A good night’s sleep is essential for youngsters, benefiting their mental health, physical health, and learning. But an increasing number of households are unable to provide such basic comforts, said the Orkney Charitable Trust, which supports families by offering financial assistance.
The Trust, formed in 2014 by four local people, distributes support to children and their families across Orkney.
Their new Every Head Needs a Bed campaign, with start-up funding from Scottish Sea Farms, will deliver beds and mattresses to those families that need help the most and are unable to access other support, said Orkney Charitable Trust Secretary Lynne Spence.
‘This initiative evolved from our Every Child Should be Warm in Bed project, which gave out warm bedding bundles. We started to hear about children who didn’t have suitable beds, or that their beds had broken.
‘We realised we needed a separate fund so put in a bid to Scottish Sea Farms and were awarded £5,000, which we really appreciate.’
Spence said the Trust got together initially to try to make a difference to families and young people in Orkney who are disadvantaged, in ill health or just struggling.
‘It started off with our Every Child Deserves a Christmas grant, aimed at reducing festive poverty by giving donations of £50 (now £60) per child, which exceeded £21,000 last year alone.
‘We did this through a referral system, which worked very well, so we’ve built on this. We’re just volunteers and don’t work directly with the families, but liaise with our partner charities and organisations locally, who deliver some great support and help to families.
‘We always encourage agencies to look for statutory help first, and the Scottish Welfare Fund Crisis grants can help in many cases. However, not everyone can access funds, so we will target the people who don’t have access to any other help.
‘We try our best to align our fundraising and support where it is needed. Local children can access our ongoing Help from Home funds to help with hospital costs and Bairns Need Nappies through their health visitor.
‘In the past year, we have also delivered Spring Grants and Coats for Kids, but we can only do what we can through the tremendous support of our community, through both donations and referrals.’
The bed campaign will be up and running in the New Year, with items distributed on the basis of referrals to the Orkney Charitable Trust.
‘Pulling together our community assets is the best way to help these families as much as possible, because I know when we all work together, we can achieve more,’ said Spence.