News & Events

Sharing Books and Reading together

31.01.2020 - 14:40

Children are never too young to start sharing books and reading together …

The two little ones in the photo were snapped engrossed in sharing a book together at Home Link Family Support’s Midlothian Stay & Play Group (Thursdays, 10.00-11.00am at Newbattle Community Centre). We were all fascinated to observe the two engaged in the book and interacting with each other for a sustained period. Note the position of the book! Our weekly Stay & Play Sessions always include story & song, along with lots of opportunity for play.

There are many reasons why it is important to share books and read together with babies and young children:

  • Sharing books, talking about the pictures and cuddling up close together will help build a strong and loving relationship between parent and child; babies and young children love the sound of their parents’ voices.
  • Sharing books, reading together, talking and listening develops the child’s social, environmental and mathematical awareness, numeracy and language skills. It is a good way of encouraging two-way communication, supporting the child to develop an awareness of the world around them, learn new words and increase their vocabulary. 
  • Sharing books, reading together, talking and listening can help children learn how to understand and express their own thoughts and emotions.
  • Sharing books and reading together helps develop an awareness that pictures, symbols and the written word have meaning. Children learn how to handle books e.g. to start at the front, turn pages in order and work through the book looking at the pictures & reading from left to right.
  • Sharing books and reading together, will support your child as they continue to grow, develop and learn.

Remember, it is never too early to begin sharing books and reading together!

Useful websites: The Book Trust ; Scottish Book Trust

Super Gran!

27.01.2020 - 14:19

A mother of 2 boys speaks about the experience of having a volunteer ’Super Gran’ to visit once a week:

“Any parent or carer will know that having a child definitely changes your life and routine many wonderful ways.  Having a new addition to your family can require juggling lots of tasks and having an extra pair of hands can make such a huge difference.  Those extra pair of hands for me came from Home Link Family Support – we were paired with a wonderful volunteer who became a huge lifeline. 

Our volunteer or as we used to call her ‘Super Gran’ or ‘Grandma Maria’ would come in to help me with my two children for a couple of hours every week. 

No task was ever too big – I can’t actually ever remember her saying ‘no’ to anything.  The key thing was that I trusted her – within the year we developed a good relationship and I got to see that she truly cared. We spoke about lots of things from food to music, travel and family.

She worked very closely with my little boy who has additional support needs.  She played games with him; taught him how to use toys; helped with his feeding and much more.  At times she would help watch both my children (who were 4 years and under 1 year) while I did some chores around the house.  Knowing I had those 2 hours every week to quickly get a few things done was such a massive help.  Every Tuesday the boys would wait for her to arrive and greet her by the door.  She was so mild mannered, friendly and kind - she would sing to them and they loved seeing her.  She almost became part of our family.

Having a child with additional needs has extra challenges – but this was never a challenge for Maria.  She saw the child before the disability.  She would help me to get to appointments or play with the boys into the garden.

What blew my mind was the fact she was doing this for free.  I was always taught that nothing in life comes for free. However, Home Link Family Support gave this service to my family for free.  Home Link harnessed their skills as a charity organisation to bring together volunteers and developed these wonderful individuals’ skills to become volunteers to support families, such as mine.  Words can’t express how grateful I am. 

I hope that Home Link Family Support can continue to do their amazing work – supporting children and their families.

Thank you J”

Occupational Therapy within Home Link and the Third Sector

16.12.2019 - 14:46

As I approach the end of my time at Home Link and reflect on my experience, I realise the value of Occupational Therapy (OT) embedded within the third sector. 

For those of you who don’t know, Occupational Therapy is a unique profession which focuses on providing practical support to people and empowering them to overcome barriers that prevent them from doing activities (or occupations) that they find important.  These occupations could be essential day to day tasks such as self-care, work/school, or leisure/play.

Traditionally, Occupational Therapists have worked mainly within the health and education sector.  However, according to The College of Occupational Therapists, a growing number of OTs are now found in other innovative places – such as children and families charity services.

My time at Home Link has enabled me to see first-hand the value of Occupational Therapists working in these types of settings. As Bergson (a fellow OT) puts it, “We are active problem solvers, dual trained in both physical and mental health, take a strengths-based approach and naturally work across the health, social care, and third sectors.” These traits are all of great importance to clients, who often have complicated backgrounds and multiple barriers preventing them from maintaining their health and wellbeing.

At Home Link I have worked with families who struggle to access community services and feel they are stigmatised by society. They are balancing social and economic disadvantage whilst trying to raise their children to grow and develop into positive and confident adults. Families can become easily overwhelmed by their circumstances which can lead to breakdowns in their family systems and challenges in completing basic living skills.

My role at this organisation has been developing since I started here, but with my Occupational Therapy hat on I have been able to support children and families to develop daily routines, have worked with them to set meaningful and realistic goals, have supported families to access services and resources, and have empowered them to begin to engage and balance all the different occupations in their lives. In its entirety, I have helped families build confidence in themselves and confidence in each other, increasing their wellbeing and quality of life.  

My work at Home Link has truly proven that there is a huge role for Occupational Therapy in third sector organisations. Occupational Therapists have core skills which can support the prevention of crisis and positively make a difference to marginalised groups in society. I hope in the future, professionals like myself will continue to seek out roles that are non-traditional in the OT world. In doing so, we can continue to serve the people that are desperately needing active Occupational Therapy support.



Bergson, K. (2016, February 3). There's a place for occupational therapy beyond councils and the NHS. Retrieved from