Shetland Family Information Service   Shetland Family Information Service

Family Support     

family support

We understand that, although very rewarding, being a parent or a carer can also be challenging.  Often a little support can make a big difference.  Every family faces challenges and there are a range of services that can offer advice and support to help families get through these times.  The type of support required will be different for each individual family and some families may find it helpful to have various types of support at various stages.  It is important, therefore, that families have access to a range of services that are flexible enough to offer the right service at the right time.

This section of the directory looks at services for families with children from birth to age 16.  To ensure that parents and carers have access to the right support, a wide range of services have been included, ranging from national helplines and websites to more local group and one-to-one support.  Therefore, whatever the challenge, we are sure that you will find a service that offers support in a way that you are comfortable with listed in this section. 

The Early Intervention Service 

The Early Intervention Service assists children, young people and their families throughout Shetland, providing individually tailored support for people within their own communities.

Early Intervention staff provides help, advice and encouragement across a range of areas such as; strengthening family relationships, creating and maintaining boundaries, anger, increasing self-esteem, emotional wellbeing, behaviours of concern, social inclusion, opportunities for new experiences and support with transitions through various stages of family life.

The Early Intervention Service focuses on building on existing strengths whilst increasing confidence in skills and abilities. Outcomes are identified by all involved and a time limited plan is agreed.

Support from Early intervention is on a voluntary basis. Children, Young People or Parents can self-refer, either phoning for an informal chat first on 01595 744055/ 745306 or by emailing to request a referral form.
Referrals can also be made by other agencies having first of all sought and received full consent of those referred.

However, if you are not sure which services would be right for you, remember that you can always speak with your Health Visitor, with staff at your child’s school or you can Contact the Bruce Family Centre on 01595 745403

Child Protection

Protecting children and young people is everyone’s responsibility.  All children and young people have the right to be protected and safe from harm and we all have a responsibility to help keep children safe.  You may see or hear things which make you worry about a child’s care, welfare or safety.  Everyone has a responsibility to report any concerns they might have about a child.

Please contact:

Duty social worker on: 01595 744421

Out of Hours Social Work: 01595 695611

Police Scotland: 01595 692110

In an emergency when a child has been seriously hurt or injured contact the emergency services by phoning 999.

The Lead Officer for Adult and Child Protection can give general help and advice and provide copies of the Child Protection Procedure. 

Contact: 01595 744435

Fostering and Adoption

The Family Placement Team provides a range of services to anyone directly affected by fostering, adoption or kinship care in Shetland. We provide practical and emotional support to our carers in Shetland. We also provide post adoption support to anyone who has been directly affected by adoption. We assist people in searching for adoptive links, either as the birth child or birth parent.
For more information
Contact: 01595 744000

Independent Advocacy Shetland

This is an independent organisation, managed by a voluntary committee. Staff offer independent advocacy services to all users of health and social care services in Shetland. In particular the service is for those most at risk of exclusion through inability to represent their own interests.
Contact: 01595 743929

Shetland Breastfeeding Group

Have you had a baby in the last 12 months?  Are you breastfeeding a baby or toddler?  If you are then please come along to the Shetland Breastfeeding Group at the Bruce Family Centre, Lerwick Fridays 12:30-2pm We meet in the playroom where there are lots of toys for your children and you can have a cup of tea, chat to other breastfeeding mums and relax.
Contact: 07789829388

National Breastfeeding Supporter Helpline: 0300 1000210

Play Therapist

Play therapy allows children to express their difficult feelings in a safe and supported space, using play and creative art techniques.   The therapist also offers a service of parent and carer support, when families may  need some extra support.
Contact: 07557979579 

Parent Link Shetland

Parent Link Shetland supports parents and carers by delivering voluntary training programmes throughout Shetland with the aim of helping parents develop their own skills to bring up confident, happy and cooperative children. Our courses are run by locally based facilitators with assistance from Parent Link Volunteers at times and locations to fit in with family life. We offer a wide range of courses for parents and carers of babies to teenager and all between. We work in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere not judging parents or telling them what to do. 
Contact the Parent link Coordinator on: 01595 743952

Adult Learning

Adult Learning support adults and young people who:

  • Are returning to learning and preparing for work
  • May not normally take part in learning
  • May have low initial qualifications
  • Speak English as an additional language
  • Want to improve their knowledge and skills in communities throughout Shetland

Contact: 01595 743888

Bruce Family Centre, Lovers Loan, Lerwick

The Bruce Family Centre provides support services to parents and carers who are either bringing up, or looking after children.  Support with the challenges of parenting is readily available either through group work or one-to-one sessions.  Promoting play is an important aspect of children’s development and there is a range of facilities available to encourage this.  The Bruce Family Centre is the base for teachers who work with preschool children at home, as well as children and young people who may be experiencing difficulty in accessing school.

Pre-School Home Visiting Service is designed specifically to support pre-school children and their families. Any child with needs, which affect their educational development, may access the service. There is currently a Pre-School Home Visiting Teacher and a part time Early Years Worker, based at the Bruce Family Centre but working in preschool settings and homes all over Shetland. Their roles are as varied as the needs of the children they support but will include working in close partnership with parents, teachers, pre-school managers and other agencies such as Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists and Speech and Language Therapists to ensure that pre-school children with Additional Support Needs access the support they need.

For more information please contact:  Pre-school Home Visiting Teacher.

The Home Link Service is based at the Bruce Family Centre. The service provides: Support to schools to encourage parental involvement in children’s learning. Direct support for children, young people and families where there is an identified additional need , beyond what the school is able to offer, such as arrangements for home tuition due to ill health, or support to families who choose to home educate their children.

Triple P Parenting Programme There are people trained in Triple P who work in different services and settings in Shetland.  Programmes are run to help parents and carers with the sometimes challenging task of bringing up or looking after children.

For further information on any of those services
Contact: Bruce Family Centre 01595 745403

Family Support - National Information

Aberlour Child Care Trust
Works in Scotland, with and for, children, young people and families who need additional support, to promote their development and wellbeing.  Provide advice and support for parents.
Contact: 01786 450335

Action for Children
Supports some of the UK’s most vulnerable and excluded children, and works in partnership to develop services in response to the needs of local children, young people and their families.
Contact: 0300 1232112

Works with the most vulnerable children and young people, helping them transform their lives and fulfill their potential.
Contact: 0131 4467000 

Works to give every child in Scotland a safe and secure childhood by supporting families under stress, protecting children from harm and neglect, helping children recover from abuse and promoting children’s rights and interests.
Contact: 0131 4462300

Compassionate Friends
An organisation of bereaved parents and their families offering understanding, support and encouragement to others after the death of a child or children.  They can also put you in touch with your nearest local contact and provide you with information about services.
Contact: 0845 1232304

Offers support for families with excessively crying, sleepless and demanding babies.
Contact: 0845 1228669

Families Need Fathers
Provides support to divorced and separated parents, irrespective of gender and marital status, on shared parenting issues arising from family breakdown.  The primary concern is to maintain the child’s relationship with both parents.
General Enquiries 0131 5572440
Helpline 0300 0300363

Family Links
Promotes emotional literacy, nurturing and relationship skills in families, schools and communities.  Family Links’ aim is to help everyone - children and adults alike – get the best out of family life.
Contact: 01865 401800

Established specifically to prevent bullying and child sexual abuse and is committed to keeping children safe from abuse.  The helpline is for the use of parents, guardians or concerned relatives and friends of bullied children.
Contact: 08451 205 204

Family Lives
A national charity that works for, and with, parents to offer help and support through an innovative range of free, flexible, responsive services – shaped by parents for parents.
Contact: 0808 800222 

One Parent Families Scotland
A national voluntary organisation working on behalf of lone parents and their families.
Contact:  freephone 0808 8010323      

Parent Network Scotland
Works through a network of parent facilitators in the belief that the best people to help parents are other parents.  The network also provides information and other resources to parents and professionals.
Contact: 0141 9480022

Parenting Across Scotland
A partnership of voluntary organisations which use their experience of working with thousands of parents to find ways of supporting parents and families better.
Contact: 0131 3198071

Positive Parenting
Provides a wide range of parenting courses, handbooks, and other resources which are used in schools, children’s centre’s, community groups and prisons.  These  are well grounded in research but have a practical, common sense and ‘user friendly’ approach, which is very accessible and popular with parents.
Contact: 805 - 648 - 6846 

Scottish Adoption
Offers information, counselling and support to anyone who has adopted, has been adopted or is interested in adoption.
Contact: 0131 5535060

Scottish Cot Death Trust
Supports families affected by cot death and provides education on the topic for both the public and health care professionals.
Contact: 0141 3573946

Relationship Helpline
Provides relationship counselling and early intervention to people of all ages and stages in their relationship.  Services are for the whole community without exception.  Also offers specialist relationship services for young people and young parents. Provides support and information for all members of stepfamilies and those who work with them.  Helpline operates to supply information, advice and support throughout Scotland.
Contact:  0808 8022088

Stepping Stones for Families
Provides support, opportunity and a voice for families and young people living in disadvantaged communities.
Contact: 0141 8496333

Twins and Multiple Births Association
Provides information and mutual support networks for families of twins, triplets and more.  Operates a Freephone helpline, Twinline, a national, confidential, support, listening and information service for parents and for the professionals involved in their care.
Contact: freephone 0800 1380509

National Childbirth Trust
NCT is here to support  parents, giving them accurate, impartial information so that they can decide what’s best for their family. We will introduce them to a network of local parents to gain practical and emotional support.
Contact: 0300 3300700  

Family Support Helpline

Bluebell at Parentline Scotland
Postnatal depression telephone helpline.  All calls answered by specially trained volunteers.  The helpline means that for the first time anyone affected by postnatal depression has easy access to support.
Contact: 0800 345 7457

Childline is a free helpline for children and young people in the UK.  Children and young people can call to talk about any problem – counsellors are there to help you sort it out.
Contact: 0800 1111 

Lone Parent Helpline Scotland
Free, independent helpline for lone parents and anyone affected by issues surrounding one parent families.  The helpline offers free, confidential information and publications on the key issues faced by lone parents or family members.
Contact: freephone 0808 8010323

NSPCC Child Protection Line
The NSPCC campaigns for children’s rights and safety and lobbies key decision makers who can affect children’s lives.
Contact: 0808 8005000

Parentline Scotland
At some time all parents find that parenting can be difficult, stressful, and even impossible.  Parentline Scotland is the free, confidential, telephone helpline for anyone caring for a child in Scotland.  You can call about any problem, however big or small.
Contact: 0800 0282233 


BBCi Parenting
Offers practical solutions to help with the challenges of everyday parenting – great features, expert advice, and tips and support from other mums and dads. 

Focuses on helping young children overcome the increasingly widespread problem of bullying, merging an interactive games-type environment with accessible content.  The site is open to victims of bullying as well as bullies and allows those affected to learn from other people’s experiences.

Bullying Online
Provides help and advice for pupils, teachers and youth leaders on tackling bullying as well as a problem page for children.

Dad info
Website designed to give dads a free and permanent source of the information they’re likely to need – from pregnancy, birth and babies to financial, legal and education info – from a dad’s perspective.

A practical internet safety programme website for schools, young people, parents, and agencies, produced by the children’s internet charity Childnet international.

A local network for mums with a wealth of information and advice on being a mum or dad in your local area.

OK to Ask
A database set up by Parenting Across Scotland where you can look for help with parenting and family issues.

Designed to encourage parents to help their young child develop by playing, talking and reading with them.

Talk to Your Baby
Talk to Your Baby is a campaign run by the National Literacy Trust to encourage parents and carers to talk more to children from birth to three.

Do you think you know who you’re talking to online and where to go when you’re worried?  This website gives information on how to stay in control of online risks and to report abuse.

UK based website for parents (and parents to be) of Twins, Triplets, Quads and more.  Contains advice, information and a comprehensive list of links to other multiples websites.

Updates and amendments to information should be notified to  

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