Families First St Andrews

Charity registered in Scotland SC032506

Families First is a very small independent charity working with children and their families aged 5 – 16 years who face significant challenges in life living in North East Fife. These challenges include Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD), various learning disabilities, social and emotional problems, mental health issues, caring responsibilities, being looked after away from their family, low self-esteem, medical problems and poverty. Isolation can be a significant challenge to the children we work with due to their personal circumstances and rural location. By supporting these children and their families we aim to: • Reduce isolation • Develop self-esteem • Improve social skills • Improve relationships All of the people we work with are referred to us by external statutory and voluntary agencies. We offer 3 core services - Family Support (adults), One-to-One Befriending (children) and Children's Group Work. Our overall objectives are to strengthen the social and emotional development of children, young people and their parents and carers; so they can become effective contributors to their communities. We do this in a number of ways, by providing opportunities for our service users to explore the challenges they face and gain new experiences in a safe environment with supportive staff and volunteers. In addition to one-to-one support and group work activities, we provide access to events throughout the year through our Family Support Service. These events give families a chance to spend time and have fun together, thus creating lasting memories with each other.


Current opportunities

Volunteers can support our young people in youth groups for 2-hour sessions on a weekly or fortnightly basis. Youth workers support young people, engaging them in activities such as ultimate frisbee, cheerleading, wall climbing, cooking and team games, depending on the interests of the young people. Youth group generally takes place on weeknights between 7.00 and 8.30 pm. We also offer holiday activities during the summer holidays and group work in schools for the young people referred to our service. Those wishing to volunteer must undergo Families First training which includes child protection training and are subject to PVG enhanced disclosure checks. Our children's group work service offers young people a place where they can work through their worries, develop new friendships, and have a social activity where they can feel relaxed in being themselves. In our 2019 survey, 71% of young people told us they - 'are doing better in school'.

Volunteers can become one-to-one befrienders for 2 hour sessions on a weekly or fortnightly basis. Befrienders support children and young people; engaging with them in activities such as baking, swimming, arts and crafts, games or walks along the beach, depending on the interests of the child. Befriending generally takes place between 3.30 and 6 pm on weekdays, after school. Those wishing to volunteer must undergo Families First training which includes child protection training and are subject to PVG enhanced disclosure checks. Our befriending service places value on the individual child and gives them the opportunity to form positive relationships and build up self-esteem. Parents have witnessed the benefits to their children. One parent commented that - 'this service is second to none. It has opened up so many opportunities for my son and has made a huge difference to him'.

As a volunteer driver your role will be to either pick up, drop off, or undertake a return journey, with the children and young people we work with. The children and young people live throughout North East Fife. This service is vital to the children who attend our services as a means of support and time to relax and have fun. The children and young people look forward to attending their activities such as 1:1 befriending or youth groups. These activities benefit the children and young people's social and emotional development. As a driver you will contribute to their overall experience by interacting with the children and meeting their families. All drivers must be over 21, have to complete an application form, undergo an enhanced PVG check, provide 2 referees and undertake training. Drivers will also have to provide evidence of car insurance, MOT, tax, servicing history and driving licence.

Families First is a small independent Charity working with children aged 5 - 16 years, living in North East Fife who have additional support needs. The challenges children face include Autism, poor physical and mental health, social problems such as isolation and poverty. Our overall objectives are to strengthen the social and emotional development of children, young people and their parents and carers so they become effective contributors to their communities. The trustees offer strategic guidance and provide a governance role to Families First as an organisation. The trustees are looking for new members who can offer their skills and expertise to support Families First's mission "Families First work alongside children and young people to overcome the personal challenges they face in life." We are looking for trustees with expertise in finance, fundraising, law and children's work. Along with your skills and expertise, the trustees are looking for people who value the difference small charities can make to local communities.