My Story 

The struggle to get young children to eat their vegetables is one that almost every parent can recognise, but before Jamie was helped by Home-Start Aberdeen she was faced with her daughter’s challenging behaviour and fussy eating, which was putting their whole family at risk.

My daughter Amelia has always been a fussy eater, it had become an everyday battle. I ended up so stressed by teatime that I couldn’t face cooking – especially when she wouldn’t eat it. Even family favourites like Spaghetti Bolognese or Shepherd’s Pie were being thrown off and I was ending up ordering takeaways three or four times a week.

With Amelia’s behaviour a simple trip to the park was a struggle, and we weren’t getting the activity we needed. Amelia ended up being overweight, but at the same time my son Finn was stuck at the same weight – I didn’t know how to cook for these different needs, and I felt completely alone.

I was scared to ask for help – I thought if I admitted that I was struggling then my children would get taken away. But Amelia’s school told me about Home-Start – they weren’t social services and I eventually agreed to approach them. 

I wanted to change my family’s life and Home-Start Aberdeen helped me to do it.

I met Fiona. She opened my eyes to new foods and a passion for cooking. I hadn’t known how to pick a few ingredients and turn them into a simple and nutritional meal. She helped me get Amelia to try new foods – we made a chart rewarding her for trying and tasting new foods, and she is getting more adventurous.Even cucumber and turkey burgers – I can now hide vegetables everywhere.

I didn’t realise how much joy I could get from food. I had been relying on takeaways, but now this money is going towards my children’s future. My kids are happier and healthier, and I’m a more confident mum.

Hearing that your daughter is obese is heart-breaking. But the changes that we’ve made have brought her BMI back down, and Finn is now gaining healthy weight. I knew things had really changed at Christmas when Amelia asked my mum not to give her lots of sweets – my six year-old is making her own healthy decisions.

Home-Start didn’t stop at our diet. Fiona had noticed that my partner was really struggling – the kids’ behaviour and a worrying diagnosis of fatty liver was a huge strain, and he had struggled to open up emotionally ever since the death of his grandfather. He was slowly drifting away from us, but Fiona helped him make and attend an appointment with his GP, and process his grief.

Every day as a family we are helping him get better – playing with the kids, eating well, getting out and about, and Amelia’s behaviour has massively improved as I am confident to correct her.

If I didn’t have Home-Start I honestly don’t know where I’d be today. Asking for help can seem like such a defeat. But it doesn’t mean that you’re a failure, or are defeated, or are a loser. You need to be brave to be vulnerable, especially if you want to change the future for your family.

There were tough times but when I see how happy my baby is, I know that’s thanks to me – and the changes Home-Start helped me make.”

Making a difference

Data gathered by Home-Start UK last year indicated that more than 90% of the families supported by Home-Start volunteers said they felt: 

  • More involved in their children’s development 
  • That their children’s emotional and physical health and wellbeing had improved 
  • Better able to manage their children’s behaviour 
  • Less isolated 
  • Less stressed 
  • More able to cope with day-to-day running of the house 
  • That they were using local services more.