Leading family support charity, Home-Start Aberdeen praised the efforts, contribution and impact that a group of senior girls at St Margaret’s School has had on the charity and local families it supports in the community.

Throughout the academic year the six girls participated in the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) Scotland, which is run by The Wood Foundation and supported by BP in the north-east.  This week YPI Scotland has been encouraging schools, students, charities and communities to celebrate the impact, contribution, passion and creativity young people have continued to demonstrate through the initiative, during a very challenging year.

Representing Home-Start Aberdeen the girls researched, created and presented an innovative presentation about the charity and its work to a panel of judges, successfully securing the winning prize of £3,000 to donate towards the charity’s work. 

On behalf of the group, Divinewill Nwugo said: “Working with Home-Start has been a thrilling and enlightening experience. It enabled my group and I to help a charity that was helping people who were struggling in these hard times and that is something that we will forever be proud of. We would like to give a huge thanks to Home-Start for giving us so much support throughout the duration of our YPI project and just giving us the opportunity to become better people in general.”

The funding award has assisted Home-Start Aberdeen with its cook and connect project giving families the support they needed to make healthy eating choices during lockdown. 

The £3,000 has directly helped the charity to supply families with weekly, fresh food boxes from local providers along with recipes to use with these ingredients.  Staff and volunteers then created and delivered instructional videos for families to access, as well as delivering live video cooking tutorials. 

The project had previously been delivered through one-to-one cooking sessions in families’ homes and group sessions in communities across the city, but the Covid-19 pandemic meant that both home visiting and group work had to be suspended.

Project Co-ordinator Fiona Cameron said, “Parents shared their experiences and told us that they were worried about being able to give their children tasty, healthy meals.  It was clear that there was still a real need for the project so we developed a whole new range of ways to make sure we could continue to give families the support they needed around healthy eating.”

Eleanor McEwan, general manager commented, “The girls were so enthusiastic and passionate.  They did a marvellous job with their research and presentation on Home-Start Aberdeen.  It’s such a positive and empowering initiative to be involved in, for all parties and a real privilege to watch young people grow, develop and make an impact, particularly through such a time of need.”

The girls have continued their connection with Home-Start Aberdeen, organising their own food drives and raising money for the charity, most recently completing the virtual Kiltwalk, and raising over £200.

Eleanor added: “This year has been particularly challenging with many already vulnerable families facing increased pressures from the pandemic.  We can’t thank the girls enough for all their support in fundraising and championing who we are and what we do.  They should be very proud of their achievements and contributions.”.

Since YPI was introduced to Scotland in 2008 by The Wood Foundation, the programme has engaged more than 200,000 young people who have taken responsibility for stewarding £4.5m of charitable giving. 

For over 30 years, Home-Start Aberdeen has been providing life-changing practical and emotional support to vulnerable families across the city with at least one child aged under five.  Starting in the home its approach is as individual as the people it helps.  There’s no judgement, just compassionate, confidential help from a network of trained volunteers, backed by expert staff.