Feb 112013

When The Going Gets Tough, Aberdeen Parents Get Selling! Faced with the ever-rising cost of bringing up a child, Aberdeen parents are selling and bartering in a bid to reduce the cost of raising children. Jack & Jill organisers advise Aberdeen Voice of their next event.

Thousands of Aberdeen mums and families took part in their local monthly Jack & Jill Markets last year at The Treetops Hilton Hotel in Aberdeen.

At the last market of the year, 508 shoppers joined in. 37% of mums selling made £100 – £200, 45% made £200 – £350, and our top-selling stall made £355.

This month’s local Aberdeen Jack & Jill event, the first of 2013, will be on Sunday 17th February.

Local Mum Laura Letts said:-

“We had a great time! Hoping to do another one early next year.”

Local Aberdeen mum, Charlene McConnachie, said:-

“I got some great bargains that I am over the moon with.”

It costs £90,000 to raise a child up to age 11, an increase of 15% over the past 5 years, according to new figures released by Halifax, whose economist, Martin Ellis, says the figures have:-

“…added to the already considerable strain on household finances during the economic downturn.”

Thrift is the New Cool.  When the going gets tough, the tough get going. As the cost of raising children soars, an increasing number of smart money mums have beefed up their selling and bartering skills to make and save money.

A trend is emerging where mums and dads are now much happier to choose selling and shopping at local car-boot sales and market days as a cost-effective alternative to the high street for what their children need. Over a third of parents are now choosing to buy and sell second-hand, according to recent figures.

Scottish Success Story

One organisation Aberdeen parents have turned to is The Jack & Jill Market which runs monthly nearly-new baby & children’s markets in Aberdeen and across Scotland, solely for local families, with the emphasis on quality goods. The Jack & Jill Market is so swamped with demand from mums wanting to make and save money, that new locations are being set-up all the time in an effort to meet this demand. Smart Money Management.

Recent research has shown that UK adults can have up to £581 worth of useable but unused items; for a two-parent family this can add up to more than £1000, much of it locked up in buggies, bikes, cots, clothes, toys, all the all the rest that still have plenty of life left in them, so it makes smart money sense to release this money into the family budget.

80% of mums and families selling at the markets make £100-£350 in 3-hours of selling, with a significant number of mums having made up to £550 and our top selling mum to date making £800. This is money that can then be re-invested back into the family budget to help with the ongoing costs of raising a family.

Many baby and kids items are barely used, or never used, and on offer at the markets for up to 90% off the retail price. And with over 13 million toys still ending up in landfill each year, it makes perfect sense to recycle and save.

The next monthly Aberdeen Jack & Jill Community Market will be held on Sunday 17th February at Hilton Treetops Hotel, Aberdeen, 10.30am – 1.30pm.

The following event will be on Sunday 17th March.

For further details, visit: www.jackandjillmarket.co.uk

Aug 172012

As Wednesday 15th August this year marked National Relaxation Day, a free service that promotes serenity by giving children a chance to keep in touch with both parents after relationships break down is appealing for volunteers. With thanks to Claire McBain.

VSA, the UK’s largest city social care charity supporting people in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, runs the Richmondhill-based Family Contact Centre.
It is a calm, safe and neutral ground where separated mothers, fathers and grandparents can stay in a youngsters’ life without them having to see one another.

The centre, one of the oldest meeting places of its kind in Scotland, recently celebrated its longest serving volunteers by highlighting the achievements of people who have dedicated as much as 20 years to the service. 

But increased service demand means an urgent need to recruit the next generation of volunteers.

Cathy Maxwell, family support co-ordinator at VSA’s Family Contact Centre, said:

“It may sound clichéd but, without them, maintaining the service really won’t be possible.

“It’s a welcoming place where people don’t feel they’re being judged.  I’m looking for family-friendly volunteers, both male and female, to join the team that welcome people to the centre on a Saturday.  Parents aren’t supervised, but volunteers are on hand to offer assistance if necessary. 

“Usually, it’s a case of offering refreshments and providing reassurance about the principles of the centre.  Often it just means emphasising the fact that parents don’t have to come face-to-face.  Essential volunteer qualities are a sense of humour, a desire to help and a clear understanding of confidentiality.

“On-the-job training is provided and credible, local volunteering experience is a great way for people to boost their employability, particularly if they have an interest in working with children or families.  Once they decide this type of volunteering is for them, I’d urge our new recruits to make a commitment to stay with us for up to a year.”

There are more than 45 child contact centres in Scotland.  Last year, 1650 children met their non-resident parent, or other significant family member, at one of these centres.  This was an increase of 22% on the previous year.  More than half of these children were under five years old and 85% aged below eight.

Cathy continued:

“Some parents find it very difficult to agree to share their children’s time with their ex-partner.  But visits need not be awkward and distressing. 

“Visits facilitated by a contact centre can lead to improved communication between the non-resident parent and their children, reduction or prevention of conflict and, in many cases, decision by parents to work together in the best interests of their children.”

VSA’s Family Contact Centre is based at the Maisie Munro Centre, 18 Richmondhill Place, Aberdeen, on a Saturday.

  • To find out more about becoming a volunteer or using the service contact Cathy Maxwell, family support co-ordinator, on 01224 358638 or e-mail her at cathy.maxwell@vsa.org.uk
  • For more information, photographs or to get the perspective of a current volunteer, contact Claire McBain on 01224 358611 or e-mail her at claire.mcbain@vsa.org.uk
Sep 292011

The Northfield Academy based Music Centre is holding an Open Day organised by F.A.I.M. (Friends of Aberdeen Instrumental Music ) this Saturday morning.   With thanks to Kathryn Reid.

The parents and teachers behind Friends of Aberdeen Instrumental Music (F.A.I.M.) will welcome Aberdeen Lord Provost Peter Stephen to hear several rehearsals in progress at the Music Centre situated at Northfield Academy.

F.A.I.M. want to promote the achievements of the youth within the groups of the Music Service. These groups include Jazz, Brass Band, Choirs, Wind Bands Guitar and Percussion groups and Orchestras for young people from 7 to 23 at various levels.

It is this system of graded groups that produces the outstanding track record of budding musicians.

More children in Aberdeen learn an instrument than anywhere else in Scotland and more children go on to take part in National groups than any one area or city in Scotland. We have a lot to be proud of!

The Music Centre’s funding was secured by councillors in this year’s budget. The Lord Provost will see first hand how the groups have continued to flourish as he watches rehearsals by three wind bands and the beginners’ string groups and that’s only Saturday morning! The Music Centre is busy every night of the week.

The F.A.I.M. group will host its Open Day in Northfield Academy on Saturday from 9.30am to 12.30pm. Lord Provost Peter Stephen will visit F.A.I.M. between 10am and 11am.

Come and have a cup of tea or coffee and see what takes place. Marvel at the tiny double basses and their wonderful players! Get caught up in the enthusiasm these youngsters have for music. Warning – it’s contagious!

More Info: FriendsOfAberdeenInstrumentalMusic.co.uk/ 

Sep 012011

By Bob Smith.

Fin walkin doon the fairway
T’wis jist a fyow days syne
A gowfin freen he did declare
Decorum’s noo in decline

Decency an gweed mainners
Are less aften ti be seen
Be it in oor aingranite city
Or awa doon in Gretna Green

Nae decorum in oor dress sense
Some fowk they look like tramps
Faa hiv bin draggit backwyse
Throwe the funns ower in the Gramps

Young chiels in torn troosers
Some quines dressed like tarts
Ample bosoms are on show
Even eens  o some auld farts

A lot o skyrie heids ye see
In orange, mauve or pink
Some fowk  try their best ti be
A maist orra bliddy tink

TV soaps they dinna help
Fowk aye bawlin an yellin
Faa’s shackin up wi faa
Ye’ve  gey difficulty in tellin

Young bairns ye aften hear
Lit oot an oath or twa
Div they learn iss in the nursery
Or fae their ma or da

Car drivers hiv nae mainners
As they drive aroon oor roads
Wi road rage aa aboot ye
O twa fingers ye see load

At  maist fitba matches nooadays
Fae the stands they hurl abuse
Fin a player he maks a bad pass
Fans dinna tolerate ony excuse

Am nae sayin things war perfect
Fin ma freens an I war loons
Bit we didna ging aroon actin
Like a bunch o bliddy goons

So let’s hae some mair decorum
As we gyang aboot oor chores
Even jist sayin a thank ye
Fin a bodie huds open doors

Listen ti anithers pint o view
Withoot aye snarlin “yer wrang”
Decorum ye see costs nithing
We need decency afore ower lang

©Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2011
Image Credit: © Paul Prescott | Dreamstime.com

Sep 102010

by Jennifer Phillips.

Concerned parents of pupils at four city schools have launched a campaign against Aberdeen City Council’s proposals to reconfigure secondary school provision which could see the closure of Harlaw Academy.

A parent forum involving Broomhill, Ferryhill and Kaimhill Primary Schools and Harlaw Academy –  the Harlaw Associated School Group or ASG – is leading the drive to keep the school open.

More than 250 parents attended a  meeting at Ferryhill Primary on 24th August  to voice their concerns. The meeting was also attended by representatives of Aberdeen City Council.

Another meeting is taking place at Harlaw Academy on September 15 from 6.30 to 8pm.

The council has launched a stakeholder engagement process on options for a number of  secondary schools in the city, including the merger of Harlaw and Hazlehead Academies. This could involve the closure of Harlaw and the widespread rezoning of pupils from feeder primaries to new or established secondary schools elsewhere in the city – Torry / Kincorth, Hazlehead and Aberdeen Grammar.

the school is achieving success year after year. Its academic results are better than the national average.

Sarah Reid, Chairwoman of Broomhill Parent Council, said: “Parents at all four schools have already voiced a variety of concerns about the implications of such a move. There are fears it could result in existing school communities becoming fragmented or disintegrating altogether.

“The school network in this part of the city works extremely well and we don’t want to see that lost.

“There are also practical concerns such as pupils in Broomhill and Ferryhill potentially being rezoned to a new secondary south of the river and the difficult transport implications not to mention added congestion that would bring.

Murdo Maclean, Chair of Harlaw Parent Council, added: “We accept that changes are required but we feel the changes proposed by the Council are ill conceived and will have an adverse effect on education provision in the centre of Aberdeen.

“Harlaw is fully subscribed and has the highest placement request in the city – people want their children to go there. It consistently exceeds its predicted academic targets and has great links with the community.

“The initial meeting was very successful – parents were able to ask pertinent questions about the council’s processes and rationale, and to get an understanding of the proposals.

“The meeting has provided us with great impetus as we plan the next phases of our campaign.”

An HMI report for Harlaw Academy, just published, revealed that the school is achieving success year after year. Harlaw Academy’s  academic results are better than the national average.