Leading family support charity, Home-Start Aberdeen has received a £150,000 National Lottery award from The National Lottery Community Fund. 

The two year “Improving Lives” grant will fund the continuation of the role of a Volunteer Coordinator and enable the charity to recruit a new Family Support Coordinator. These roles will continue to develop the support offered to families experiencing difficulties in Aberdeen. The volunteer coordinator visits families and ensures that they are matched with a suitable home-visiting volunteer while the Family Support Coordinator will work one-to-one with families experiencing more severe difficulties.

It is expected that 460 family members and 70 volunteers will be involved in the work.

Home-Start Aberdeen provides life-changing support to families across the city through its local community network of trained volunteers.  Starting in the home its approach is as individual as the people it helps.  There’s no judgement, just compassionate, confidential help from volunteers, backed by expert staff. 

“Demand for our services increases year on year and we now support over 250 families in Aberdeen every year,” said Eleanor McEwan, general manager.  “We have 141 volunteers giving their skills, time and energy to help make life better for children and families.

“This year has been particularly challenging with many already vulnerable families facing increased pressures from the pandemic.

“On average it costs Home-Start Aberdeen £1,500 to support a family through the challenges they face until they can cope again.  Our volunteers are there for them to help the whole family and to reach children in their vital early years so they can have the best possible start in life. 

“That’s why this grant funding from The National Lottery Community Fund is significant in helping us continue to make a positive impact for families who need our help.”

The National Lottery Community Fund, Scotland Chair, Kate Still: said: “In these uncertain times our priority is to ensure that National Lottery money continues to flow to charities, voluntary sector organisations and grassroots groups .  I would like to congratulate Home-Start Aberdeen on their award, theirs is an important project and will support people now and in the future when they can physically come back together to make great things happen in their community.”

National Lottery players raise £30 million every week for good causes in the UK. The National Lottery Community Fund in Scotland is currently focusing its funding on those projects that are supporting organisations and communities to respond to the challenge of COVID-19.    

For over 30 years Home-Start Aberdeen has been supporting vulnerable families across the city to prevent family crisis and breakdown.  This support is usually provided via a home-visiting service where carefully selected and trained volunteers are there for families, visiting them in their own homes with compassionate, confidential help.  COVID-19 has meant that the charity has had to adapt how it delivers its services to families, continuing to support over 160 families remotely since the start of the pandemic.  These young families have at least one child under the age of five and are typically affected by social isolation, bereavement, relationship problems, illness, disability and financial hardship.