Aberlour Children’s Charity and Scottish Borders Council to launch new Aberlour Sustain service to support children on the ‘edge of care’ creating eleven new jobs for the region


Aberlour Children’s Charity and the Scottish Borders Council has announced that a new family outreach service, Aberlour Sustain, will launch in the Scottish Borders later this year.  Aberlour will work with the Scottish Borders Council, children, young people, families and local partners to develop a highly responsive service for families at the ‘Edge of Care’.  Aberlour Sustain will deliver the support families need when they need it every day of the year.  The Scottish Borders Council has provided funding to pilot this development for 12 months with a view to informing a strategy for future family support.


This move will create 11 new jobs for the Borders area, with applications now open for the Family Support Team which will help deliver this service. The roles include a Service Manager, Assistant Service Manager, four full-time Support Worker roles, four part-time Support Worker roles, and an administrator. Full details for each of the roles and how to apply can be found by visiting www.aberlour.org.uk/workwithus.


Aberlour Sustain works with children and young people on the ‘edge of care’, providing personalised support and encouragement for families who are often facing challenges at home, at school and in the community. The service will help families to build on strengths and grow in confidence, reducing the need for children to be placed outside the region by helping to build happier and healthier communities.


Throughout the Borders there are approximately 230 children and young people in the care system, with approximately 40 of those living in costly placements outside the Borders’ local authority. The Aberlour Sustain service will help keep children and families together within their local communities and reduce the numbers of children needing to be taken in to care, in turn reducing council expenditure on these services. Aberlour Sustain will initially focus on the towns of Hawick and Galashiels, with provision for wider support considered following this innovative pilot.


Aberlour Sustain has a strong track record, having successfully launched in 2017 in Ross-shire. To date, through intensive work with 14 families, Aberlour has been able to prevent 11 young people from either being taken into residential care or placed in foster care. This in turn resulted in significant cost savings for the council, reducing expenditure on care placements.


Jim Wallace, Director Children and Family services at Aberlour, said: “We know that early intervention works, and if we can reach families soon enough we can prevent them reaching crisis point. Aberlour Sustain is all about providing a service tailored to the needs of each family and their unique set of circumstances.


It works for our families and communities, and it has positive financial implications through reducing the Council’s expenditure had these children required to be placed in care.”


Learning from more than 20 years’ experience across Scotland, Aberlour has carefully designed a family support service informed by consultation with our supported children and families, and we are confident that this new service will help us shift resource from expensive crisis interventions to this earlier intervention support.”


Laura Cherry, a Community Support Practitioner for Aberlour Sustain based in the Highlands shared her experience of working on the service: “I work closely with children aged 8 to 13 years old, whose families are struggling to cope.  Sometimes the children are not great at attending school and their behaviour is challenging, and it’s often what’s going on at home that’s really the problem.


“My day might start with going in to a home and helping them put some routines in place, things like getting the children up, having breakfast, packing schoolbags and getting them out on time to get to school.  Other times I might accompany a parent to a social work meeting and help them to clearly communicate the challenges they’re experiencing so that we can all work together to better support them.


“It’s a great job as no two days are the same, and you can really see how small changes can make such a huge difference, and help keep families together.”


There are many reasons why children and young people are identified as ‘at risk’ of needing to enter the care system. It could be due to the impact of adverse childhood experiences on both children and their parents, parental capacity being compromised and the subsequent children’s behaviour issues this creates.


Key to Sustain’s success is its commitment to personalised and relationship-based support through which the team can help children and families build on strengths and grow in confidence.; they provide encouragement and support over evenings and weekends when other traditional supports are not available. They also offer face-to-face contact, often several times a week, to develop strong relationships and trust with the children, young people, parents, carers and the wider family.  The service will work in partnership with existing services within the Scottish Borders to provide the best possible outcomes for vulnerable children and young people.


Sustain is one of 40 services provided by Aberlour Children’s Charity across Scotland. Working collaboratively with Borders Council, Aberlour Sustain works to provide vital help for families before they hit crisis point, and is an example of how Aberlour’s early intervention helps children remain in their families, schools and communities.


Anyone interested in applying for a role with the Borders Aberlour Sustain Family Support Team should contact jobs@aberlour.org.uk to register their interest.



For more information, please contact BIG Partnership on aberlourcc@bigparnterhship.co.uk or 0131 557 5252.

Notes to editors:

The clock is ticking. Stop children suffering, before it’s too late.

Aberlour is the largest solely Scottish children’s charity, helping to improve the lives of Scotland’s vulnerable children and young people.

Aberlour helps over 7,500 children and families across Scotland, however there are many more that need help and support.

Aberlour’s mission is to reach Scotland’s vulnerable children as early as possible to stop damage being done, before families reach crisis point, before it’s too late. Taking action quickly, significantly improves long-term outcomes for children and young people.

Aberlour provides a wide range of services including:

  • Residential care and fostering: we provide safe, loving homes for children who have experienced trauma and abuse
  • Early years: we give babies a brighter future by building confidence in their parents
  • Disability: we make life easier for families where a child has a disability
  • Recovery: we help parents to recover from drug and alcohol misuse, poor mental health and domestic abuse, so their children can thrive