News & Events

"When I heard my five year old say ‘Mummy’ for the first time. . .

28.08.2019 - 11:09

“When I heard my five year old say ‘Mummy’ for the first time, it touched my heart . . .  Home Link’s Support gave me confidence as a mother.”

Emma was aged 4 when her family were referred to Home Link Family Support. She was in her pre- school year, and had a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Emma’s Mum, Grace, said that she was feeling isolated after receiving this diagnosis. Emma said “bye bye”, but did not use many other words to communicate.

The family was visited by an Early Years Coordinator, and supported to set some personal goals. Grace’s main priority was supporting Emma’s communication development. The Early Years Coordinator then visited the family on a regular basis. The Coordinator carried out Bookbug Home sessions with Emma and her Mum. The sessions were adapted to meet Emma’s communication needs. For example, when singing nursery rhymes, we paused for Emma to fill in the gaps. At first, Emma took a long time to do this, and found it difficult to join in. “Twinkle twinkle little star” was the first song that she started to join in with. We also played games and used Signalong signs to encourage Emma to communicate and take turns. Grace continued these activities with Emma during the week. In particular she did a lot of singing with her.

After we had been working together for a few months, there was a dramatic change in Emma’s development. She started to use several words to communicate for the first time. She became very familiar with all the Bookbug songs, and joined in with them on the visits. She developed her ability to look at books, and her concentration abilities. We spent some time going out in the garden and creating opportunities to use language when playing outside. Emma’s language skills really took off!

Grace said: “The support from Home Link Family Support was really awesome, and so inspiring – it really helped me and gave me confidence as a mother. The first time Emma said “Mummy,” it touched my heart and I felt a new connection with her. I was able to relate to the Coordinator as she had a friendly approach. I felt free to express myself and to open up. I always looking forward to every visit, and Emma really looks forward to it too.”

As Early Years Coordinator visiting this family, it has been a privilege to be part of their journey and to see Emma making such amazing progress. Grace has been inspiring in the way she has set a personal goal and worked towards this, and has really developed her confidence as a Mum.

(Names have been changed)



Starting the day with a fist bump, a hug, a high five or a handshake . . .

01.08.2019 - 10:19

A blog by Julie Macleod, Systemic Practitioner.

As part of Home Link’s commitment to the Newbattle Community I offered my services to the Summer Programme at the Newbattle Learning Community’s Summer Programme 2019 working with children and families and I’m so glad I did. 

It’s an ambitious programme bringing together the community to have fun in the summer.  This includes families and workers from social services health, education, police, fire, third sector, private sector, and volunteers of all ages.

Some families make their own way and some are picked up in the community by our mini buses, making sure that everyone who wants to attend can.  When the families come in they are greeted in a friendly manner with the choice of a fist bump, a hug, a high five or a handshake.  Everyone seemed to enjoy this way of connecting and I overheard one parent say that it was the best hug they had had in a long time!

Once they are through the door they sign up for activities and both parents and children get the chance to have a break from one another as well as do activities together.   There’s a variety of activities on offer for children of all ages, for example, Judo, Yoga, Outdoor games, Zumba, Swimming and Skating.   Some of the children were trying out activities for the first time!  There’s also a Bairnzone (crèche) where parents can play together with their younger children.  This allows parents to take part in 1-1 sessions with health and wellbeing practitioners or attend group sessions.  All activities are staffed so that children can be supported to get the most out of them.

The Parentzone provides a space for parents to sit down and have a cuppa and talk to each other, making connections with other parents in their community, sharing difficulties and their expertise with one another.  There are also structured activities for parents to reflect on and learn about child development and different parenting approaches.  I spoke with a group of parents about how they keep their ‘emotional cup’ full so that they can ‘fill up’ their children’s cups  when they need it,  we realised that there were many similarities in what both adults and children need to feel well, and the things that push our buttons and make us feel drained.   

At the end of the day there are family activities where kids and their parents can have fun cooking, baking, crafting or swimming together!  Bringing so many people together can be challenging and at times emotions run high but the programme provides an understanding, supportive environment where people are supported rather than judged.  There is a belief that everyone is doing the best they can in their circumstances and this applies to the staff the children and the parents!

If funding allows I’ll be back next year with bells on!  Having fun together as a family is vital when it comes to developing relationships and creating family stories and memories of the good times you have had together.  I certainly feel that I’ve made stronger connections with everyone involved and I’ll remember the happiness and joy that I witnessed in staff, parents and children alike.

New Stay and Play group in Pilton

19.07.2019 - 12:30

Free drop-in group for under threes and their parents.  Starts Aug 19th.

Come and join us for play and snacks