of families who needed help with parenting skills told us our support had helped with this.
said we had helped with parental wellbeing.
said we had helped with children’s wellbeing.
said we had helped improve family management.
Watch Graham’s video and listen to his story to learn how Home-Start has made a massive difference in his life.
The pandemic and the lockdown meant that we had to make very rapid changes to the way we delivered our one-to-one support. Our volunteers and coordinators were not able go into family homes so we had to find new ways to keep in touch including texts emails and phone calls, but we quickly moved to using video calls wherever possible.
This made everybody feel more connected and meant we were able to see and speak to children as well as their parents. When restrictions began to ease in the autumn, we were able to meet families outside. Meeting their volunteer in person again was a significant moment for many families – for some it was the first person they had seen outside of their immediate family since the beginning of the pandemic.
It was difficult to go back into lockdown in December 2020, but everyone was better prepared for this second time round. Throughout the year our priority was to make sure our services could flex to meet the needs of families and operate safely within the restrictions in place at any time.
Cook ‘n’ Connect
One of the biggest causes of stress and anxiety for parents during the lockdown was being able to provide their children with healthy meals and snacks. For some families, there were several barriers that made this difficult for them – lack of money; inability to access healthy food; lack of cooking skills and confidence; poor mental health; and increased isolation.
In response to this we created our project, a structured 12-week supporting parents to provide a healthy diet for their children.
- Fortnightly delivery of food packs including meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, store cupboard ingredients
- Recipes in written, easy read, and video formats, matching the ingredients in food packs.
- Provision of kitchen equipment packs, children’s cooking packs and weaning packs
- One-to-one and small group video cooking sessions
- Access to a private Facebook group, allowing parents, volunteers, and staff to connect, share recipes and offer advice and tips to each other.
- Provision of plants and equipment to allow families to grow food at home
Throughout the project we supported 36 families who benefited significantly from the project:
of families experienced improved wellbeing.
of families experienced improved knowledge / skills in cooking.
of families experienced improved affordability for healthy food.
Our well-established Rising Stars group was able to move quickly to online delivery at the start of the first lockdown. We found that Zoom was the preferred platform for families and we were able to help some to access devices and broadband to make sure they were able to join us every week.
Our priorities for Rising Stars remained the same as they had been before the pandemic:
- To provide opportunities for children to play, learn and socialise together
- To support good infant emotional wellbeing through strong parent-child relationships
- To encourage and help parents to support their children’s early learning and development
- To improve parents’ mental health, confidence and self-esteem
- To build family resilience
Our weekly sessions included all the elements that make Rising Stars such a positive experience for children and their parents.
Although not the same as meeting in a face-to-face group, Zoom Rising Stars gave families the chance to connect with others whilst providing parents with some welcome ideas for keeping their children entertained during the long months of life in lockdown.
Evening Stars was a new initiative started in May 2020 at the request of parents in Rising Stars. Parents told us they were feeling isolated, anxious, and fearful and many felt their mental health was being impacted by the pandemic. They wanted a safe place to meet together to share their experiences, good and bad, and to give each other encouragement, advice and support. The group proved to be a lifeline for parents during this very challenging time.
Over the the year we supported 28 families and 50 children who benefited significantly from the Rising Stars and Evening Stars projects:
of families felt less isolated.
of families experienced an increase in confidence.
of families experienced an increase in their child’s wellbeing.
Offering a wide range of high-quality items at very reasonable prices, the Home-Start Aberdeen shop raises funds to support our work with families.
Because of the pandemic and lockdown restrictions, we were only able to open the shop for 6 weeks during 2020/21, between October and Christmas 2020. Those six weeks were extremely busy though, demonstrating the crucial role the charity retail sector will play in the long road back to recovery from the pandemic.
“2020 was a tough year for us but it was lovely to be open, even for just a few weeks and we were delighted to welcome old and new customers. It was clear that a lot of people had suffered financially because of the pandemic and that they really needed shops like ours, where they could buy good quality items at affordable prices.”
Karen Milne, Shop Manager
Fundraising and Supporters
Allan Leslie – London marathon runner
S5 pupils at St Margaret’s School
Christmas All Wrapped Up Appeal
“I have given the kids their coats and gloves and put other bits away for Christmas, A was beaming with her jacket she is so happy with it. She feels really proud and smart in it”