A north-east children’s charity that helps families create special memories has announced the appointment of their new chief executive.
Kayleigh’s Wee Stars (KWS) which offers grants to families with a terminally ill child so they can spend precious time together, has transformed from a charitable trust to a Scottish charitable incorporated organisation.
The change means the Oldmeldrum-based charity can employ more people and has now appointed its new chief executive, Fiona Heinonen.
Now able to meet the increasing demand for vital support that families need, Ms Heinonen will now lead the charities’ day to day activity.
Having spent years working in the energy sector, Ms Heinonen will combine her business acumen and communication expertise for the charity.
“Time for KWS to ensure we’re here for the long term”
The charity was set up in 2012 by Jonathan and Anna Cordiner after losing their two-year-old daughter Kayleigh to a terminal brain tumour.
She had been diagnosed in December 2011, and her parents took time off work, making it their mission to make her last few months the most special of their lives.
Primary teachers Jonathan and Anna established the charity to help other families in the same position to make memories with their child, regardless of their circumstances.
KWS provides grants to families to fund specialist equipment, family holidays or just to relieve any financial strain and allow parents to take time off work and enjoy precious time with their child.
Founders excited for future
Mr Cordiner, said: “It’s been a tough couple of years for everyone, but we have done our best to carry on supporting the families across Scotland who have needed our help.
“As a small charity, we’re very grateful for the unwavering support of our fantastic group of long-term local partners and fundraisers, who have continued to champion our cause whilst facing their own challenges during Covid-19.”
He added: “Without them, we wouldn’t have survived, and because of them, we’ve been able to help 86 families with grants totalling almost £130,000 over the past 2 years.
“Now it’s time for KWS to ensure we’re here for the long term, and we’re excited to have Fiona on board as we start that journey.”
Ms Heinonen said: “The work that Jonathan, Anna and the trustees have done over the past 9 years is phenomenal.
“Supporting hundreds of families across Scotland during the worst of times, helping them make cherished memories or easing their financial burden so they can spend precious time with their child without the worry of money.
“Doing this whilst working full time, running businesses, raising families and facing their own challenges – I’m not sure they know what an amazing achievement this is.
“It’s a privilege to be the first chief executive officer of KWS and as they celebrate their 10th anniversary in 2022, I will be proud to lead the charity into its next decade, ensuring it continues providing vital support for many years to come.”