We understand that, although very rewarding, being a parent or a carer can also be challenging. Often a little support can make a big difference. Every family faces challenges and there are a range of services that can offer advice and support to help families get through these times. The type of support required will be different for each individual family and some families may find it helpful to have various types of support at various stages. It is important, therefore, that families have access to a range of services that are flexible enough to offer the right service at the right time.

This section of the directory looks at services for families with children from birth to age 16. To ensure that parents and carers have access to the right support, a wide range of services have been included, ranging from national helplines and websites to more local group and one-to-one support. Therefore, whatever the challenge, we are sure that you will find a service that offers support in a way that you are comfortable with listed in this section.

The Early Intervention Service

The Early Intervention Service assists children, young people and their families throughout Shetland, providing individually tailored support for people within their own communities.

Early Intervention staff provides help, advice and encouragement across a range of areas such as; strengthening family relationships, creating and maintaining boundaries, anger, increasing self-esteem, emotional wellbeing, behaviours of concern, social inclusion, opportunities for new experiences and support with transitions through various stages of family life.

The Early Intervention Service focuses on building on existing strengths whilst increasing confidence in skills and abilities. Outcomes are identified by all involved and a time limited plan is agreed.

Children, Young People or Parents can phone for an informal chat on 01595 744055/ 745306 or by emailing CRSearlyinterventions@shetland.gov.uk

If families wish to refer to us they should speak to their Health Visitor or School Staff. Referrals can also be made by other agencies involved such as Housing, CAMHS or Women’s Aid among others.

Contact: Children and Families Social Work at Hayfield House on 01595 745306/744055

Fostering and Adoption

The Family Placement Team provides a range of services to anyone directly affected by fostering, adoption or kinship care in Shetland. We provide practical and emotional support to our carers in Shetland. We also provide post adoption support to anyone who has been directly affected by adoption. We assist people in searching for adoptive links, either as the birth child or birth parent.For more information

Contact: 01595 744000

Independent Advocacy Shetland

This is an independent organisation, managed by a voluntary committee. Staff offer independent advocacy services to all users of health and social care services in Shetland. In particular the service is for those most at risk of exclusion through inability to represent their own interests.

Contact: 01595 743929

Shetland Women's Aid

Shetland Women's Aid is a registered charity which provides counselling, support, advice and information for women (all ages) and children and young people (up to age 18) who have experienced, or are experiencing, physical, emotional or sexual abuse.They also offer refuge to women and children needing safe accommodation.

Contact: 01595 692070

Ability Shetland

Ability Shetland is a charity, which provides direct support to children, families and adults with disabilities and additional support needs. Responding to identified needs, we run groups and clubs and create personal programmes for individuals.We help people to improve their physical abilities and enhance their personal, social and relationship skills. We aim to ensure that they have equal opportunities and avoid the loneliness and social exclusion, which often results from disability.To achieve these aims, we tackle the challenge of reaching people in all communities, many of whom are in remote, rural and island areas.

Contact: 01595743900

Relationship Scotland Shetland

Contact relationshipsscotland@shetland.org

Relationship Scotland Couple Counselling

Offers a chance for couples or individuals, who have problems with their intimate relationships, to speak confidentially and in privacy to a trained counsellor.

Contact: 01595 743859

Family Mediation

Family Mediation is a child-focused service which helps to support families who are experiencing relationship difficulties or changes. This may include mediation for parents who have divorced or separated, or supporting grandparents, extended family members or young person’s experiencing relationships issues to communicate effectively to rebuild relationships. Mediation is a neutral and impartial service where families can take time to hear each other, make future focused agreements and reduce conflict.

Contact: 01595 743859

Community Mediation

Community Mediation, provided locally by Relationships Scotland – Shetland, is an internationally recognised effective way of dealing with neighbour disputes. The service aims to provide neutral and impartial mediation to neighbourly or community disputes relating to noise, boundary issues, pets, children or other. The service is free, confidential, independent and voluntary, and any agency or individual can contact Community Mediation. When contacted, mediators will meet for an initial appointment to discuss your side of the story, before reaching out to the other parties involved to arrange the same. Mediators then meet with both parties in a calm, neutral setting, in order to build positive communication and establish ways to ease the conflict. Contact the community mediation team directly on 01595 743859, or through Market House reception on 01595 743900.

CLAN Cancer Support for Children and Young People

Whether as the patient, a relative or a friend, children and young people can face a difficult and emotional journey. Often it is too difficult for them to share their feelings with other family members. CLAN SupportWorkers for Children and Young People offers a confidential service:

  • Providing information
  • Listening to the child or young person
  • Allowing the child or young person to explore his or her difficult feelings in a safe and secure environment
  • Undertake loss and bereavement work

Contact: 01224 647000

Samaritans (Shetland)

Samaritans is available 24 hours a day to offer confidential emotional support.

Contact: 116 123

Some landlines may not allow you to connect through this number, another option is to phone 08457909090


Epilepsy Support Group (Shetland)

We have been running for over 25 years and were established to help support people in Shetland with Epilepsy, their family and friends. We have a small committee who run the group. This committee runs fundraising events, organises talks and training, give advice, support and information to people with Epilepsy, their friends, family and others. We do our best to raise awareness of the condition, dispel common misconceptions and reduce the stigma related to the condition.Contact: 07762448876 or on their facebook page Epilepsy Support Group Shetland

Shetland Stroke Support & Aphasia Support Group

We provide support for people who have had a stroke, their families and carers. People who have had strokes can sometimes feel lonely and low in mood, and we aim to provide social interaction and support, as well as advice and information. The group us very friendly and informal and we meet once a month. In the winter months we meet at the Lerwick Baptist Church at Quoys, where there is plenty parking and good access and facilities for folk who find walking difficult, or who use a wheelchair. In the summer months we go out to various places throughout Shetland using a disabled friendly bus. A newsletter is sent out each month to let group members know what is happening and any stroke related items of interest. If you would like to be on the mailing list for the newsletter or would like more information please contact us on the number below. We also have a website at www.sssg.co.uk

The Aphasia Support Group provides support for people who are having communication problems after a stroke, and also meets once a month, usually at the Independent Living Centre. For further information on either group

Contact: 01595 696201

Shetland Bereavement Support Service (Adults)/(Children)

Offering free and confidential one to one bereavement support to adults and children living in Shetland. For more information, or to self refer, please contact the service directly. More information can be found on our website.

Contact: 01595 743933

Email: sbss@shetland.org

Victim Support Shetland

A free, independent and confidential support service for victims of crime and anti-social behaviour.

Contact: 01595 744524

The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)

The service provides specialist services throughout the islands. Referrals can be made through GPs, health visitors and social workers.

A Consultant Psychiatrist and a Consultant Psychologist both of whom work with children; young people and their families, also make monthly visits to Shetland for clinics.

More information is available on the following webpage https://www.shb.scot.nhs.uk/community/camhs.asp

Contact NHS Shetland: 01595) 743060

Shetland Care Attendant Scheme Caring for Carers:

Shetland Care Attendant Scheme (SCAS) is an independent charity which provides respite relief to carers throughout Shetland. Trained Care Attendants are employed to give carers a break in their own homes. This enables them to have some quality time to call their own, to use as they wish.

Telephone: 01595 743931 or email: scas@shetland.org

RVS Shetland

The RVS is a national charity that provides practical support through the power of volunteering. They help older people to get the best out of life by staying active and connected to their local community.

Contact: 01595 743915

Sexual Abuse Survivors

If your life is affected by sexual abuse, support is available.We have groups for:

  • Survivors, over 18
  • Partners of survivors
  • Parents of children who have been sexually abused by other people

We also offer one to one support and have access to alternative therapies.

Contact: 0774 7097160/07501421843

Family Support - National Information

Aberlour Child Care Trust

Works in Scotland, with and for, children, young people and families who need additional support, to promote their development and wellbeing. Provide advice and support for parents.

Contact: 01786 450335

Action for Children

Supports some of the UK’s most vulnerable and excluded children, and works in partnership to develop services in response to the needs of local children, young people and their families.

Contact: 0300 1232112


Works with the most vulnerable children and young people, helping them transform their lives and fulfill their potential.

Contact: 0131 4467000


Works to give every child in Scotland a safe and secure childhood by supporting families under stress, protecting children from harm and neglect, helping children recover from abuse and promoting children’s rights and interests.

Contact: 0131 4462300

Compassionate Friends

An organisation of bereaved parents and their families offering understanding, support and encouragement to others after the death of a child or children. They can also put you in touch with your nearest local contact and provide you with information about services.

Contact: 0845 1232304


Offers support for families with excessively crying, sleepless and demanding babies.

Contact: 0845 1228669

Families Need Fathers

Provides support to divorced and separated parents, irrespective of gender and marital status, on shared parenting issues arising from family breakdown. The primary concern is to maintain the child’s relationship with both parents.


General Enquiries 0131 5572440

Helpline 0300 0300363

Family Links

Promotes emotional literacy, nurturing and relationship skills in families, schools and communities. Family Links’ aim is to help everyone - children and adults alike – get the best out of family life.

Contact: 01865 401800


Established specifically to prevent bullying and child sexual abuse and is committed to keeping children safe from abuse. The helpline is for the use of parents, guardians or concerned relatives and friends of bullied children.


Helpline 020 7823 5430

General Enquiries 020 7730 3300

Family Lives

A national charity that works for, and with, parents to offer help and support through an innovative range of free, flexible, responsive services – shaped by parents for parents.

Contact: 0808 8002222

One Parent Families Scotland

A national voluntary organisation working on behalf of lone parents and their families.

Contact: freephone 0808 8010323

Parent Network Scotland

Works through a network of parent facilitators in the belief that the best people to help parents are other parents. The network also provides information and other resources to parents and professionals.

Contact: 0141 353 5604

Parenting Across Scotland

A partnership of voluntary organisations which use their experience of working with thousands of parents to find ways of supporting parents and families better.

Contact: 0131 3138816

Scottish Adoption

Offers information, counselling and support to anyone who has adopted, has been adopted or is interested in adoption.

Contact: 0131 5535060

Scottish Cot Death Trust

Supports families affected by cot death and provides education on the topic for both the public and health care professionals.

Contact: 0141 3573946

Relationship Helpline

Provides relationship counselling and early intervention to people of all ages and stages in their relationship. Services are for the whole community without exception. Also offers specialist relationship services for young people and young parents. Provides support and information for all members of stepfamilies and those who work with them. Helpline operates to supply information, advice and support throughout Scotland.

Contact: 0808 8022088

Steppings Stones for Families

Provides support, opportunity and a voice for families and young people living in disadvantaged communities.

Contact: 0141 8496333

Twins and Multiple Births Association

Provides information and mutual support networks for families of twins, triplets and more. Operates a Freephone helpline, Twinline, a national, confidential, support, listening and information service for parents and for the professionals involved in their care.

Contact: freephone 0800 1380509

National Childbirth Trust

NCT is here to support parents, giving them accurate, impartial information so that they can decide what’s best for their family. We will introduce them to a network of local parents to gain practical and emotional support.

Contact: 0300 3300700

Family Support Helpline

Bluebell at Parentline Scotland

Postnatal depression telephone helpline. All calls answered by specially trained volunteers. The helpline means that for the first time anyone affected by postnatal depression has easy access to support.

Contact: 0800 345 7457


Childline is a free helpline for children and young people in the UK. Children and young people can call to talk about any problem – counsellors are there to help you sort it out.

Contact: 0800 1111

Lone Parent Helpline Scotland

Free, independent helpline for lone parents and anyone affected by issues surrounding one parent families. The helpline offers free, confidential information and publications on the key issues faced by lone parents or family members.

Contact: freephone 0808 8010323

NSPCC Child Protection Line

The NSPCC campaigns for children’s rights and safety and lobbies key decision makers who can affect children’s lives.

Contact: 0808 8005000

Parentline Scotland

At some time all parents find that parenting can be difficult, stressful, and even impossible. Parentline Scotland is the free, confidential, telephone helpline for anyone caring for a child in Scotland. You can call about any problem, however big or small

Contact: 0800 028 2233

Useful Websites - Family Support

BBC Parenting

Offers practical solutions to help with the challenges of everyday parenting – great features, expert advice, and tips and support from other mums and dads.



Focuses on helping young children overcome the increasingly widespread problem of bullying, merging an interactive games-type environment with accessible content. The site is open to victims of bullying as well as bullies and allows those affected to learn from other people’s experiences.


Bullying Online Provides help and advice for pupils, teachers and youth leaders on tackling bullying as well as a problem page for children.


Dad info

Website designed to give dads a free and permanent source of the information they’re likely to need – from pregnancy, birth and babies to financial, legal and education info – from a dad’s perspective.


Hands On

HandsOn provides help and practical advice for supporting children and young people's mental health and emotional wellbeing. This website is for parents, carers and people who work with children and young people.



A practical internet safety programme website for schools, young people, parents, and agencies, produced by the children’s internet charity Childnet international.



A local network for mums with a wealth of information and advice on being a mum or dad in your local area.


OK to Ask

A database set up by Parenting Across Scotland where you can look for help with parenting and family issues.


Parent Club

Designed to encourage parents to help their young child develop by playing, talking and reading with them.


Talk to Your Baby

Talk to Your Baby is a campaign run by the National Literacy Trust to encourage parents and carers to talk more to children from birth to three.



Do you think you know who you’re talking to online and where to go when you’re worried? This website gives information on how to stay in control of online risks and to report abuse.



UK based website for parents (and parents to be) of Twins, Triplets, Quads and more. Contains advice, information and a comprehensive list of links to other multiples websites.


Updates and amendments to information should be notified to vas@shetland.org