of our services are free to access, as we want as few hurdles to entry as possible. It’s crucial that people can access support regardless of their background or circumstances.

“We want to get to people as early as possible, before difficult situations become crises. This proactive approach allows us to ensure that Home-Start Aberdeen makes a lasting impact which aligns with the principles of The Promise.”

Touch of Love – empowering young people and ensuring their voices are heard & valued

Touch of Love has been working within the aims of The Promise by supporting families and empowering young people, particularly from the city’s African communities. Since its inception, Touch of Love has grown into a place for New Scots to connect, offering support and advice that addresses the challenges faced by immigrant families and their children.

“Many young people struggle with dual identities. Children, just like adults, want to be heard. Their voices should be prioritised,” said Jane Akadiri, Founder of Touch of Love.

The Young Achievers Club at Touch of Love is youth-led, allowing the participants to decide on activities and initiatives, fostering a sense of ownership and empowerment.

“We guide them, but they come up with what they want to do. This approach not only empowers the young people but also builds their confidence and encourages them to embrace their identities.

“We want them to be proud of who they are, harness the strengths from both cultures, and contribute positively to their immediate Aberdeen community.”

“When we moved to Aberdeen in 2011, there was nothing like this for me and my child. Starting this has been rewarding, as my children have built confidence and learned to think out of the box. Despite the challenges, the satisfaction of seeing young people develop keeps me motivated and having the framework of The Promise Scotland to work with lets us know we are on the right track.”

Working to #KeepThePromise in Aberdeen

More information about The Promise in Aberdeen and stories from all organisations involved with the project can be viewed online at www.acvo.org.uk/keepthepromise.

ACVO TSI plan on further highlighting the project with a pop-up exhibition to be hosted at community locations around the city with details to follow soon.

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