Media Release: Aberdeen charity urges volunteers to give families a helping hand

FOLLOWING on from Volunteers Week, a celebration of the amazing contribution millions of people make out of their own busy lives each year,  one Aberdeen-based charity is hoping that individuals might be inspired to sign up for it’s next volunteers training programme.

Home-Start Aberdeen, which has been shortlisted in the enterprising communities category of the Grampian Awards for Business Excellence 2014, currently helps around 200 families each year and 500 children.

It started life as a small project in Mastrick 27 years ago and has become a busy city-wide service offering emotional and practical support in the home to families who are dealing with isolation, ill health, disability, depression, domestic violence and addiction.

The charity currently has a team of just over 100 volunteers, most of whom are parents themselves, who make weekly visits to their allocated families.

Georgette Cobban, of Home-Start Aberdeen, said: “Volunteers are not home helps or babysitters, rather they reassure parents, encourage them to use local resources, play with the children and help them to get out and about by taking them to appointments, the shops or to the park.”

Volunteers attend a preparation course, usually one session per week for eight weeks, and, on successful completion are assigned a coordinator with whom they meet on a six-weekly basis for support and supervision.

Ongoing training is held at least three times a year to enhance volunteers’ personal development. The charity takes great care when matching a volunteer to a family in order to achieve the best possible relationships and outcomes.

Home-Start Aberdeen has been shortlisted for the awards along with Aberdeen Sports Village and CLAN, which, like Home-Start, would be unable to provide its vital service to the community without a team of dedicated volunteers.

Ms Cobban added: “We are delighted to have been recognised by the judging panel and we hope that this recognition will encourage more people to volunteer. Given the current growth in demand for our services, we will require a significant number of new recruits over the next couple of years.”

The awards ceremony takes place on Thursday 26 June and finalists in the competition, which is run by Enterprise North East Trust (Enterprise), along with headline sponsors RBS – Ahead For Business, consists of 28 contenders in the 10 award categories, including young up-and-coming businesses, family owned enterprises and long established companies in the Grampian area.

For further information on volunteering opportunities with Home-Start Aberdeen, call 01224 693545, or with CLAN call 01224 647000.

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