Jan 132017

With thanks to Esther Green, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

As food poverty continues to grow across Grampian – with the slump in the oil and gas industry pushing up requests for aid –  a major financial firm is helping emergency food parcels reach those most in need.

Aberdeen-based charity, Community Food Initiatives North East (CFINE) has a fleet of nine vehicles distributing food donations to organisations operating at grass roots levels to support those living in Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Moray who are struggling to put a meal on the table.

Aberdeen Asset Management has donated £5,000 towards CFINE’s vehicle costs which has been described as a “fantastic contribution” that will help keep the fleet on the road, allowing it to continue to make essential deliveries to support the growing numbers of people affected by food poverty.

It’s not just those on benefits or low wages that gain assistance, the downturn in oil and gas resulted in a new market of referrals emerging, with laid-off energy sector workers forced to seek out vital support.

Dave Simmers, chief executive officer of CFINE said: 

“To see your income collapse, sometimes with no warning at all, because of a job loss leads to difficult times. We have heard of people losing well paid jobs in the oil and gas sector but left with next to nothing when their income dries up – any one of us could be just be a few pay cheques away from a crisis.

“Our services are more needed than ever and with benefit changes coming through we expect there will be a deeper impact on already hard-pressed families. Many already have to make choices between heating or eating and we hear anecdotal evidence of parents going without food so they can buy their children’s school uniform.

“We operate on very tight budgets and every penny counts so to get £5,000 from Aberdeen Asset Management is a fantastic contribution. Without our vehicles, we could not get out to the charities and community organisations like Cyrenians, Salvation Army and Instant Neighbour which in turn reach the people in need in Grampian, which is a huge area to cover.”

CFINE is seeing increases for aid and the number of referrals increase all the time. In 2017  it will receive, organise and deliver more than 500 tonnes of food – which equates to a staggering 1,190,476 meals. Last year it distributed 10,000 emergency food parcels thorugh its own foodbank, a huge increase on the 3,000 food parcels given out in 2012, its first year of operation.

Dominic Kite of Aberdeen Asset Management’s charity committee said:

“Food poverty  is a sad but very real fact of life for too many people in our region. We applaud the work of CFINE , its volunteers and partner organisations in tackling food poverty, building resilience and improving the health and wellbeing of people across the Grampian region.”

With demand for its services showing no sign of waning, CFINE has a number of volunteering opportunities and would welcome anyone who may be willing to help out. Call Christine or Graeme on 01224 596156; email info@cfine.org or visit the website www.cine.org to get involved. The charity also welcomes food and finanacial donations to ensure this vital work can continue.

The Aberdeen Asset Charitable Foundation was established in 2012 to formalise and develop the Group’s charitable giving globally and seeks partnerships with smaller charities around the world, where funds can be seen to have a meaningful and measurable impact.

The firm encourages its employees to use their time and skills to support its charitable projects. The main focus of the Foundation is around emerging markets and local communities, giving back to those areas which are a key strategic focus of the business and to build on the historic pattern of giving to communities in which Aberdeen employees live and work.

For more information visit http://www.aberdeen-asset.co.uk/aam.nsf/foundation/home

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Dec 232016

With thanks to Esther Green, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

Aberdeen Asset Management’s apprentice fundraisers, from left, Hannah Booth, Raegan McBain, Sam McGrath, Rachel Adam and Harry Rothnie.

Christmas has come early for Aberdeen Cyrenians which has taken delivery of a bumper £14,000 donation raised by apprentices from Aberdeen Asset Management.
More than half of the total came from a single mission – when apprentices were joined by  colleagues and spent a chilly night sleeping outdoors in Aberdeen, an experience that drove home the relevance and need to support those for whom homelessness and sleeping rough is a daily reality.

The five apprentices – Hannah Booth, Rachel Adam, Raegan McBain, Harry Rothnie and Sam McGrath –  have been praised for putting heart and soul into the charity challenge and making the donation at the time when demand for services is at its peak.

Scott Baxter, Depute Chief Executive for Aberdeen Cyrenians,  said:

“We are all absolutely delighted at how well the Aberdeen Asset Management  apprentices have done and with their energy, motivation and commitment they have raised an incredible amount of money.

“This money  will go directly to our Drop In service at a time when there is the highest level of need. We’ve developed a great friendship which we hope will continue in the future as these young people move into the professional world.”

The apprentices were challenged by their employees to raise £10,000 in six weeks for the Cyrenians and could turn to colleague Sophie Ewen, who was recently named apprentice ambassador of the year at the 2016 Scottish Apprenticeship Awards, for advice and assistance throughout. 

They planned and organised a whole host of money-raising efforts and in addition to the sleepout, they held a bingo night and raffle, race night, auction, cake sale, and sold bacon rolls to office staff on Friday mornings. They smashed their target after just  four weeks and were so committed to the cause that they gave up a considerable amount of their personal time to planning and staging events.

Apprentice Hannah Booth, part of the fundraising team, said:

“It was quite daunting being faced with the challenge of raising £10,000 but right from the start we gained wonderful support  from colleagues and many of them joined us on the Sleepout, or sponsored us to take part, which was just great.

“We feel that taking part in this challenge has brought us closer together and we’ve really bonded from having spent so much time in each other’s company through organising and holding our events. We’re all really proud to have been able to raise so much money for Aberdeen Cyrenians which does great work to support the homeless, rough sleepers and people who experience hardship in the North-east of Scotland.”

Aberdeen Asset Management has an established apprenticeship programme for school leavers which has been running since 2012. The programme runs for 12-24 months and is designed to help apprentices learn about the organisation, meet the people involved and help them decide which area of the business to begin their career in.

Apprentices are challenged to work together for community projects, in this case for Aberdeen Cyrenians, which has its headquarters close to Aberdeen Asset Management’s Union Plaza office and has supported homeless people in the city for over 45 years.

Aberdeen Cyrenians seeks to meet the needs of people who are homeless, at risk of homelessness or are affected by severe hardship in any way. The charity listens to their difficulties, understand needs, share burdens, provide professional support and strive to identify solutions. More information can also be found online at www.aberdeen-cyrenians.org

Since 1968 Aberdeen Cyrenians has provided a range of services to homeless people, rough sleepers and those who experience hardship in the North East of Scotland.

Today these cover residential services, a Violence Against Women project, a Domestic Abuse Support & Accommodation Project, an Advice and Information Service which offers nine drop-in sessions each week, and Street Alternatives where hot meals, personal care, showers, clothing and laundry facilities are provided.

For more information visit http://www.aberdeen-asset.co.uk/aam.nsf/foundation/home

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.


Sep 292016

With thanks to Clare Scott, Communications Consultant, CJS Communication & Marketing.


Gavin Fairweather (left) and Richie Cooper will pedal for charity

Two members of staff from motor specialist Peter Vardy Vauxhall are preparing to tackle a self-styled Tour de Vardy in aid of charity following an inspiring summer of British cycling.

Richie Cooper, managing partner and Gavin Fairweather, new car sales manager, will pedal 230 miles from 1-3 October 2016 to raise funds for family support charity Home-Start Aberdeen.

The pair, both of whom are keen cyclists, have been in training for the challenge, which forms part of Peter Vardy Aberdeen’s year-long CSR (corporate social responsibility) partnership with Home-Start Aberdeen.

The cyclists’ 230-mile route commences from the Peter Vardy CarStore in Glasgow and incorporates stopping points over the weekend at the company’s showrooms in Motherwell, Edinburgh, Dalgety Bay, Kirkcaldy, Perth and Dundee. They will be followed by two colleagues in a liveried support vehicle and hope to receive lots of additional moral support during their stops along the route.

They are due to reach their final destination – the Peter Vardy Vauxhall showroom on Aberdeen’s Lang Stracht – late afternoon on Monday, 3 October.

“All of our colleagues throughout Peter Vardy in Scotland are aware of what we are doing and we are looking forward to seeing as many of them as possible during our scheduled stops on the Tour de Vardy,” says Richie.

“It’s a pretty challenging route so the friendly faces and encouragement will spur us on – along with the knowledge that we are raising funds for local families in need of help.”

Home-Start Aberdeen is a volunteer-led organisation, which provides vulnerable families with emotional and practical support in their own homes. Georgette Cobban, scheme manager, Home-Start Aberdeen says:

“We are thrilled that Richie and Gavin have chosen to raise funds for us in this way. The Tour de Vardy is an amazing challenge in itself, however we are aware that a lot of planning and training has also gone into this event.
“Although we have recruited a record number of volunteers this year, demand for our services continues to increase, so we desperately need to attract and train additional people.  The money raised by the Peter Vardy cyclists will help to support this work so that we, in turn, can support a greater number of families.”

The Tour de Vardy is one of a series of fundraising events planned by Peter Vardy staff throughout their year of joint working with Home-Start Aberdeen. The cyclists’ appeal has already received a boost in the form of a £2000 pledge from their employer. Anyone who wishes to support their efforts can donate at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/PeterVardyVauxhallAberdeen.

Further information on Home-Start Aberdeen’s support services for families is available at www.homestartaberdeen.org.uk, telephone 01224 693545.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Sep 162016

cfine1With thanks to Cath Deans.

Do you want to get involved in a creative activity but don’t know where to start?

CFINE are delivering various educational courses to teach practical skills so if you want to learn something new or indeed brush up on your existing skills in sewing, knitting, crochet, upholstery or cooking, please get in touch.

Our newly completed training kitchen is also available for hire to run your own course – special prices for charities.

Or, if you want to join a social group on a Wednesday, we have two hobby groups – am and pm – bring along your craft activity and join others over a cuppa and a blether.

What we do:

  • Community Food Outlets: fruit & veg at affordable prices
  • FareShare – fighting hunger, tackling food waste
  • Food Bank
  • Community Training Kitchen
  • Benefits and Budgeting Advice
  • Employability, Energy Efficiency & Housing Referrals
  • Environment: Zero Waste Scotland Project
  • Volunteering opportunities

We offer:

  • Fruit & Veg: Excellent Quality at Great prices
  • Cook at the ‘Nook – Cooking/ Nutrition courses
  • Knitting, Sewing, Crochet & Upholstery Courses
  • Hobby Groups
  • Mailboxes
  • Room Rental

All this and so much more at our premises at 2-4 Poynernook Road, AB11 5RW

If you want more information, please check out CFINE’s Facebook page or contact us on 01224 596156 / info@cfine.org

We look forward to hearing from you!

CFINE is a charity and Social Enterprise supported by Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council, Climate Challenge Fund, Zero Waste Scotland, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, FareShare UK, Scottish Government and corporate support through Technip, Wood Group PSN and individual donations.

CFINE was a finalist in the 2015: Guardian Charity of the Year, Northern Star ‘Outstanding Contribution to Society and PWC Social Enterprise of the Year Awards.

CFINE is a private limited co. registered in Scotland no. 262156 Registered Charity no. SC037833. All profits are reinvested into our charity tackling food poverty, building resilience in communities and supporting vulnerable individuals and families throughout the north east of Scotland.

Aug 182016

With thanks to Esther Green, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR

quarriersHousehold essentials that help make a house a home are being provided to young homeless people in Scotland who are overcoming significant challenges and taking up their first tenancies.

Starter packs containing the basics like curtains, bedding, pots and pans, towels and cleaning items are being provided to young people who have experienced homelessness when they move into their first homes through an initiative by leading social care charity Quarriers.

Aberdeen Asset Management’s Charitable Foundation has given £2,000 to provide starter packs to help 40 young people kit out their new home, giving them a more comfortable start to life in their first secured tenancy.

Youth homelessness remains a real issue in Scotland and young people supported by Quarriers’ youth housing services have often travelled a harrowing road with exposure to neglect, violence, abuse, relationship breakdowns with family and friends, and substance misuse which has affected their health, emotional and psychological development, confidence and self-esteem.

A number of young people have also experienced the care system at some point in their lives.

Many have encountered difficulties at school which has hindered their progression and acquisition of basic literacy and numeracy skills.

Increasingly, Quarriers is also supporting young refugees and asylum seekers whose extreme experiences and negligible resources severely limit their ability to survive, let alone thrive, in their new country.

Young people speak of their feelings of despair, abandonment and isolation; many have turned to alcohol, drugs and high risk behaviours to try to escape their situations and feelings.

Quarriers last year supported over 300 young people to regain their confidence and get their lives back on track, providing them with the means and skills to live independently and successfully within their community. These youngsters, often referred by social work or related services, receive up to two years support from the charity, depending on their circumstances.

Moving into their own tenancy – be it in mainstream or supported accommodation – is a significant step forward full of challenges for young people with few belongings, let alone basic furniture.

Providing basic household items including bedding, curtains or blinds, towels, cutlery and dishes, a kettle, toaster and pots, cleaning goods and other items when possible and funding permits helps young people get settled in and feel like they are in their own home, rather than just a safe room with a roof.

Alice Harper, Quarriers Chief Executive, said:

“Quarriers is committed to providing high quality services to help young people experiencing homelessness. Practical support such as providing these starter packs makes a real difference and we would like to thank Aberdeen Asset Management wholeheartedly for their support.

“Together, we are helping the young people we support to develop essential life skills and work towards a brighter future.”

Dominic Kite of Aberdeen’s Charitable Foundation, added:

“Having a place to call your own is a milestone in any young person’s life but for anyone who has faced homelessness it must be all the more significant. Quarriers has recognised the difference it makes to provide an assortment of basic home items right at the start of a new tenancy and we’re pleased to be able to provide starter packs for 40 young people.”

Aberdeen Asset Charitable Foundation was established in 2012 to formalise and develop the Group’s charitable giving globally. It seeks partnerships with smaller charities around the world, where funds can be seen to have a meaningful and measurable impact and the firm encourages its employees to use their time and skills to support its charitable projects.

The main focus of the Foundation is around emerging markets and local communities, reflecting the desire to give back to those areas which are a key strategic focus of the business and to build on the historic pattern of giving to communities in which Aberdeen employees live and work.

For more information visit http://www.aberdeen-asset.co.uk/aam.nsf/foundation/home

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Jul 292016

With thanks to Georgette Cobban, scheme manager, Home-Start Aberdeen.

Pic 3

Back Row: Alison Chandler (ACVO), Georgette Cobban (Home-Start Aberdeen), Mark Smith (Piper), Cllr Neil Clooney. Front Row: Angus McKay, Murray Scott, Brodie Passell.

A project to encourage engagement between Aberdeen organisations and their communities burst into life on Wednesday as the finishing touches were put to the city’s first Blooming Big Aberdeen friendly bench.
Representatives from Blooming Big Aberdeen and family support charity Home-Start Aberdeen came together in Hazlehead Park to celebrate the colourful addition of a freshly-painted Home-Start Aberdeen bench.

The friendly bench project is one of the most recent initiatives to have arisen from the Big Aberdeen Event in September 2014 and is supported by ACVO TSI in partnership with Aberdeen City Council.

It invites third sector organisations to claim and design a bench in the city to raise awareness of the support and services that they provide.

Participating organisations are encouraged to create an eye-catching bench design that reflects their identity and activities, then work jointly with the other project partners to implement it.

“The big messages from the Big Aberdeen Event were ‘Let’s do something about the gaps between rich and poor’ and ‘Let’s celebrate our green spaces’,” said Alison Chandler, enterprise & sustainability lead, ACVO TSI.

“The Blooming Big Aberdeen bench project will get people talking and finding out about the great work being done around the city.

“We hope people will have fun out and about, tracking down the dozens of other friendly benches that will be popping up around Aberdeen over the months ahead in playparks, playgrounds and green spaces.”

The sunshine shone over Hazlehead Park as the final touches were put to the Home-Start Aberdeen bench accompanied by the celebratory skirl of bagpipes.

Staff and volunteers from Home-Start Aberdeen were joined by families who are supported by the charity to celebrate completion of the bench. While the adults busied themselves stencilling the charity’s helping hands logo onto the bench, some of the group’s younger members were entertained with outdoor activities organised by Home-Start Aberdeen’s co-ordinators.

“We first heard about the friendly bench project some months ago and were instantly captivated by the idea,” says Georgette Cobban, scheme manager, Home-Start Aberdeen.

“Our raison d’être is to provide city-based families who may be suffering from isolation with emotional and practical support. We hope that the bench will encourage parents who didn’t know about our services to consider getting in touch.

“I also anticipate that the bench will become a popular meeting point for our existing families and their volunteers, as many of them like to make use of the fantastic community spaces that we have here in the city.

“It’s wonderful for both the charity – and for those who need our help – that there is another physical reminder of our presence in such a popular family area.”

Over the coming weeks other Blooming Big Aberdeen friendly benches will appear in popular city spaces – including Seaton Park and the Beach Esplanade – and along walking routes such as the former Deeside railway line.

Pic 1

Mr Bear (Home-Start Aberdeen Mascot) – painting the bench with Peter Gunn watching.

Plaques for each of the benches are being produced and donated by corporate branding specialists, Recognition Express Scotland Ltd.

Further information on the friendly bench project and other Blooming Big Aberdeen initiatives is available here http://acvo.org.uk/working-with/big-aberdeen/blooming-big-aberdeen/.

For more information on the family support services provided by Home-Start Aberdeen visit www.homestartaberdeen.org.uk.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Mar 172016

A Multi-millionaire leading a charmed life due to commercialisation of punk has denounced the commercialism of punk.

“just by focussing a little bit of money in the right direction you can make things happen and that’s amazing” – Joseph Corre C 2009

As Joseph Corre, son of Malcolm McClaren and Dame Vivienne prepares to destroy £5,000,000 worth of punk memorabilia, Aberdeen Voice’s Suzanne Kelly asks What the actual?

Fire (6)Whether or not you believe that punk is now 40 years old because of the pending anniversary of the Sex Pistols’ God Save the Queen, various celebrations are going to take place in the UK.

The establishment has acknowledged punk by having the odd event as have several museums, businesses and artists.

Some people hate this idea passionately; some are bemused that punk’s attack on the State is now something to be looked back on fondly.

In November in Camden, people will drink at the Underworld. They will listen to bands at the Dublin Castle. They’ll buy Ramones t-shirts in the market. Knox Carnochan and his band of volunteers will run Rock ‘n Roll Rescue, the charity shop selling music memorabilia (and then at closing probably spill into the Dublin Castle for some pints of Camden Hells).

Somewhere in Camden this November, Joseph Corre has announced in Rolling Stone Magazine that he will be burning £5,000,000 worth of punk memorabilia. This is a protest, or so we’re told, at the commercialisation of punk and by the state’s endorsement of same. Well, Corre would know a tiny bit about both, wouldn’t he?

Meanwhile, Knox will be doing his best with the donations that he can get.

Rock ‘n Roll Rescue’s mission is:

“We are trying to help local people through supporting food banks, then helping the womens’ refuge up in Kentish Town, helping people at the bottom end of the welfare system, and have been helping Jennie Bellstars’ Hari Krishna food van, etc., etc. An ever growing list of stuff that needs help. (Look around you!)”

Looking around you seems like good advice for at least one of us.

What Other People interested in Punk, Music and Compassion said:

“He [Corre]could have flogged it all and given the money to a charity or a good cause like Saving The Music in Denmark St. Twat! I’M FUMING!”
– Henry Scott-Irvine, ‘Save Tin Pan Alley’ campaigner

“I will just say that in my time volunteering at the shop [Rock ‘N Roll Rescue], I’ve seen a lot things that led to my little rant on why it’s not good to burn the punk memorabilia in Camden in November and why Joseph Corré is a plonker. First, because it’s history. I’ve seen the eyes of men and women light up and watched them become teenagers again as they rummage through the old vinyl, posters and magazines on offer at Rock ‘N Roll Rescue.

It isn’t long before they start telling stories of their first concert or the first time they heard a song. For many, items of punk and music memorabilia are deeply personal and in the broader sense, are a record of a brief, albeit very important part of musical history. Second, because, like it or not, we live in a Capitalist society wherein the material items we place historical or personal value on also carry monetary value.

It’s not very punk, but it’s how things are and we must deal with reality as it is. It is also true that currently, the divide between rich and poor is greater than ever. All you have to do is walk through Camden to see this. It serves no purpose to burn these items other than to prove to the ego of a millionaire, that he hasn’t sold out and to gain publicity. All of the anarchist posturing is bullshit. His parents packaged it and sold it.

He grew up wealthy, on money made off of the musicians and fans of that movement. How about giving back to the community that bought what his parents were selling? Ever have the feeling you’ve been cheated?”
Jennifer Upton, volunteer, Rock ‘n Roll Rescue, Camden

I asked his press people a few questions by email:

“How you square your decision to destroy material with the knowledge people (including many punk musicians) have serious financial problems which a sale rather than destruction of your goods could do much good?

“Do you think that your own financial success is in any part due to your parents’ financial success in the punk era?

“Had you looked at alternatives such as sales/donations of your old punk memorabilia and decided that it was better to announce a public, theatrical event rather than doing something beneficial to others? (you could have given it all to Knox Carnochan of the Vibrators for his shop Rock N Roll Rescue in Camden – or done one of a thousand other beneficial thing).

“How supportive is your mother, Dame Vivienne Westwood, of your action, given her titled status?

“Ideally Mr Corre, I’d like to get you to reconsider what to me is the act of someone who’s never know what it’s like to have to go without. It seems as if a slap in the face to the poor is your response to the establishment’s acknowledgement of punk’s place in UK history.”

If an answer is sent, you’ll hear about it. In the mean time, we’ve someone who’s made their point – there is no need to follow through with the destruction. Punk is commercial. It went commercial when his dad steered it that way – for some groups. Show me how TV Smith, just for one instance, has gone commercial. Punk was commercial when Vivienne started sheltering her fashion income from taxes using overseas avoidance schemes, took a title, and paid low wages to those making her garments. I missed the part when Junior objected to these instances of punk commercialisation in his own family.

It would be good to know how and when Joseph got elected to teach us lessons in what punk should be all about. I’d really like to know that he’s just making a joke to get a story (the Rolling Stone reporter would be pissed off, but there you go). In fact, when it comes to ‘punk’ there are as many different opinions as to what it means as there were bands and fans.  Maybe his cosmetics venture isn’t selling as many £19 pound lipsticks as he’d like it to (although good on this venture for being cruelty free).

I’ve read about his hard life while researching this. He had a bad time at a boarding school in Wales (has he helped expose the school’ alleged cruelties so no one else has to suffer?). He had a tough time of it because of his parents and had a failed marriage. I guess no one else could relate to this suffering.

“My new job won’t even take my phonecalls; my mother’s throwing me out of the house; I’m at my wit’s end.”

– someone with a serious, nearly untreatable syndrome that makes work nearly impossible posted this on social media today; this woman is doing all she can to earn money and stay as healthy as she can. What would £5,000,000 do for people like this? For animal charities, the hungry, children in poverty? What message does burning clothing send to the refugees and the people who don’t have £30,000,000 in the bank unlike our patronising, would-be philosophy instructor? Not a particularly kind or punk one.

The Rolling Stone piece continues to quote our man:

“People don’t feel they have a voice anymore… The most dangerous thing is that they have stopped fighting for what they believe in. They have given up the chase. We need to explode all the shit once more”.

‘They’ might seem to have stopped fighting – if you’re Corre looking out over the battlefield from a castle. People haven’t stopped fighting – but they could use a bit of financing. Not a bonfire of the vanities.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Dec 312015

Befriend a Child photoWith thanks to Esther Green, Tricker PR

A host of worthy causes have been able to develop outreach work and support more people thanks to a helping hand from the Aberdeen Asset Management Charitable Foundation which during 2015 has shared out well over £100,000 with a range of different projects working in Scotland.

The biggest single donation of 2015 was £17,203 to Befriend A Child to support underprivileged and vulnerable children living in Aberdeen for whom a troubled family life with drug and alcohol misuse, physical abuse and neglect is a daily reality.

The charity matches young people to an adult volunteer so positive childhood memories can be developed through a range of different experiences over the course of a year.

Venture Scotland helps some of the most disadvantaged young people in Scotland turn their lives around and received £15,000. The donation is for its Journey programme helping young people in Edinburgh to face up to the challenges holding them back and develop skills to overcome them.

The YMCA received £9,700 to support its Plusone programme for 8-14 year olds at risk of offending in Edinburgh. It offers one-to-one mentoring for children from the east end of city at a critical time in their lives, helping to divert them away from negative pathways to reduce the likelihood of them entering the children’s hearing system and to  build positive relations, confidence and self-esteem.

HopScotch was able to provide 36 vulnerable children from deprived parts of Aberdeen and Edinburgh with an inspiring, educational and fun respite break with £9,000 from Aberdeen Asset Management.

With £8,433 the National Deaf Children’s Society is funding a weekend for 12 families with deaf babies or toddlers living in Scotland to share experience and learn more about the help and support available. The gathering, to be held in Edinburgh in February, offers vital support and advice at a time when parents are still getting to grips with their child’s diagnosis.

A cosier winter was in store for disadvantaged youngsters in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire with a £7,500 donation to Cash for Kids in Aberdeen which went towards the purchase of warm winter clothing.

By pouring in £7,236 to the Teapot Trust, the Charitable Foundation has supported the provision of open group art therapy at the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital for kids with chronic illness.

£6,600 to Lothian Autistic Society has gone to help its Fun and Friendship Project while £4,000 awarded to The Open Door in Edinburgh has supported those living with mental health problems and the elderly. Clan Childlaw Ltd gained £4000 towards its aim to make sure every young person in Scotland has access to legal advice.

The new Simeon Care centre for the Elderly in Aberdeen received a ‘moving in’ present as residents settle into the new care facility, with a grant of £7,000 being used towards purchasing new furniture for Simeon House.

Movie magic lit up the lives of sick kids after Aberdeen Asset Management donated £6,800 to the new Medicinema at Yorkhill Children’s Hospital in Glasgow  to cover the costs of screening two cinema shows a week for a full month.

Rape and Abuse Support received £4,000 to help get a new project to support childhood rape and abuse survivors off the ground while the same amount was awarded to the St Andrew’s Children’s Society to maximise adoption opportunities for children in the North-east of Scotland.

Martin Gilbert, chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management, said:

“We’ve been happy to give our support to these very worthy causes during 2015 and we look forward to continuing to support charitable organisations and projects in the areas where we operate, and where our staff live, in 2016.”

The Aberdeen Asset Charitable Foundation was established in 2012 to formalise and develop the Group’s charitable giving globally. The Foundation seeks partnerships with smaller charities around the world, where funds can be seen to have a meaningful and measurable impact and the firm encourages its employees to use their time and skills to support its charitable projects. The main focus of the Foundation is around emerging markets and local communities, reflecting the desire to give back to those areas which are a key strategic focus of the business and to build on the historic pattern of giving to communities in which Aberdeen employees live and work.

For more information visit http://www.aberdeen-asset.co.uk/aam.nsf/foundation/home

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.


Dec 172015
Befriend a Child photofeat

A volunteer befriender and a youngster enjoying some time together.

With thanks to Eoin Smith.

Aberdeen may have a reputation for being one of the wealthiest cities in Scotland but for many children the daily reality is a troubled family life with drug and alcohol misuse, physical abuse and neglect.

The charity Befriend A Child struggles to meet the demand for its service supporting underprivileged and vulnerable children living in the Granite City – but thanks to a windfall of £17,203 from Aberdeen Asset Management’s Charitable Foundation, it is now able to reach out to help more children in need.

Last year, the service supported over 300 children but with referrals coming from primary and secondary schools, medical practices, family centres and criminal justice system, in addition to social services, demand for places has shot up, stretching the charity’s financial capability and expanding its waiting list to more than 50 children.

After receiving the biggest single donation from Aberdeen Asset Management’s charity pot this year, an additional 32 children are benefiting from a one-to-one befriending relationship with an adult volunteer who will work with them over the course of a year to build positive childhood memories through a range of experiences.

Despite its image of affluence and wealth, statistics published in October show that 18% of children in Aberdeen are on the child poverty index. As a result of their living conditions and environment, these children often suffer from low self-esteem, behavioural problems, poor communication and social skills and statistically under-achieve academically.

Befriend A Child enables children, aged between 4 and 16, to benefit from a positive adult role model with whom they share activities in a safe and neutral environment to help build confidence and self-esteem. This also reduces social isolation as well as providing opportunities to develop new life skills and interests while reducing exposure to drug and alcohol misuse and domestic violence in the family home.

Volunteer befrienders meet with their matched child on a fortnightly basis and spend 3-4 hours at a time enjoying a wide range of activities based on the interests of the children, such as attending football matches, going for a walk along the beach, swimming or reading a book together.

Evaluation shows positive outcomes, with children in a befriending relationship gaining greater confidence and improved self-esteem through being given the opportunity to take part in childhood activities previously denied to them. This, in turn, helps them to fulfil their potential, letting them see the alternative lifestyle they can achieve.

Feedback from parents is positive too: 25% noted an increase in their child’s confidence; 53% said their child was happier and 56% said their child’s self-esteem had improved at the end of a year’s befriending.

This year, one former volunteer befriender was contacted by the young boy she had befriended over 20 years earlier and who is now a grown man. He got in touch with her by email to express his gratitude for her kindness, patience and warmth saying it had a positive impact on his life.

The man, now in his 30s, said:

“Things have changed slightly since we last met! I’m now in a steady job… working in the oil and gas sector and living in Bangkok at the moment. I just wanted to say thank you for the time you gave me from your own life. When I look back on my childhood, the most prominent memories are the times I spent with you. The swimming, baking in your apartment, your smile, kindness and good nature are still very memorable to me.

“I hope you’re doing well at your end and you’re living a very happy life. People like yourself are few and far (between), deserving the best life has to offer. Thank you for every second of your time, you helped shape me into the man I have become, and yet to become!”

Befriend A Child is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2015 and the donation from Aberdeen Asset Management to support 32 new one-to-one befriending relationships for a year will cover the cost of outings, travel expenses and collecting children and taking them back home.

Lana Bambridge, resources and development manager for Befriend A Child said:

“This donation from the Aberdeen Asset Management Charitable Foundation will have a significant impact on children and young people across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire who are growing up in difficult circumstances and in need of a positive role model. As we strive to help these children realise their full potential in life, we are extremely grateful for this generous donation.”

Dominic Kite of Aberdeen Asset Management’s Charitable Foundation said:

“This is the biggest single donation awarded from our Charitable Foundation in 2015. It recognises the value of the work undertaken by Befriend A Child in Aberdeen and the surrounding area, and goes some way to helping the charity meet the continuing need to provide befriending support for an increasing number of children in the community who are referred to the service.”

The Aberdeen Asset Charitable Foundation seeks to give back to areas which are a key strategic focus of the business and to build on the historic pattern of giving to communities in which Aberdeen employees live and work. The Foundation seeks partnerships with smaller charities around the world, where funds can be seen to have a meaningful and measurable impact and the firm encourages its employees to use their time and skills to support its charitable projects.

Other Scottish projects to benefit from Aberdeen Asset Management’s Charitable Foundation in the past 12 months include:

Aberdeen and North-east Scotland – Cash For Kids Appeal to provide winter clothing for disadvantaged children in Aberdeen; The Teapot Trust’s open group art therapy for kids with chronic illness at the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital; Simeon Care Home for the Elderly towards the purchase of furnishings for its new care home; St Andrew’s Children’s Society in support of its work to find potential adoptive parents in the North-east and Rape And Abuse Support Aberdeen for a new support group for survivors of childhood rape and abuse.

Edinburgh – HopScotch which enabled disadvantaged young people living in Edinburgh the chance to go on inspiring and fun respite break in the Highlands;  the Lothian Autistic Society to support a fun and friendship project; The Open Door Edinburgh assisting those living with mental health problems and the elderly; Venture Scotland to help disadvantaged young people turn their lives around through its Journey Programme; YMCA Edinburgh in support of its PlusOne Mentoring programme for 8-14 year olds at risk of offending and The National Deaf Children’s Society to run a weekend get together for families of deaf children.

National – Medicinema cinema screenings at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Glasgow and Clan Childlaw Limited to help every young person in Scotland gain access to legal advice.

For more information visit http://www.aberdeen-asset.co.uk/aam.nsf/foundation/home

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.