CHILDREN 1ST Killen service celebrates silver anniversary

A CHILDREN 1ST service in the Highlands which has helped around 3000 children and young people is celebrating its 25th anniversary next month.

The Killen Family Resource Centre based on the Black Isle has invited those who have used the service or who previously worked there to help them celebrate the milestone.

The celebrations on Friday 9 November will include a history of the service, tours of the centre, a wall of memoirs, a tile decorating art session and music led by the family of a young person who has been helped by the service. CHILDREN 1ST chief executive Anne Houston will also be speaking at the event, which takes place from 11am to 2pm.

Around 3000 children and young people are thought to have been supported by Killen since the centre opened in 1987.

Les Hood, Service Manager, explained: “Helping children and their families to recover from the trauma of abuse has been a focus of the work of CHILDREN 1ST here in Killen. We provide a therapeutic service for children, young people and their families to help them recover from the effects of childhood abuse and neglect. Our work also includes Family Group decision-making, the Kinship Care support service and Mediation in Education.”

Reflecting on the past 25 years, he said: “Our strength has really been building respectful and trustworthy working relationships between staff and families. Over the years we’ve seen children, young people and families gain confidence, get stronger, take charge of their healing and recovery, and access appropriate opportunities for their safe and healthy development. There is no better reward for our hard work than that.”

Among them is 22-year-old Jess, who said: “Going to Killen really made a difference to me. It is a beautiful setting which doesn’t feel at all clinical, with plenty of space to relax and work through your feelings. The staff at Killen were great, they paid a lot of attention to detail to make sure the children and young people going there had everything they needed to feel comfortable.”

CHILDREN 1ST senior fundraiser for the Highlands and Islands Katie Gibb said: “There are a variety of ways to support the vital work being carried out at Killen. You can make a donation, become a volunteer, or get your company involved in fundraising events such as our Christmas hamper campaign – a fun, festive and simple way to generate funds. You can also have a look at the CHILDREN 1ST website for inspiring ideas such as Kilts for Kids, where you can organising your own Scottish-themed fundraising event.”