Corporate Appeal

30th October 2018

Introduction

Befriend a Child supports children and young people growing up in difficult life circumstances in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. We help them develop into confident adults and achieve their potential. We are Scotland’s oldest and Aberdeen’s only dedicated 1:1 befriending and mentoring service for disadvantaged children and young people. We have a reputation as a professional, reliable and beneficial service. 

Our children

The children we support face extremely difficult circumstances in their everyday lives. They are at risk of failing to achieve their potential, of being excluded from school, bullying and stigma, unhappiness and loneliness. Their home environment is often chaotic. They are dealing with parental drug and alcohol use; bereavement; illness in the family; poverty; physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse; neglect and trauma. Some will be carers for parents or siblings and one in eight will be in care or living with grandparents or relatives. 

As young adults they may begin lives of social exclusion, possibly crime and anti-social behaviour if they are not given support to expect more from life and the confidence to try. We help them increase their self-esteem, reduce their social isolation and develop new life skills and interests. With our support, many transform their lives.

Arran’s story

Arran was referred to Befriend a Chid when he was nine. At home it was dangerous; his dad was often drunk, aggressive and violent. His life was severely limited, he existed between home and school, seldom going out to play or have fun. 

Arran would come across as confident but dig deeper and you would see a lot of pain and misery from which he had little opportunity to escape. Initially, his parents were suspicious of Befriend a Child. They didn’t want anyone to know what was going on at home by allowing an outsider to get close to the family. However, that changed when the aim of the service was explained, and they heard about other children who benefit from befriending.

Arran has had a befriender for over a year. He has had a chance to try lots of new things, such as bowling, swimming and hillwalking. He has activities and outings to look forward to and get excited about. At school he has grown in confidence and self-esteem. He has more in common with his classmates and they are more accepting of him. Arran always looks forward to seeing his befriender. Without Befriend a Child, he might still be stuck at home, isolated at school and miserable. No child deserves to live like that.

This Autumn we need to raise £50,000 to help children like Arran. Will you help?

Our Befriending programme

Our befriending programme supports more than 250 children each year. Children are referred to us by social services, teachers and other third sector organisations. We match them with volunteer befrienders who meet with their child every two weeks and they spend 3-4 hours together enjoying activities in the community based on the child’s interests. 

At the heart of the befriending programme is the 1:1 relationship built up between the volunteer befriender and their young person. Our volunteers act as positive role models for these children and young people. As well as introducing them to new activities and experiences, and showing them how to behave in public, they offer consistency, friendship and non-judgemental support. This can build confidence and open their eyes to a new way of life, thus laying the foundation for a more responsible and independent adulthood. 

Our impact

Having been involved with thousands of children over the years we know our befriending programme can make a huge difference, both in the short term and long term. Last year 80% of our volunteers stated that their child had improved self-confidence/self-esteem since they began working together: befriending had broadened the children’s ambitions. 

The fact that the average befriending relationship lasts for 2.5 years shows the value and commitment placed on the relationship by both the child and volunteer. From feedback we know that our support has enabled many of our beneficiaries to move forward into a responsible and productive adulthood.  

Through having a positive adult role model and the chance to enjoy new activities and experiences, befriending has a measurable positive impact: 

  • With the on-going support of our volunteers, confidence and self-esteem grow
  • Children become more positive as they build trusting friendships and try new things
  • Children have greater social inclusion through participating in group activities such as playschemes, outings and group sessions
  • Behaviour, social skills and communication skills all improve as they earn respect and learn how to respect others
  • They develop resilience and are better able to cope with the many challenges they face
  • School performance improves, they are accepted by their peers and are less likely to suffer bullying or stigma at school 

How your support will help

Currently we have 50 children waiting to be matched with a befriender and we receive new referrals every day. Before the end of the year we aim to raise £50,000 to make sure these children receive the help they need. That’s why we are appealing for your help.

Your support can be in the form of a one-off corporate gift, a monthly donation or a pledge to raise an amount via employee fundraising.  Our dedicated fundraising team at Befriend a Child are here to support you all they way.  

For each £1 we raise, we spend 70p on our service delivery, and for each £1 we spend on befriending we deliver benefits valued at £6.13, so you can be confident that your gift will be used to create the maximum possible impact.

Further information and contact details

To discuss this appeal please contact Richard Stewart, Head of Fundraising and Marketing Email: richard@befriendachild.org.ukTelephone: 01224 210060.

Please help children like Arran by supporting Befriend a Child this Autumn. Your gift won't change the world, but it will change the world for Arran and children like him.