Charity racing ahead with London Marathon places

Leading family support charity Home-Start Aberdeen is thrilled to have secured seven charity places in the 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon.
Home-Start Aberdeen will have two runners participating in the event in London and five who will run locally here in Aberdeen as part of the new virtual format of the event.Read More

Walkers for Home-Start Aberdeen raising funds in tartan

A volunteer who is raising funds for leading Aberdeen family support charity, Home-Start Aberdeen, is encouraging and seeking others to take part in the virtual Kiltwalk this weekend and help raise vital funds for local families.

The Kiltwalk which had to cancel all of its 2020 events due to the coronavirus pandemic, launched the “virtual” Kiltwalk weekend to be held over three days from Friday 11th to Sunday 13th September to give fundraisers an opportunity to get involved in the event and still raise money for charities that need their help.

Home-Start volunteer, Karen Smith who had signed up for the Aberdeen Kiltwalk, due to have been held in June, participated in her own garden challenges until the Kiltwalk could be held. She has raised over £3,000 to support the charity and is now aiming to raise further funds by walking 5 miles along the Aberdeen Kiltwalk route this Sunday 13th September. She will be joined by Donata Beccuti, another Home-Start volunteer and Anastasia Milne, one of the charity’s supported families.

Anastasia and her family first came into contact with Home-Start in 2018, after the birth of her premature son of 28 + 6 weeks. When he was discharged home from the hospital with oxygen support, Anastasia got to the point she realised she could no longer cope on her own.

“Admitting I was depressed and isolated realising that I really needed help and asking for it was the most difficult thing at that moment.

“My health visitor told me about Home-Start and I had no idea how my life would change for the better. I received not only support, but also real care. Home-Start helped me in many aspects, I took a cooking course, a course in baby massage, our son attended a group for mothers and children, where I could happily watch his development and acquire communication skills with other children. I met other wonderful mums, amazing Home-Start workers and absolutely brilliant volunteers who are doing such a tremendous job of helping and supporting us all.

“Thanks to Home start, I realised that it is absolutely normal to ask for help when you are in a difficult situation and how wonderful it is to realise that there are people who are always ready to help and offer support.

“My kids and I have taken part in the Kiltwalk for several years, which gives us the opportunity not only for an active lifestyle, but also to support Home-Start and give something back.”

Donations towards their fundraising target can be made here:

The money Karen has already raised has helped to support the running of a weekly virtual group Rising Stars which has connected families, volunteers and staff to take part remotely in activities such as arts and crafts, songs and rhymes, books and stories.

“These sessions have been a life line to families struggling to cope.
“We have been able to provide families with resources to allow them to fully participate in the group, including craft and activity packs, food and recipes for cooking sessions as well as books for shared reading sessions.

“As well as sessions for the whole family, we have run sessions specifically for parents. The main focus of these sessions have been for parents to support and learn from each other, sharing their experiences and challenges, said Eleanor McEwan, general manager.
“Over the virtual weekend we’re inviting you to get your tartan on and take on any Kiltwalk inspired challenge you wish from home. Go for a walk of any length you wish, cycle or even jump on a trampoline. It can be anything,” added Eleanor.

The charity has been provided with 20 free places by The Royal Bank of Scotland and places are still available for anyone wanting to register and fundraise for Home-Start Aberdeen. Registering will enable any funds raised to receive a 50% top up from The Hunter Foundation, helping the charity to support more families with young children in Aberdeen who need help.

Anyone interested in registering to take part on behalf of the charity should get in touch with fundraising volunteer Karen Smith at
For over 30 years the charity 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 the families (over 200 adults and children) it supports. 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.

70-year old Charity Volunteer Skydive Mission

An Aberdeen grandmother had been gearing up to do a skydive at the weekend to mark turning 70 and to raise money for local charity Home-Start Aberdeen.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the skydive has been postponed, but Jean, who has been a Home-Start volunteer for 4 years is encouraging the public to get behind her and show support for local families who are struggling.

Jean, who says she has always been full of adventure and inclined to do the unexpected, decided last year that she wanted to do a skydive to raise money for Home-Start on or around her 70th birthday.

Although disappointed not to be able to complete it this weekend Jean is committed to doing the skydive next June 2021: “I’ll just have to make it a celebration for my 71st,” she said. “I was so looking forward to it, although I think my daughter is probably a bit relieved! I’ve done a fair share of wild things in the past including abseiling off buildings so my family should be used to it by now!”

With a 30-year career in elderly care Jean is no stranger to working with people and sharing the highs and lows of life, whilst volunteering in some capacity all her life. For 4 years Jean has volunteered with Home-Start Aberdeen, both in its charity shop and as a home-visiting volunteer.

Home-Start Aberdeen works to build strong families and happy children in local communities through the provision of trained, supportive volunteers who visit families with young children in their own homes, helping them to deal with challenges they face.

This support is usually provided via a home-visiting service but the charity has adapted this support since Covid-19 to ensure it can continue to support families appropriately.

Their support provides crucial help for struggling young families who are typically affected by social isolation, bereavement, relationship problems, illness, disability and financial hardship.

“I’ve supported several families in that time, all whom have faced different challenges. I’ve found the restrictions Covid-19 has brought frustrating. I’m used to being so busy and helpful, and I’ve felt at quite a loss from all of that. I’ve missed seeing the families I support, especially the little ones who often refer to me as “Grandma Jean”. Yes, we’ve talked on the phone and video message but it’s not the same.” Jean adds.

“Many families were facing difficult challenges which are now exaggerated by the pandemic. If I can help in small ways by being there for them and fundraising to support the work of the charity, then I feel like I can still make a difference. It’s a privilege to be able to help families and children, even in a small way and it brings me so much joy.”

Eleanor McEwan, general manager for Home-Start Aberdeen said: “Jean is always surprising us and is a real character. It’s an absolute pleasure to have her as one of our family support and shop volunteers. We were excited, and maybe a little nervous, when Jean said she was going to do a skydive for her 70th birthday and raise money for us. I know just how disheartened she has been not being able to do it this year as planned, as well as all the other birthday celebrations she has had to reschedule but we’re behind her all the way to 2021 when we look forward to cheering her on.”

Anyone who wants to support and sponsor Jean can make a donation to the Home-Start Aberdeen emergency appeal on JustGiving here

2.6 Mini Marathon Challenge

Home-Start Aberdeen saw a team of families, volunteers and staff take part in a 2.6 Mini Marathon challenge in May.

Eighteen adults and children took part to raise awareness and funds for the charity by walking, cycling and scooting 2.6 miles a day over 10 days to clock up a marathon distance of 26 miles each.

Combined the team raised over £1,000 whilst travelling over 468 miles, the equivalent distance of travelling from Aberdeen to Belfast and back.

One participant, 6 year-old Katie Buckley whose mum is a volunteer for Home-Start Aberdeen, cycled 26 miles on her new bike and raised £570.

Angela Buckley, Katie’s mum said: “Katie loved it! It was her birthday the week the challenge was announced, and she got her new ‘blue’ bike. She just started whizzing all over the place and was desperate to take up the challenge. It did wonders for her confidence cycling and she was so pleased to raise money to help other families.”

“I’ve been a volunteer for Home-Start for two years now and its been really hard not seeing the families I support during the Covid-19 lockdown and restrictions.

Families have been struggling and it’s been a very challenging time for many. We’ve continued to support families remotely as best we can to be there for them but I can’t wait to be able to see them properly again.

Local charity sets 2.6 marathon challenge

An Aberdeen NHS worker who had trained to run the London Marathon for local charity Home-Start Aberdeen is encouraging supporters and the public to take part in the charity’s “Mini Marathon” campaign as part of the 2.6 Challenge in the Save the UK’s Charities appeal.

A team of staff and volunteers from Home-Start Aberdeen are now joining efforts with runner Allan Leslie to each walk 2.6 miles a day for 10 days and raise funds as part of the national 2.6 Challenge campaign. In lieu of the 40th London Marathon, the organisers have been encouraging the public to take on a challenge of their choosing based around the number 2.6 or 26 and fundraise for their chosen charity.

Allan has already raised a staggering £3,000 to date for Home-Start Aberdeen during his marathon journey. He had been training over 30 miles a week over the past few months and completed the Inverness Half Marathon on 8th March.

Following government guidelines on exercise and social distancing Allan and the Home-Start team will now be completing their marathon distances, on their own or with family, by either walking, jogging or running 2.6 miles a day for 10 days.

Individuals and/or families can get involved and run, walk, skip, ride or scoot 2.6 miles for 10 days and fundraise using the charity’s unique 2.6 Challenge Just Giving fundraising page:

“The 2.6 Challenge has given us a great opportunity to get behind Allan, thank him for all his support and fundraising efforts,” said Eleanor McEwan, general manager. “He has trained and fundraised tirelessly over the past few months and I know, like so many of the 44,000 people due to run the London marathon, how disappointed he is not to have been able to run the race as planned. It’s not what was in anyone’s plan but hopefully we can help and play a part in generating further fundraising and donations together.

“The 2.6 mini marathon challenge also helps us to encourage and motivate the families we support to get involved and get active in a time which we know is taking its toll on families’ wellbeing.”

“We have adapted our services and continue to provide these remotely to nearly 80 families across Aberdeen as well as supporting 34 of those families with crisis support. Over the past few weeks we’ve been seeking several funding opportunities to support the continuation of our services through this difficult and challenging time and to replace funds we are losing due to coronavirus.”

Allan added: “I’m disappointed about the postponement of the London marathon but overwhelmed with the support I’ve had from donors, family, friends and colleagues throughout to raise £3,000, which is double my original target. I’m thrilled to be taking part in Home-Start Aberdeen’s 2.6 mini marathon challenge and look forward to getting to run the actual race and make all my supporters proud.”

For over 30 years Home-Start Aberdeen has provided crucial help for struggling young families, who have at least one child under the age of 5. This includes support for families affected by social isolation, bereavement, relationship problems, illness, disability and financial hardship.

For more information on The 2.6 Challenge, visit or on Home-Start Aberdeen visit

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