AVENUE wins Lottery fund bid

Stephanie Hossack, Arlene Harvey and Jacquie Noble of AVENUE at the Peterhead office
Stephanie Hossack, Arlene Harvey and Jacquie Noble of AVENUE at the Peterhead office

AVENUE has received almost £300,000 grant from The Big Lottery to support their work with children and families across north-east Scotland.

AVENUE provide Child Contact Centres to help parents keep in touch with their children.

In Scotland almost 1 in 4 families are lone parents, in the UK, around 3 million children are from broken homes and each year, 100,000 of them lose contact with their non-resident parent, usually their father.

AVENUE consistently work towards reducing this number, helping families stay in contact.

Elizabeth Wallace, chief executive said: “Our 80 years’ experience of working with children and families tells us that children who are able to develop and sustain a loving, stable relationship with both parents are happier, healthier and better adjusted.

“Some separated parents find it very difficult to share their children’s time and, in some cases, it’s just too hard for parents to see each other after separation.

“For these parents, a Child Contact Centre is a lifeline.”

AVENUE Child Contact Centres have been designed to be inviting, safe and friendly.

They offer a space for children and their non-resident parent or other family members, such as grandparents, to meet and play in a relaxed atmosphere, away from family conflict.

Trained volunteers play a key role in assisting to run the eight centres across the north east.

Contact Centre Volunteers arrange play equipment, welcome families and children on arrival and encourage and facilitate positive interaction between children and adults or siblings.

For parents who don’t want to meet, volunteers accompany the children between parents.

During contact, volunteers keep a close eye to ensure the children are enjoying their time and offer assistance as needed.

Arlene Harvey, Child Contact Centre Manager said: “Volunteering is an opportunity to make new friends, boost skills and make a real difference to people’s lives.

“Our volunteers benefit their community by supporting local families and children to have positive relationships and gain an optimistic perspective about their future.

“Volunteering is also known to give a sense of pride, help us feel better about ourselves, combat low mood and depression and improve our health.

“We value all our volunteers and fully appreciate the contribution they make to us and the benefits they give to the families and the community they support.’

AVENUE Volunteers are given full training, travel expenses and the opportunity to progress in the role.

If you think you would like to become one of the AVENUE family and make a difference, please contact the Peterhead office on 01779 490790 or email peterhead@avenue-info.com for further information.

AVENUE is a family support organisation providing: mediation, counselling for couples, individuals and children and child contact centres across northeast Scotland.

You can find out more about AVENUE at www.avenue-info.com.