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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Charity chief exec to step down after five years

This news post is about 1 year old

Eleanor McEwan joined Home-Start Aberdeen in 2018 and has steered the group through the pandemic

The chief executive of an Aberdeen charity is set to step down after five year at the helm. 

Local family charity, Home-Start Aberdeen, has announced it has begun its search for a new chief executive as Eleanor McEwan steps down from the role. 

The charity supports vulnerable young families across the city to prevent crisis and breakdown. 

Previously employed in social housing and community development for thirty years, Eleanor took the helm at Home-Start Aberdeen in 2018 and has since steered the charity successfully through a global pandemic and an ongoing economic crisis. 

She said it was the charity’s ethos of harnessing the skills and experiences of local families to build community resilience that first attracted her to the role. 

Eleanor added: “I’ve always loved the idea of parents helping parents – living in poverty is an exhausting and stressful experience and having someone to share concerns and anxieties with can make a world of difference – especially during these last few years.  

“When the pandemic struck, our staff and volunteers rose to the challenge of delivering support remotely, and at a time of great uncertainty this made a huge difference to vulnerable families. 

“Many were struggling to access the basics and felt they couldn’t give their children opportunities to play and learn. Some were dealing with relationship difficulties and poor mental health on top of the trials of home schooling – it was bad enough for better off families, never mind those in financial hardship. 

“Being able to meet families face-to-face again was a real landmark moment - we do our best work that way.” 

From organising PR campaigns and finding new sources of funding to meeting families and managing volunteers, no two days are ever the same running the charity. 

“I love the variety of the role,”she continued.  “I’ve been lucky to meet so many different people. It's been heartwarming to hear the feedback from families, something we’re beginning to share more widely, with their permission, on our website and social media - families speaking for themselves is a far more powerful advert for our work than us speaking for them.”  

Aside from a global pandemic and a continued cost-of living crisis, the day-to-day challenges remain. She added: “We’re constantly having to secure enough funding and volunteers, so promotion is a big part of our work.

“We continually review what we do and try to improve or adapt our support in response to feedback from families. The privacy of our families is always a key priority, so GDPR, legal compliance and cyber security are all paramount.”