Choices Aberdeen is a local, registered charity which has at its heart the promotion and support of positive relationships in the City of Aberdeen. Relationships shape all our lives and impact our individual health and well-being and that of those in our families, communities and also our society at large. Despite the documented importance of social connections and relationships, the UK rank among the lowest in Europe when it comes to developing and maintaining relationships.
‘The amount and quality of social connections with people around us are an essential part of our well-being. The importance of relationships for an individual’s well-being as well as for society more generally cannot be overlooked when making an assessment of the nation’s well-being.’
Office for National Statistics
The Scottish Governments national outcomes have therefore reflected the need for significant support to be given to people in this area. Aberdeen City Council’s single outcome agreements have mirrored these national priorities and their Health and Well-being Policy has set out the ’promotion of positive relationships, encouraging respect and responsibility’ as a key priority over the next five years.
Choices Aberdeen has been providing services which promote and support positive relationships for over six years. Our free service provision covers three areas:
- Relationship Revolution – Youth Work
- Youth Counselling Service
- Young Mums – Supporting Mums Under 25 Years
- Therapeutic Listening Service for pregnancy crisis and grief following pregnancy loss
Supporting young people in Aberdeen in their transition to adulthood by promoting the development of positive relationships.
Choices Aberdeen is concerned about the health and wellbeing of young people in Aberdeen. In particular the Choices’ Relationship Revolution team are promoting and supporting positive relationships amongst young people. Often young people move through their teenage years making the transition to adulthood with some difficulty especially in the area of relationships. The ability to develop, navigate and sustain positive relationships is vital to their wellbeing and strengthens their ability to take control of their lives. The team do this by delivering engaging, interactive workshops, facilitating youth intervention projects and providing a youth counselling service.
Currently we provide weekly interventions in St Machar, Torry and Northfield Academies and partner with other organisations who work with young people, for example; Transition Extreme, Aberdeen Foyer, The Girl Guides and other schools and educational projects across the city and shire. Our projects aim to equip young people with the tools to develop positive relationships and other key life skills. More information regarding the workshops we facilitate is available on request and can be tailored to suit the specific needs of each group of young people.
In addition to these workshops, we have also developed material on sexual exploitation, relationship violence and pornography. These workshops aim to raise awareness and equip young people with the knowledge and support they require to identify, avoid and navigate exploitive or damaging relationships.
Youth Counselling Service
Counselling helps young people to navigate their way through difficult times and improves young people’s resilience which contributes to supporting the development of mentally well individuals within our community. Most children grow up to be mentally healthy without counselling intervention, however, many young people have problems with their mental health and surveys suggest that this is an increasing problem, particularly so for young people who are already vulnerable. The Scottish Government has recently highlighted the importance of psychological or therapeutic support of these vulnerable young people.
Choices therefore provide a person centred, confidential youth counselling service providing the opportunity for young people to have a safe place to talk.
Therapeutic Listening Service
Choices Aberdeen provides professional and caring support to see you through the most difficult times. Unplanned pregnancy evokes a huge range of emotions which can result in a feeling of panic and despair. Our team of experienced listeners provide a safe, confidential place for people to talk over their feelings and consider their options. We also provide a free pregnancy testing service.
Choices is also a place of solace and refuge in the midst of grief. In recognition of the grief experienced by many people following; miscarriage, still birth, infant death or termination of pregnancy, Choices offer a grief programme which sensitively leads clients to find strategies to deal with difficult behaviour patterns whilst finding emotional healing.
Young Mums is a Choices Aberdeen Initiative which provides a dedicated support service to teenage and young mums under the age of 25 years. The project aims to increase confidence and improve physical, emotional and mental health and well-being in young mums and their children. Parenting is increasingly the focus of media and political attention and although there may be differing views on how parents can best be supported there is overwhelming agreement that parenting is one of the most influential, vital and yet difficult roles in today’s society. Choices Aberdeen is therefore developing a dedicated support service for young mums under 25 years. The team currently provide two support groups for young mums in the city. These groups value, support and encourage mums to be involved in shaping services they need, promote positive parenting and bonding with their children.
This blog is a new venture for us – we’re excited to get stuck in! We’re going to be using it mostly as a medium of professional development for our staff. A place where they can discuss online with others, research they are conducting and methods of good practice for their field. We will of course also be sharing (where appropriate) activities and events connected the the 3 programs we run. Please use the comments field below to interact with us, hearing from others working in similar fields and discussing our work is nothing but beneficial for us!