A highly-acclaimed Hollywood actor has become the patron of a north-east charity that offers vital support to families in challenging times.
Peterhead-born actor and filmmaker Peter Mullan will be the first ambassador for Home-Start Aberdeenshire, which provides practical and emotional support to those with young children.
The charity is a local community network of trained volunteers who provide expert support and work alongside parents to help them cope with the stresses and strains of life.
It has several schemes across the north-east including Home-Start Deeside, Alford and Strathdon, Home-Start Deveron, Home-Start Garioch, Home-Start Kincardine and Home-Start NEA.
They also ensure they have the skills, confidence and strength they need to nurture their children.
It’s services have rarely been more in need than during the current pandemic, which has also taken a toll on the charity itself by curtailing its fundraising.
Mhairi Philip, scheme manager at Home-Start Garioch, said Mr Mullan’s support had come as “very happy news” to everyone associated with the charity.
“To have such a well-known figure to be able to raise the profile of what we do, who we work with and who we support is priceless,” she said.
“This last year has been devastating to us all, but we haven’t stopped supporting those who need our help in whatever way we can – delivering activity packs for families and food parcels, picking up prescriptions for families that couldn’t get out and offering emotional support.
“We have seen an increase in the number of people seeking help from our service, especially from families who have had children born in lockdown, but although the service continues, many of our our charity shops have had to close and all of our fundraising events have been cancelled.
“So having such a high-profile person as Peter Mullan to support us will help us reach out to those families that need help and possibly attract new volunteers as well.”
Mr Mullan is best known for his role in Ken Loach’s My Name Is Joe, for which he won Best Actor Award at 1998 Cannes Film Festival.
He has also starred in numerous blockbuster and cult films such as Braveheart, Trainspotting, War Horse and the Harry Potter series.
The actor said he was “delighted” to be able to support Home-Start Aberdeenshire’s work.
“These are exceptionally tough times for working class families,” he said.
“Covid-19, unemployment and scandalous benefit cuts have made the lives of parents and children around the country increasingly desperate.
“I think a charity like Home-Start, which offers support and advice at ground level, is absolutely vital and I’m delighted to be asked to be a patron.”