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Aberdeen charity has helped more than 1,000 children in need of a friend

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An Aberdeen children’s charity has published figures detailing the positive impact it has had over the past 17 years.

The Befriend a Child group commissioned research which found that it has supported more than 1,100 vulnerable youngsters across the city and Aberdeenshire since 2000.

The main focus of the assessment was the charity’s befriending scheme – a service which provides one-to-one support between a volunteer and vulnerable child.

And the analysis revealed that 96% of volunteers said they developed a trusting relationship with the youngster they were placed with.

It also discovered that 50% of befrienders felt that volunteering for the charity had a positive impact on their careers, with some considering a change of occupation after discovering a love for working with children.

The organisation’s head of marketing, fundraising and external affairs, Richard Stewart, hailed the advantages of being able to “clearly demonstrate” the impact of the group’s work.

He said: “Charities increasingly need to place a demonstrable value on their work.

“Having these results will help get us noticed, we will also be able to make Befriend a Child stand out when we apply for funding, enhance our credibility, and engage with sponsors in terms that mean something to them.”

Mr Stewart added that the study, which was carried out by business advisory firm Deloitte, had come at a good time for the charity.

He said: “As the low oil price continues to take its toll on the Aberdeen economy and more people need to make use our services, we are coming into contact with families we would never have seen in the past.

“At the same time, there is a squeeze on funding, which is putting pressure on other charities and we are noticing a growing number of referrals.

“We see ourselves as being the last chance a lot of children have.”

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