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What We Do

Children and Families Service

Firsthand Lothian provides support to parents with children with disabilities, lone parents, and families in need in their own home on a regular basis.

The aims of the service are:

• To provide stimulating and developmental play opportunities to children, in a safe and happy environment

• To strengthen families by improving parents' / carers' well-being through regular breaks

To increase skills and confidence in both parents / carers and their children

The service operates within Edinburgh and with the Early Years service funded by the City Of Edinburgh Council. Other services are dependant on grant and trust funding received.

About the Service

Firsthand Lothian will provide a trained childcare worker and/or volunteer who will care for your children in your own home whilst you are out. This will allow you time to have a break from routine and you can use this time as you wish. You may want to spend quality time with one of your other children, attend activity/leisure classes or events, undertake a course of study, catch up with friends or simply have some time on your own.

The service is generally offered on a regular weekly or fortnightly basis however we do aim to be as flexible as possible to try to meet your specific needs when required.

What do the workers and volunteers do?

As much as possible, workers/volunteers will follow any established routines that you may have with your children, including bedtime routines.  Workers/volunteers will also plan fun activities to promote your children's development, i.e. creative play, arts and crafts, reading, sports and games.

Who can use the Service

The Early Years is funded by the Ciy of Edinburgh Council and availalbe to any family which meets the criteria of either being a lone parent with at least one child under 5 years old or a family with a child with a disability who is under 5 years old.

Whilst we aim to offer regular respite services to all families with a child with a disablity or / and lone parents we need to seek grant and trust funding to enable us to carry work which will benefit vulnerable families, children and young people. We will update our website as and when we are able to deliver specific and targetted projects to include the referral criteria for each project.

About the Childcare Workers

We have a combination of paid and volunteer childcare workers.  Volunteer's come from all sectors of the community, they are both male and female, aged 18 upwards. For families with more complex needs, we provide paid workers with experience or qualifications in Child Care, Social Care, Social Work or teaching.

How are our childcare workers/volunteers selected?

Our workers and volunteers go through a rigerous interview and selection process. They must provide 2 satisfactory references, a medical reference and be a scheme member of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG).

How are childcare workers and volunteers supported and supervised?

All childcare workers and volunteers receive induction training and on-going training. Workers also receive training to enable them to meet the specific needs of the children including epilepsy, autism etc. All workers and volunteers recieve regular support and supervision from their co-ordinator/line manager through a face to face recorded meeting.

Application Process

Complete the Application for FSW - Sept 16.docx or Contact Us for further details

What happens next?

Once we have received your application form one of our co-ordinators we will be in contact with you to explain in more detail about the service and your particular requirements. Once we have discussed your specific needs we will seek an appropriate match with a worker/volunteer. Please note we are not a crisis service and cannot provide an immediate service.

Feedback from people who have used the service

"A lifesaver. I cannot thank you enough!"

"You guys are so amazing. You are helping us in so many ways - thank you!"