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Aberdeen charity Archway launches major campaign to mark 30 years of support

Phyllis and Kenny Simpson with daughters Laura and Rachel.
Phyllis and Kenny Simpson with daughters Laura and Rachel.

A charity which provides vital support to almost 200 families is launching a major campaign to celebrate its 30th anniversary.

Aberdeen-based Archway has spent the last three decades caring for children and adults with learning disabilities through a variety of schemes.

Since opening its first care home on Westburn Road in 1990, it has grown to include respite breaks, a holiday home in Nairn, day activities and a weekly social club.

Last year it opened a supported living service at St Margaret’s Place in a refurbished bungalow, which helps four adults with learning disabilities to live as independently as possible.

The organisation is now planning to give everyone it helps a “year to remember” with a £30,000 anniversary appeal.

Archway chairman Jim Sangster outside its St Margaret’s Place facility.

The fundraising drive will be used to upgrade one of its respite services and pay for activities, equipment and a special celebration event in the summer.

Janine Davies, the charity’s fundraising manager, said: “Throughout the year our focus is on fun.

Archway’s 30th anniversary logo

“We will be featuring lots of ‘30’-related things, such as 30 stories about our service users, people who are also sharing their 30th birthday and other special occasions with us as well as focusing on those supporting us throughout this special year.

“But we also want to raise awareness of Archway so  even more people get to know about us and the difference that we make.”

Archway was founded by a group of parents in 1986, and still relies heavily on the input from others to guide its direction.

By doing this, the charity says it can support individuals and their families while valuing their unique qualities and respecting their dignity.

Shamina Khatum, left and Janine Davies at the Archway charity shop on Rosemount Place.

Mrs Davies added: “As well as our 30th anniversary appeal, we are laying the foundation for our next major appeal – to raise £250,000 to develop another supported living service so more people with learning disabilities have the opportunity to live as independently as possible with the support they need.”

Archway is looking for teams to take part in a charity golf day planned at Peterculter Golf Club on Friday, May 29.

It is also seeking participants to join the Archway Peals in this year’s Aberdeen Kiltwalk on Sunday, June 7.

To register interest or receive more information e-mail janine.davies@archway.org.uk

Same opportunities

Archway is not alone in turning 30 this year, with Laura Simpson also reaching the milestone.

A few months after she was born, her parents Phyllis and Kenny were told she had the rare genetic disorder cri du chat syndrome.

The couple were told their daughter would never walk, talk or look after herself – and would likely not live past her teens.

But she has since defied expectations – recently celebrating her 30th birthday with a Frozen-themed party.

Miss Simpson has been visiting Archway since she was seven, firstly for respite breaks so that her parents could catch up on sleep and spend time with their other daughter Rachel.

In 2015 she moved into shared care, where she alternated living at home and with Archway in alternating months.

Laura when she was younger

Last year Miss Simpson moved into permanent care at the charity’s Berryden base, which provides her with the 24-hour support she needs.

Her mother said: “The staff are fantastic and have amazing patience – they are always encouraging and know her likes and dislikes.

“They understand Laura’s needs and are sensitive to her feelings and emotions and offer her every support.”

“Laura is a loving, happy, contented young lady who loves socialising and has a great sense of fun.

“And Archway does everything it can to ensure that Laura and everyone else have the same opportunities we all want for our kids regardless of ability.”

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