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From our postbag of December 30, 2011

Sir,– I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people from the Lothians for all of their support during 2011.

This has been a big year for Action for Children Scotland. We continued to help over 8000 of the country’s most vulnerable children, young people and their families to transform their lives and fulfill their potential at 62 services across the country, from the Western Isles to the Borders - and including the Lothians.

As 2012 approaches, I would like to ask your readers to make a resolution to help children and young people in the local community.

The my.actionforchildren.org.uk site sets out the needs of children and young people in the local area and invites visitors to give whatever they can afford to help us reach our goal.

If readers aren’t able to donate money, then there is another fantastic way they can help.

During 2011, over 1500 Scots signed our petition calling for the Scottish and Westminster Governments to increase the amount they spend on identifying children that are at-risk of neglect and intervening before it is too late.

There is still time to sign the petition - readers can do so by visiting www.actionforchildren.org.uk . Or they could become an activist for Action for Children and help us speak out on behalf of vulnerable children and young people from the Lothians.

For some of your readers, the New Year may mean a new career. Action for Children has a team of 64 foster carers working across Scotland with some of the country’s most vulnerable children and young people.

However in Scotland alone there is currently a shortage of over 1700 foster families – I would urge anyone who is interested in becoming a foster carer to get in touch.

Throughout the year we hold a range of fundraising activities – from glamorous bingo nights to zip wire and abseiling challenges.

This year 202 IT experts from across Scotland braved the elements to take part in our biggest ever Byte Night event.

The volunteers slept out in Holyrood Park, raising awareness of youth homeless and over £115,000 to support our youth homelessness services.

Our website lists all the exciting activities we have coming up next year – or perhaps readers could organise their own event for people in the Lothians?

Alternatively people can ‘’donate’’ their time by volunteering.

This would give your readers the opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of the most vulnerable and neglected children and young people in the Lothians; and they can also learn new skills, improve their CV, build confidence and meet new people.

Details are on our website - volunteering really is one of the most rewarding ways to help us.

Action for Children Scotland achieved a great deal in 2011 - but there is still a huge amount of work to be done.

We believe that all children and young people should have the opportunity to achieve their full potential and feel included, respected and valued for who they are - regardless of their age, disability, gender, gender identity, race, religion, belief or sexual orientation.

In return for your readers’ support, we pledge to speak out for the most vulnerable children and young people in the Lothians - for as long as it takes.

Happy New Year from everyone at Action for Children. – Yours etc.,

PAUL CARBERRY

Operational director of

children’s services

Action for Children