Aberlour launches new residential services for children in the Highlands


THREE children’s houses have opened in the Highlands as part of a new drive to protect some of Scotland’s most vulnerable youngsters.

Leading children’s charity Aberlour has opened houses in Inverness and Fort William, and a third property in Tain will begin welcoming children in the coming weeks. Each house provides a home to five children, aged between eight and 18.

It is the first time Stirling-based Aberlour, a national charity supporting vulnerable children and their families, have worked in the Highlands.

Chief executive SallyAnn Kelly said the charity’s houses have opened after a successful search for the perfect properties in the heart of their communities.

She said: “We are delighted to have found ideal houses that will become safe, stable and caring homes to children who really need one.

“We have had great support from our neighbours and the children have already been made to feel part of their communities. We could not have hoped for a warmer welcome.

“These are family homes and the children are part of our family. For some, this may be for a short period, before returning to live with their own family when the time is right. Others will grow up with us into adulthood. All our children will be encouraged to look forward to a happier future.

“Every child deserves the chance to flourish.”

Aberlour provide residential care for youngsters, often in former family homes, designed to provide stability and support for children, who have often endured chaotic, difficult childhoods.

The houses, opened in partnership with The Highland Council, are an extension of the charity’s Sycamore service which already manages five houses in Fife. The children have often experienced trauma, which could include witnessing domestic violence or drug and alcohol use in the home.

The children cared for by Aberlour in the Highlands all come from the region but are not able to live with their families. This may be for a short, planned period while a family gets support so that their children can return. Others will live with Aberlour until they are adults.

The charity has also launched Sustain, a support service in Ross-shire helping families with children on the “edge of care.” Trained staff will work to help and support families under pressure in an attempt to keep parents and their children together.

Lois Stewart, who lives on the Black Isle, has become a huge supporter of Aberlour after the charity discussed buying her house for one of their homes.

Lois, 42, a mum of four, who recently organised five-days of fundraising events for the charity, said: “Unfortunately, the proposal for Aberlour to buy our house didn’t work out but we wanted to show our support for what they are planning in the Highlands.

“People here might not be familiar with the charity yet but they do such amazing work.

“We learned a lot about them when we were discussing the possibility of them buying our home and were so impressed by what they do and how they do it.

“People who had experience of Aberlour or worked with them were universally positive and their model of turning family homes into small residential homes seems exactly the right thing to do.

“If a community embraces and supports these houses it can make such a difference to the kids.”






Notes for editors:


Not all children are born with an equal chance. Aberlour is there for Scotland’s hidden children, when others let them down. Because every child deserves a chance to flourish.

We help by:

  • Offering a safe place to live for children who have suffered abuse and trauma
  • Making life easier for families where a child has a disability
  • Giving babies a brighter future by building confidence in their parents
  • Helping families recover from drug and alcohol addiction, so their children can thrive
  • Working with young people to prevent their problems from spiralling out of control

Our vision is to transform the lives of the children and families we work with and, through this, contribute to building a fairer and more equal society