News & Events

We join boxers, accountants and a school to make a happy Christmas for families

22.12.2016 - 16:43

This week 2 charities have joined forces with a Boxing Gym, a Chartered Accountants and Business Adviser and an Edinburgh School to ensure that Lothian families don’t miss out this Christmas.  They have been collecting, buying and distributing hundreds of toys and food parcels.

Local charity Home Link Family Support made a list of 45 families who were struggling to afford Christmas this year.

Scott Moncrieff staff members chose a family and went shopping for them, buying amazing presents: scooters, books, farms, dolls and trucks.  Freshstart collected up a large van full of gifts and delivered them to Home Link Family Support’s office where their co-ordinators were ready to deliver them to individual families across Edinburgh and Midlothian.  The presents are deliberately delivered unwrapped but with plenty of paper and sellotape, so that the parents will get the satisfaction of wrapping the gifts themselves and know what each child is getting.

This year Home Link also received fantastic gifts via Cody’s Xmas Toy Box organised by 8 yr old Cody McManus and Holyrood Boxing Gym.

And just to put the icing literally on the cake – Edinburgh Academy gathered donations of gorgeous festive food – cakes, chocolates, pies and juices for 20 Christmas hampers.

Now the goodies are all delivered to the families ready for wrapping for Christmas Day.

Most of the families had no idea that they were getting anything and they said:

  • I have been really struggling this year and was worried about what I would be able to provide for the wee one’s Christmas.  I can now look forward to seeing his face one Christmas morning.
  • Massive thank you - totally unexpected. Had me in tears with shock and kindness. Didn’t expect it at all – it was a complete surprise. I didn’t think I deserved it. I’d been feeling like that no one has cared recently such as friends, family with selfishness – so to actually think there is actually people out there that can care for me and other families in need has made me realise how caring, wonderful and nice amazing people there are out there.  For which I’m very, very grateful and thank you so much – it will make it extra special for me and my wee boy on Christmas Day. Thank you from the bottom of my heart – it was nice to cry happy tears for once. I can’t wait to open them and see my wee boy’s face.
  • From Mum and Dad of a very new baby:  Thank you so much for the food hamper, it’s great.  Really takes the pressure off and means we don’t need to take the baby out in the cold to shop for food.  Brilliant.  Thanks
  • Thank you so much for the six gifts for our children.  We are blown away by the kindness and generosity and it has been a big help for us,
  • Thank you so much for the lovely presents. P will love the Frozen Scooter and F will love the building blocks.  These gifts have been such a  great help.
  • Thank you so much for the gift.  G will be thrilled when ‘Santa’ brings it.  Your generosity and community spirit are to be commended
  • Thanks so much for the food. It’s really kind.  My wee girl will be well chuffed when she comes home from school!

Organisations involved:

  • Edinburgh Academy
  • Fresh Start is an Edinburgh based charity helping people who have been homeless get established in their new home. Working in partnership with volunteers and organisations from a broad section of the community, we deliver a range of services that provide the practical and social support that help people resettle successfully.
  • Scott-Moncrieff is one of Scotland’s leading independent firms of chartered accountants and business advisers.
  • Cody’s Xmas Toy Box is an appeal organised by Holyrood Boxing Gym in which 8 yr old boxer Cody Mcmanus raised an incredible £2840 to buy toys for disadvantaged children.





Massive Christmas present donation

01.12.2016 - 14:40

Santa's definitely coming to a lot of families in Edinburgh and Midlothian who weren't going to be able to afford much this Christmas.

Thanks to heaps and heaps of donated presents from Scott Moncrieff business advisers and accountants, organised by Freshstart.

We gave them the anonymised details of families and Scott Moncrieff staff picked a family and went shopping on their behalf. They bought loads! Dolls, cars, baby gyms, even a ball pool.

The presents will be delivered to families in Edinburgh and Midlothian over the next few weeks. Merry Christmas!

Launch collage

Launch event for our new services

30.11.2016 - 10:43

On Tues 29 Nov we held a launch for our new services to support families in Edinburgh.  With inspiring addresses from Sarah Burns, SE Edinburgh Locality, Gordon McLean Acting GIRFEC Lead Officer for City of Edinburgh Council, and children's author Vivian French.

We were joined by associated organisations supporting children and families: Bookbug, Peeple, Advice ShopChildren 1st, Action for Sick Children, Home Start, Sleep Scotland, Teens +, Befriending Networks, Circle, One Parent Families, Multicultural Family Base,    

Click here for HLFS video

An HLFS press release on the day read:

Vital Service for Families to Reach across Edinburgh after Funding Boost

A charity that provides vital help to support struggling families with young children has been given a massive funding boost that will allow it offer services across the whole of Edinburgh for the first time.

Home Link Family Support – which celebrated its 30th anniversary this year – has received £500,000 from the Big Lottery Fund which will fund the expansion of its early years (antenatal) home visiting service for the five years.

The grant – the biggest in the organisations history - will also fund the recruitment of two Early Years Coordinators to enhance the Family Support Service in Edinburgh, which helps parents from all social backgrounds who may have various problems such as health, depression or financial issues.

The charity, which covers both Edinburgh and Midlothian, has now launched a drive to attract more volunteers to support its growing workload – offering the opportunity of a rewarding experience which brings high levels of personal benefits.

Manager Paula Swanston said she feels truly privileged to have staff and volunteers who put in endless commitment and belief into what they are trying to achieve.

She said: “We have over30 years of success delivering family support in the south of the city. But with the Big Lottery funding we will now have the capacity to reach and support more children and their families; helping tackle issues of isolation and children’s wellbeing though our early intervention work. “

“This grant is a massive show of confidence in the great work we are doing and have been doing – much of it largely unknown.

“The majority of our service is delivered by a dedicated, highly trained team of volunteers who give up their own time to visit the families at home.”

“Volunteers are able to build a trusting relationship with families giving them more confidence to access services and opportunities that social barriers prevent them benefitting from.

“We are effective because families let us in where some professionals can struggle. Families know that volunteers are there because they want to be, not because they are paid to be. We are filling the gaps of key partners who have large caseloads and little time to do all the early intervention that is needed– so we can prevent situations escalating into crises.”

Paula added: “Our volunteers tell us that their experience with Home Link Family Support is really rewarding. For some, it is the opportunity to get upskilled for future careers and for those who have retired; it’s a chance to continue to use valuable skills that they have such as ex midwives, nurses and social workers.

“They receive training and supervision that is appropriate to enable them to be competent to meet family need, ensuring they feel properly supported and able to deliver excellent service to families.”

As well as the Family Support Service and Antenatal) Support Service, Home Link Family Support operates a Midlothian Young Parents Support Service and a unique Systemic Family Counselling Service in Midlothian.

Any family with a child under five who is experiencing difficulties can be eligible for a family support volunteer – which often leads to them reporting that they are happier and more able to cope with their children.

Paula added: “We aim to support parents to fully engage with the positive emotional development of their children, to help nurture healthy parent-child relationships, and to encourage parents to fully understand and participate in their child’s early learning.

“Through early intervention we seek to support families to bring up their children so that they can become successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens.”

In its last year, Home Link Family Support has provided more than 8000 home visits and 40,000 volunteer hours – equivalent to the economic value of £288,500.

One mother, who was struggling with post-natal depression, commented: “You have so much guilt when you have post-natal depression. She (volunteer) just took so much of that pressure away.

I just appreciated having a kind and friendly person who was genuinely interested in me, my life and my children. She made me realise that I am not alone and that there are wonderful people in the world who are willing to give up their spare time to spend with complete strangers and help them out when they are really struggling.  

As a family we’re nearly there now.  I feel so much better in myself.  I feel so much stronger and that I can do it now.”

Up to 50 new volunteers are being sought any people interested should click here or call 0131 661 0890.