County charity has starring role at Holyrood reception

Representatives of Home-Start East Lothian featured prominently in a Scottish Parliament reception hosted by Iain Gray MSP last week.

Mr Gray welcomed the guests to the well-attended event, which marked the launch of Home-Start Scotland’s “Big Hopes, Big Future” project, which is being introduced in only two areas in Scotland, including East Lothian.

Katy Pollock, Home-Start East Lothian Senior Co-ordinator, talked about the project’s early stages here, and Tranent resident Elizabeth Butler spoke about her experience working as a volunteer for the charity.

Others from East Lothian who were at the reception included Simon Davie, Area Manager for the Fa’side Area Partnership, and Councillor Shamin Akhtar, East Lothian Council’s Education and Children’s Services Spokesperson.

Speaking after the event, Iain Gray MSP said:

Home-Start is a great voluntary organisation which I always try to support whenever I can. This week I was able to help it by hosting a parliamentary reception to launch a new project “Big Hopes, Big Future”. This is designed to work with families with children from 3 – 5 to help ensure they are ready for school when they enter P1.

“There is very robust evidence that children’s different home experience means that by the time they reach school, some face a very significant developmental disadvantage over others when it comes to things like vocabulary or concentration. 

“The project has been developed successfully by Home-Start south of the border and now they are introducing the programme in Scotland, starting in two places, and I am delighted that East Lothian is one of the pilot areas.

“That is down to the track record of Home-Start East Lothian, and the foresight of East Lothian Council’s Fa’side Area Partnership, who have allocated funding to Big Hopes, Big Future.

“As a result, East Lothian had a starring role in the reception, with Co-ordinator Katy Pollock and local volunteers talking about the early stages of the project here. It was a great event, attracting MSPs and Home-Start colleagues from all over Scotland, and all very impressed with our local County Home-Start, and eager to follow in our footsteps.”

Katy Pollock, Senior Co-ordinator, Home-Start East Lothian, said:

“I am delighted that Home-Start East Lothian can be part of the pilot for Big Hopes, Big Future, enabled with funding from the Fa’side area partnership seeing the importance of early intervention.

“The evening was a great success sharing the theory behind the pilot as well as the real life needs and experiences so far. Thank you to Iain for hosting and his continued support for Home-Start East Lothian.”