All the latest news, reports, updates and announcements from Circle’s various projects
Circle has been working across central Scotland since 2006 to ensure that families in Edinburgh, East and West Lothian, North and South Lanarkshire and more recently Fife, Forth Valley and Tayside get the support they need as soon as possible.
We have deliberately based our offices in the heart of the local communities we work in to ensure that we can reach those families most in need of our help. We hope that by being based close by we can build positive, trusting relationships with the individuals, families and communities we work with. Our head office is in the West Pilton area of Edinburgh with other smaller offices in Hamilton, Armadale and Macmerry.
Here is just a little of what our projects have been up to over the last few months:
The Harbour team have been working hard preparing and delivering our summer programme and accompanying activity packs to give to the families we support. We were fortunate to have been awarded funding for one of our day trips, from the Family Holiday Charity. With this funding, 24 children and their parents had a brilliant day out at Fort Douglas adventure playground. We got some great feedback from the group and some lovely family pictures, which we will get printed for families, to create happy memories.
So far, we have also been swimming, playing at the soft play, roller skating and to the cinema. We are looking forward to our next 3 days out which include a train trip to a beach in Fife, a visit to a trampoline centre and finally, a festival show. Each week families have also been provided with an activity pack to help keep kids busy during the holidays.
One of these activity packs has included a baking pack, of which contains a recipe card, and ingredients for baking so they can enjoy some yummy treats!
We couldn’t offer these packs without the help of our local communities, and we are so grateful for Asda Community team for their kind donations to help create the baking activity packs for our families over the summer.
In July, we welcomed Ian Shield to the team in the role of Family Inclusion Coordinator. This is a new post which will help further develop and widen the scope of what the Harbour project can offer families who are affected by parental substance use. Ian has been getting out and about on our day trips and getting to know families.
Any questions about our Harbour Project can be sent to the Project Manager – Julie.King@Circle.Scot
As Covid restrictions have begun to ease, it means our groups have been able to start back up again!
The DADtastic group, led by one of our fathers workers, Graeme, provides a social hub and activities for dads, male carers and their children. The group enables dads and male carers to develop their parenting capacity and build relationships with their children in a fun environment.
Some of the Dad’s from the group went on a Walk N Talk, all the way from Granton to Cramond and back!
“It’s great to be able to get back to some sort of ‘normality’ – the importance of being outdoors, socialising with a bit of exercise thrown in cannot be underestimated.”- Dad
A healthy mind can provide so many additional benefits when life becomes tough, which is clearly demonstrated when all the dads get together for a chat about the some of the issues and concerns that come with being a dad.
The peer support offered & received within the Circle DADtastic Club is an important aspect to the dads who attend. By organising outings such as the Walk n Talks, Circle services help to reduce social isolation, whilst providing support to local fathers.
To find out more about our Fathers’ Support services, visit; https://circle.scot/services/fathers-support/
Youth Philanthropy Initiative:
Recently, a group of second year pupils from Trinity High School were successful in securing £3,000 for our Haven Project, through their success in the Youth Philanthropy Initiative scheme.
The Youth Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) is a powerful active citizenship programme, empowering young people to make a difference in their local communities, whilst developing a range of skills through a contextualised learning experience.
After deciding they wanted the money to go towards our Baby Support Groups, the pupils visited our Haven Project and interviewed Julie Calder to enable them to speak passionately and persuasively about the work that Circle does.
The students put together a fantastic presentation, covering the work that Circle does, what the £3,000 would go towards, and why they chose us as their charity.
We are absolutely delighted with the recent success of winning the £3,000 grant, and wanted to say special thanks to the pupils at Trinity High School for all their hard work, effort and passion for Circle’s work.
To read more about the YPI success, visit: here
The West Lothian team have been busy preparing and implementing their summer programme. They’ve been out and about with families, making full use of the annual pass that we have recently renewed for Five Sisters Zoo and Almond Valley Heritage Park.
The children love to meet the animals and explore all the experiences on offer at both the Zoo and Park.
Cash For Kids Grant:
The grant has allowed the team to provide a range of fun family activities throughout the summer holidays.
The families have benefited from days out accessing activities within their local area through vouchers that had been purchased from the Cash for Kids fund.
Children, young people and their parent/carers have access to innoflate, cinema, crazy golf and the soft play, giving them the opportunity to enjoy spending time together, strengthening relationships and having fun.
The team have also been also been busy preparing and delivering summer activity packs to 30 families with resources that can be used for indoor or outdoor play. The packs are designed to offer a range of activities that can be used regardless of the weather, encouraging families to spend time together being creative or playing games. The families we support would not be financially able to provide these activities or experiences for their children, nor would it be a priority in the current financial climate.
Four children from West Lothian families have recently returned from Scripture Union camps and are buzzing with positive feedback about their experiences. One boy had developed really positive friendships with 2 other boys whilst away at camp together. They have kept in touch since returning from camp, met up to play football, and all 3 of them travelled together to the camp for a reunion day at Lendrick Muir. He is already thinking of ways to earn some pocket money to fund camp for himself next year as he cannot wait to return!
The West Lothian team are continuing to expand, and recently, they’ve hired a new Family Outreach Worker, Sarah.
Sarah’s role involves providing vital mental health and wellbeing support to children and families.
“The Whole Family Approach policy was the main aspect that led me to Circle. After years of working 1-1 with children and young people, I was keen for a new challenge and wanted to provide support to everyone in the family.”- Sarah
To read Sarah’s full interview, visit: here
The West Lothian team now have 4 staff members accredited in PUP (Parenting Under Pressure), 3 of whom have just completed their training and are working on the case study element with their families. This has seen positive parental engagement and families are keen to work with the PUP resources.
Any questions about our West Lothian Project can be sent to the Project Manager – Hazel.Tyson@Circle.Scot
Our East Lothian Team, have been busy planning their summer programme, which has included making up summer activity packs for families. The aim of the packs is to help lighten the load for 10 of our families during the school summer holidays which can be a tough time of year, financially and emotionally.
The packs contain items that we thought families would like to help them get out and about to places, such as the park and the beach with their kids this summer, to keep them all entertained and to have fun.
The packs contain:
- Picnic blanket
- Picnic set (Tupperware boxes, plates, cups, cutlery etc)
- DIY Bug hotel for kids to make with their parents
- Blow up ball
- Paddling pool
- Voucher for the Fraser Centre, Tranent (can be used for their family friendly cinema, in the café or towards one of their workshops/classes)
- Paint set
- Skipping rope
- Big bag for life
Huge thanks to East Lothian Mediation and Support team for donating some of the items to help make up our summer activity packs!!
Staff Interview- Bob Bell:
This month, we introduced one of the East Lothian Family Outreach Workers, Bob Bell!
Bob is a Senior Family Outreach Worker, and has been working at Circle for over 9 years. His day-to-day role involves working with children and families affected by parental substance abuse.
We are so grateful to have Bob as part of the team at Circle!
To read Bob’s interview, visit: https://circle.scot/introducing-bob-a-family-outreach-worker-in-east-lothian/
DARED Participants- Circle Staff!
Two members of the East Lothian Team, Jen and Larraine, took on our annual DARED Challenge and joined the Circle Team to help support our children and families. Not only did they complete the challenge by running every day in June, but Jen and Larraine were two of our very first official DARED Champions, and provided huge support to the event both in the lead-up and throughout.
In total, the Circle team raised £1,085, showing just how committed our staff are to supporting our children and families. Huge well done to Jen and Larraine for taking on The DARED Challenge 2022!
To read more about the DARED Challenge 2022, visit: https://circle.scot/the-dared-challenge-2022/
Families Affected by Imprisonment (FABI)
It’s been another busy few months for the FABI team. The last few months have seen the team participate in a range of learning and development opportunities, including a two day Person Centred Planning training, which all staff participated in, as well as our Staff Development Day, facilitated by Aileen and Shona.
You can read more about the Staff Development Day: here
The FABI team want to say special thanks to various funders, who are supporting a range of activities and packs for children, young people and families over the summer.
A huge thank you to South Lanarkshire’s Lived Experience Fund for awarding us £500. This funding has allowed us to create 18 calming and self soothing kits for children and young people. We recognise the stresses and pressures children and young people experience, which can have a huge impact on their wellbeing, therefore these interactive and creative packs support them in managing their emotions, alleviating worries and anxieties and strengthening their resilience. They also provide a wonderful sensory experience for children to improve upon their senses and strengthen their abilities.
“(Daughter) benefits from anything sensory, and this little gift bag contained just that variety of sensory toys for her to enjoy. The bubbles and sensory toys were without a doubt her favourite. Bouncing putty has encouraged (daughter) to play catch and bounce, which she has never done before. She really was over the moon with all her gifts.”- Parent
Therapeutic Creative Activities:
“?’?? ??????? ???? ??? ???? ???? ??? ???? ?? ???? ???? ??, ??? ??? ?? ???? ????? ???, ?? ??? ??? ???? ??????? ???????. ??’? ????????? ???, ???? ??? ???? ???? ?? ?? ???????? ?? ??????’? ????? ?????????? ??? ??????? ?? ?? ?????????? ??? ???????!”- Family Support Worker
A description of his drawings include:
- being with others and having support has helped
- going to outdoor places like the heritage park (with the zipline, roundabout and ‘swingy circle thing’)
- walking and being with friends had helped.
- gaming helps him ‘zone out’ and he would maybe want to use computer designs to make a film
- reading and having good sleep
Find out more about how we use play based activities to help our children talk about difficult things they have experienced, such as loss and bereavement: Project Updates
The Parents Forum which took place on Wednesday was centred around the Shanarri indicator, Healthy, with a focus on experiences of loneliness as part of Mental Health Awareness Week. The Parents shared their own personal experiences, and how this impacted their mental health.
Groups such as the Parents Forum help reduce social isolation amongst our families, and provides coping mechanisms to help them build on our mental wellbeing and resilience. The group finished with a meditation from Jan, to support parents going forward.
You can read more about the Parents Forum here
Any questions about our FABI project can be sent to the Project Manager – Georgina.Lyttle@Circle.Scot
Support Circle’s Work
Without your support our projects could not deliver the innovative, and vital, work that you have just read about. Making a lasting difference to the lives of children, and families, affected by poverty and struggling with social inequality takes time, patience and high quality staff.
Please consider making a donation that will change a life here.
Or you could take on a challenge to support our work, why not take a look at our fundraising events here-https://circle.scot/support-us/fundraising-events/
Want to know more?
Project Annual Reports: Circle have always been keen to share our experience and knowledge and so these reports are also used in reporting to partners, funders and local authorities. Here is a link to all of our 2021 reports :