turn a frown upside down

At Befriend a Child we support children and young people growing up in difficult life circumstances across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire to achieve their full potential and develop into confident and competent adults.

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Hannah is 6-years-old. She lives in a one-bedroom flat in a multi-storey block in Aberdeen with her mum who has been known to Social Work since 2009. 

Mum has a history of substance misuse and is currently receiving treatment for heroin addiction through a methadone programme. As a result of her issues, she often shakes and sweats and finds it difficult when taking Hannah out in public as she is very self-conscious and gets embarrassed about her appearance. 

Hannah has been subjected to inappropriate adult conversation throughout her young life and has been exposed to substance misuse since she was born as she has close relatives who are also substance misusers who regularly visit her mum.

As a result of what she has experienced, Hannah is a very quiet girl and can be very guarded as she is worried that she may betray her mum and close family by disclosing information they have asked her to conceal. 

Hannah was referred to Befriend A Child towards the end of 2012 and was matched with a female volunteer befriender, Jane, in January 2013. From the very first home visit they seemed to get on really well and on their first outing they went swimming which Hannah absolutely loved. 

Hannah and Jane also attended the Easter baking session at the Base Unit where they made and decorated lots of fairy cakes in pink icing and sprinkles as Hannah just loves everything pink. She was very excited about taking her cakes home to let her mum see what she had made.

It is still relatively early days for Hannah and Jane, but through Befriend A Child’s services, Hannah is now being given the same opportunities as her peers and is greatly enjoying the new activities - such as going to the cinema, playing in the park and building sand castles on the beach - she and Jane have experienced so far.

As a result of her befriending relationship with Jane, Hannah’s confidence has gradually improved, she has made more friends at school and she is beginning to enjoy life and just being a child again.


Darren is 8-years-old and was referred to Befriend a Child because his home life was very unstable.

His parents were in their forties when he was born. Four years later their marriage suddenly broke up and Dad went to live outwith Aberdeen with a new partner. 

Darren only saw his dad infrequently during school holidays and he struggled not having a father figure around. Mum found the situation difficult too and Darren’s behaviour drastically went downhill - so much so that she had to seek some professional help as she struggled to cope.

Then, Darren’s Dad died suddenly last year, leaving him feeling devastated and socially isolated. He was very confused and upset about the whole situation and this began to manifest itself in his increasingly challenging behaviour, both at home and at school.

Darren received counselling regarding his father’s death and also underwent an assessment to see if he had Autism. This was a very stressful time for him with so many professionals asking him questions and taking an interest in his life and he only had his mum to turn to as no other family members live in Aberdeen.

Darren was referred to Befriend a Child by his teacher and was matched with a volunteer befriender, James, in early 2013. Since the start of their befriending relationship there has been a marked improvement in his behaviour and he is far happier in himself than he was before.

James has been a reliable, caring, positive adult male presence in Darren’s life – something he has been missing for the past four years, and particularly since the death of his father.

They have spent time playing football in the park, at the golf driving range, visiting Codonas’ Fun Fair, going to Pittodrie to watch Aberdeen FC and Darren’s favourite, walking James’ dog in the forest.

Darren and James also attended Befriend a Child’s summer outing to a wildlife centre in Perthshire – the first time he had left Aberdeen since the death of his father.

Darren is far more settled now and is getting on much better with his mum and fitting in well at school. He knows that James is there for him to talk to if he ever feels things getting on top of him or is confused with how he is feeling.