Hello everyone,

I would like to start with a big congratulations to Julie King, Harbour Project Manager, who had a little boy at the end of January. Julie will be on maternity leave until August but the project is being well looked after by Fiona Burness in the meantime.

The Women’s Outreach Team recently launched a very interesting independent evaluation of their work. I’d like to thank Big Lottery for not only funding such a fantastic and innovative project but for also funding the evaluation that has evidenced so well the impact of this work. Not only has it been a successful project, helping women in crisis make vital changes to their lives and helping vulnerable children be removed from the Child Protection Register, but the evaluation has shown that economically it makes absolute long term sense to invest in alternatives to imprisonment. I would encourage you to have a read if you haven’t already done so. Children in Scotland have also published an article highlighting the work of the project and again it is lovely to see the positive effect this work has had on families’ lives.

We are delighted to have been chosen by The Lawn Bowling League to be their Charity Partner for 2019 and that we have made Leonardo’s final shortlist to be their Charity of the Year. It is so encouraging that Circle’s work with children and families is being recognised as something that people want to help. We couldn’t do the life-changing work we do without your help.

On the flip side of this was the announcement of potential funding cuts by the City of Edinburgh Council. We have been in discussions alongside EVOC and our partners in the Children and Families Network about their proposed cuts to the Children and Families Grants. We understand that there are considerable savings to be made but we are arguing that the proposed £1.25 million savings from this fund would be a false economy as the voluntary sector provides much needed preventative services and brings in additional money through a variety of sources including Trusts and Foundations. I am pleased to say that the Local Authority has agreed to an engagement event where we are hoping that we can have some productive discussions around the reduction in funding and where the priorities’ that have been set can be reviewed.

Finally I would just like to say this will be my last contribution to the newsletter. I have decided to take a step back from full time work and as a result will be leaving Circle at the end of March. I am however leaving the organisation in good hands with Mark Kennedy, currently Operations Manager taking over the role. It has been an absolute pleasure being part of Circle. The commitment and hard work of the staff is inspirational and in the 7 years I have been here it never ceases to amaze me the extra mile people go to support the families they work with. Each year I take such pride in reading the Annual Reports and seeing the outcomes achieved. I fully intend to continue to be part of Circle and will catch up with people at the many opportunities to come together such as the Annual Lecture, Seminars and the Haven Book Launch amongst others. Though there is no chance I will be doing the Forth Rail Bridge abseil – no matter how much our Fundraiser asks.

As always if you have any questions or if you want do get in touch please do so.

Rhona Hunter