Befriend a Child (Aberdeen, )


  • Name:Debbie Thomson
  • Title:Mrs

Organization Address

  • Organization Name:Befriend a Child
  • Address:9 Bon Accord Square
    Aberdeen AB11 6DJ
    United Kingdom

Organization Phone

  • Main phone:01224210060

Organization Web

User Email


Click map for a full size active view.


  • Mission:
  • Befriend a Child works to support children and young people growing up in difficult life circumstances, across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, to develop into confident adults and achieve their full potential. Our Core Values are: Individuality, treating every child/young person as an individual regardless of gender, age, ethnicity; Resilience, ensuring that all of our children/young people overcome disadvantage by promoting safe, healthy relationships and new experiences; Inclusion, respecting views and opinions of children/young people, volunteers and staff; Integrity, committed to delivering our work openly, transparently and in the best interests of those we support. Fun, having fun is an essential part of growing up and this is the common thread which is woven through all of our activities; Equality, committed to promoting equal opportunities, preventing discrimination in delivery of services to children, young people and families and in our employment practices.

  • Overview:
  • Our charity’s motto is “Turn a Frown Upside Down” and our core service is a 1:1 befriending scheme which provides each child referred to us with a Volunteer Befriender, who meets with them on a fortnightly basis, for two to three hours at a time, and for a minimum of 12 months. Those we support often come from troubled family backgrounds where they may experience challenges and difficulties, parental drug and alcohol abuse, physical, sexual and emotional abuse, neglect, inconsistent parenting, and financial and/or physical problems. Our services are designed to support these children and young people to manage these challenges and reduce risks and our key objectives are to: Increase their confidence and self-esteem; Reduce their social isolation; Develop new life skills and interests; Develop resilience to reduce the impact of issues, such as parental/sibling drug and alcohol use; Help them realise their potential. Our recruitment, induction and training programme ensures that volunteers are carefully matched to a child or young person and that they are equipped to develop healthy, happy and nurturing relationships. The Volunteer Befrienders act as positive adult role models and introduce these youngsters to new fun, everyday activities and experiences which most people would take for granted but because of their family and home circumstances it means that these are not realistic expectations. These activities can range from going for a walk in a local park, visiting the beach for an ice cream, attending a football match, enjoying a meal in a local restaurant, going to the cinema, going shopping or learning to swim. The Volunteer Befrienders offer friendship and non-judgemental support which can build confidence and open their eyes to a new way of life, thereby laying the foundation for a responsible independent adulthood.
    Our monitoring and evaluation system measures the impact of our services through surveys, qualitative observations, case studies, etc. All have consistently shown how our services have positively impacted these children’s lives. The average befriending relationship lasts for 2.5 years and shows the value and commitment placed on the relationship by both the child and volunteer. Through the recruitment and development of our Volunteer Befrienders we deliver a high impact service with positive outcomes at a comparatively low cost per child. Children’s Feedback – evaluation indicates they feel listened to, valued; loneliness is reduced; relationships improved; reduction in self-blame, and how they have been helped through crisis. The following positive outcomes were evidenced by Parent/Carer Feedback in 2014-15: Happier (64%); Increase in Self Esteem (58%); Increase in confidence (27%); Improved Behaviour (18%); Improved Trust (14%). Referrer Feedback also showed: More 1 -1 time (36%); Increased Confidence (34%); Happier (67%).
    All the children and young people we support have the opportunity to attend monthly group activities with their Befriender at our Bon Accord Square Base Unit. This not only offers fun opportunities – such as arts, crafts or baking, board games – but those attending can meet others in similar situations and for many youngster’s bonds and friendships form. All are also invited to take part in events like our annual Summer Outing, Halloween Party and Christmas Party with their Befrienders. This has included summer trips to Camperdown Park where the children enjoy their picnics and there are activities to suit all age groups. As well as involving presents, and good food Christmas parties usually include magicians and dancing. Through sponsorship some children are able to enjoy other types of trips, such as local football matches, activity centres, etc. All give the youngsters a chance to do something they would not normally do and are tremendous fun for all involved.

  • History:
  • Befriend a Child is an Aberdeen based Scottish charity (SC0O5467) formed over 40 years ago under the auspices of the Aberdeen Children’s Panel in order to provide a proactive and preventative approach to children with similar issues as those continually being referred to the Children’s Panel. Having begun life with only 6 volunteers, the charity now has a pool of more than 300 volunteers and works with in excess of 300 young people each year.
    In 2002 the Organisation became independent of the Children’s Panel in order to attract funding for expansion to include children outside the remit of the Children’s Hearing System. Befriend a Child became incorporated as a Company Limited by Guarantee in April 2006 (SC299928) and to this date continues to be an Approved Service Provider to Aberdeen City Council.

    Having started life in a small office in Albyn Place, Aberdeen, Befriend a Child has seen significant development over the past 40 years. In 2002, when Aberdeen City Council sold the building the charity relocated to Rubislaw Terrace before moving once again in 2007 to its current premises at 9 Bon Accord Square. On the 3rd March 2014 our first charity shop was opened in Holburn Street, Aberdeen.

    Across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, we continue to work to support children and young people growing up in difficult circumstances to develop into confident and competent adults and to realise their full potential. It is Scotland’s oldest and this area’s only 1:1 befriending service for deprived and vulnerable children and young people and in 2015 we worked with 323 youngsters – an increase of 73 (29%) on the previous year. We are currently receiving an average of 16 new referrals per month and our waiting list at the end of September stands at 51 children (40 boys and 11 girls).
    Over the past five years Befriend a Child has developed a number of new projects to expand and complement its core befriending service to further support children, young people and their families. These include: School holiday Play Schemes that evolved as result of learning that many disadvantaged children entered the child protection register after school holidays. The school breaks can be isolating and boring and for those experiencing the physical and social effects of poverty and disadvantage our Playschemes offer a safe place, enabling them to connect with friends and sympathetic adults to enjoy play and experiences that broaden their horizons, giving them more memories to share and also act as a diversion where in some areas anti-social behaviour is escalating. Holiday Hunger Food Initiative – Alongside our Holiday Playschemes, with the support of local suppliers, we have set up holiday lunch clubs for those who are living in poverty or abject poverty. This allows families access to cooking and budgeting classes as well as a hot meal during the school holidays. Youth Clubs – now into our second year we are running in two Aberdeen neighbourhoods (Torry and Northfield) which rank amongst the most deprived on the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD). The majority of our referrals come from these areas and the activities offer structure and aim to help them develop better social and emotional skills as well as giving them ‘somewhere to go’ to avoid anti-social behaviour. Teenagers also sit longer on our “waiting to be matched list” and these Clubs offer a way for these children to get immediate support. Kinship Care Group - During the past 12 months we have supported over 300 children and young people, 25% of whom are living in kinship care families and of these 94% are living with their grandparents as their main carer as a direct result of parental drugs and/or alcohol use or other abuse. This is Aberdeen’s only kinship carer support group for those who have taken on the full-time parenting role for their grandchildren. Befriend a Child Youth Council was formed at the end of 2015 as a result of engagement with our young people to get their views and feedback our services. The group (aged 11-16) forms a collective voice on matters that are felt to directly affect young people which has informed our future plans.

  • Year established:1975
  • Endowment:Unknown


  • Organization type:Grantseeker
  • Country of registration:United Kingdom
  • U.K. Charity Commission ID #:05467 - Scottish Registered Charity