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Support for parents and carers

Below is a list of services provided by charities and professionals who can help and support you should you need it.

Orkney Baby WalksBaby Walks

Orkney Baby Walks is co-ordinated by NHS Orkney and run by volunteer, trained Infant Feeding Peer Supporters.  The walks are guided and risk assessed.  They are advertised on NHS Orkney Maternity Facebook Page and routes and days/times vary.  They are a sociable way to get fit with your little one!   

The walks are suitable for parents, carers, babies, toddlers and children. 

Community Learning and Development (CLD) Employability Team

The team support young people aged 16-24, including parents, through a variety of ways, including providing one-to-one support from a dedicated Employability Keyworker, group work, skills development, and wage incentive schemes.  

The support offered will be tailored to meet the needs of the individuals we work with, and people will be supported to engage with opportunities, services, advice, and information to support them make informed decisions and make positive steps towards their chosen paths. 

They also work with partners across all sectors, including local employers, to plan, design and deliver employability support and services to meet the needs of the young people and communities we work with.  The support they offer includes; help with employability, mentoring, advocacy / signposting, group development programmes, training and in-work support.

Find out more at


Find out the latest information about childminders in Orkney on the councils Early Learning and Childcare web pages.

Decider Programme

Are you or someone you know struggling with their mental health? Try free online deciders skill programme.

The Decider Skills use cognitive behavioural therapy to teach children, young people and adults, skills to recognise their own thoughts, feelings and behaviours, allowing them to monitor and manage their own emotions and mental health.
Barnardo’s are running the programme throughout the year in April, June, September and November.  This course will run for 4 weeks online and will cover skills for parents/carers to utilise themselves as well as look at how they can use the skills to support their child/young person.
Contact for more information.

Action for Children LogoEmotional Wellbeing Service

Action for Children offers both practical and emotional support to young people and their families, empowering them to implement coping strategies. 

For more information contact – or

Home Start Orkney LogoHome Start Orkney

Home Start works to support families with young children who are facing difficulties. We recognise the ongoing challenges of raising our children in the safest and most nurturing of environments whilst coping with the stresses of ill health, isolation, disrupted relationships, poor and insecure housing, financial insecurity, trauma, and loss. Sometimes, we also just need someone to talk to, to be there to hear us.  By training and supporting volunteer mentors in our communities, we are able to connect with families where they are, on their terms and for as long as is needed to build the confidence and relationships to give all our children the best possible start.

For more information contact contact, call 870770, visit their Facebook page, or visit their website.

Inclusive Orkney LogoInclusive Orkney

Are a brand new charity, set up to support children with additional support needs and their families.  Their key aims include working with different people in Orkney to provide fun and varied opportunities for children with additional support needs, which allow them to engage with others in the wider community.

They also work with a range of agencies to provide robust signposting for families and provide a support network for families and children. Their long-term aim is to establish an indoor and outdoor space where children and families can come to socialise, support each other and, most importantly, have fun in a safe and welcoming space.  Find out more on the Inclusive Orkney facebook page including future weekend clubs and other events.

Nurture and Nourish

Infant Feeding Support – Nuture and Nourish

NHS Orkney Nurture and Nourish is our Infant feeding support service. We have volunteer NHS trained peer supporters who have breastfed themselves and who have taken additional training to support others with breastfeeding, responsive feeding, formula feeding, sleep, expressing and storing milk, introducing foods other than milk, caring for your baby and becoming a parent.

They can provide one to one support via messaging, NearMe or face to face support at our free weekly group, which is currently held at The Life Centre in Kirkwall every Monday morning from 10 to 11.30am. All welcome, refreshments are provided and there is a homely sitting room with lots of toys for little ones.

You will also be contacted by our infant feeding lead and offered peer support after you have had your baby and if you are going off Orkney to give birth.

For more information or if you would like help or support please contact  or join their private Facebook page for a friendly, welcoming and informative space.

In School Counselling Service 

Here to listen, not to judge

This service is funded by Orkney Islands Council. Counselling is a conversation with someone who is trained to listen and help you with issues such as stress, low mood, anger, bullying, relationship difficulties and self-harm.  This conversation is private and confidential, and the counsellor is there to listen not to judge.

Maternity Unit

The Maternity unit has 4 beds, 2 post-natal rooms, and 2 labour and birth rooms, one of which has a birthing pool. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and are located within the Balfour Hospital. 

  • They have a team of midwives , support workers, and obstetric consultants who look after ladies throughout their pregnancy, childbirth and post-natal period. 
  • They also provide a scanning service within the unit. 
  • The team covers the whole of Orkney, including the Isles, and use various forms of technology to link with all patients.  
  • They are a teaching unit and often have student midwives from Robert Gordon University spending some time on placement. 
  • They offer various classes including Aquanatal, Baby Massage, and Antenatal. 
  • They recently won the Scottish Health Awards Midwife Team of the year!

For more information contact – or 01856 888238.  

Orkney Community Directory

If you can’t find the support you are looking for here you can always search the Orkney Community Directory.  Voluntary Action Orkney have put together the searchable directory which has a comprehensive list of community and voluntary groups active in Orkney. Other organisations and services that may be of interest to you are also included.

Visit the Orkney Community Directory to find out more.

Occupational Therapy

The Paediatric Occupational Therapy Service helps children and young people who might need special equipment to help them when at home, or perhaps at school. For example, some children might need special equipment to help them in the bathroom. Or they might need something to help them make a cup of tea. Some children also need special equipment to help them when they are in the classroom. 

Further information is available from the team at the Peedie Sea Children’s Centre, Pickaquoy Loan, Kirkwall, KW15 1BZ or by calling 01856 885593.

Orkney College

They are one of the partner colleges that make up the University of the Highlands and Islands.  They deliver a wide range of higher education, degree, and postgraduate learning options in addition to the traditional base of further education. 

Whether you are a school leaver or haven’t studied for some time, there is something for everyone at Orkney College UHI. 

Find out more on the Orkney College website.  Pages that may be of interest include the course list, the student support page, or the guide for parents in supporting their children take the next steps beyond school. 

Orkney Rape & Sexual Assault Service (ORSAS)Orkney Rape and Sexual Assault Service (ORSAS)

ORSAS supports anyone aged 13+ of any gender who has experienced rape or any other forms of sexual violence at any time in their life, in person or online. They also provide information and support to family, friends, partners and professionals supporting survivors and campaigns to improve services for survivors. 

They offers specialist sexual violence advocacy for people who are in their journey in the legal and court process and their specialist prevention worker delivers Rape Crisis Scotland’s National Prevention Programme to schools and youth settings. They also provide individually tailored prevention in their COMET+ project for care experienced children and children with learning difficulties. 

They can offer training on topics such as consent and child sexual exploitation, and also host an Equality Hub which holds exhibitions on diverse topics. The Hub is a Third Party Reporting Centre for Hate Crime and a Keep Safe space for assistance. 

For more information visit or contact them by email.

Increase your parent powerParent Employability Support

Increase your parent power

The Parental Employability Support Fund (PESF) funded by the Scottish Government is designed to support families on a lower income increase their household income through accessing education, training and work. We can support parents to access paid employment and support those already in work progress to a higher income or access more hours in their chosen area of work.

Our dedicated employability key worker supports parents within the Orkney community access information, advice and opportunities available to them.

This support is available to parents whether they are already employed or are looking to gain employment, and can be offered to parents:

Find out more at


The Paediatric Physiotherapy Service sees all children aged 0 to 19 years to advise and help in recovery from injury, illness, and surgery, and especially with growth related conditions. 

We help, advise and work with babies and children if there are concerns about their development and also work with children who have disabilities to help achieve their full potential.  

Children can be seen at home, school, nursery, Peedie Sea Children’s Centre, and in the hydrotherapy pool.

Further information is available from the team at the Peedie Sea Children’s Centre, Pickaquoy Loan, Kirkwall, KW15 1BZ or by calling 01856 885592. 

Relationships Scotland Orkney 

  • Are you experiencing relationship difficulties or have you recently separated from your partner?  
  • Are you looking for help with parenting?   
  • Are you looking for a way to see children who no longer live with you? 

We offer a range of free and confidential services for parents which could help you, including: relationship counselling, family mediation for separated parents, family support and a child contact centre. You can find our more here, or get in touch to discuss how we can help with your situation: or call 01856 877750. 

Residential Service

Situated in Kirkwall, 8 Rendall Road is our home for a shared group of young people, on an interim, long-term, or continuing care basis, who are unable to live with their families. 

One Braeburn Court provides a home for young people in an emergency, for a short break, or on a short-term basis.  Its purpose is to provide an intensive “wrap around” for young people for a short time. 

The aim of the service is to provide a high quality, therapeutic residential service, whose philosophy and approach is based on attachment and trauma informed practice; building relationships using social pedagogic principles. 

Our culture is based on: 

  • Unconditional Positive Regard for others
  • Nurture, resilience, warmth, dignity, and respect for others
  • Reflective Practice
  • An acceptance that it is ok to challenge
  • Relationship based
  • Attachment based and trauma informed
  • An awareness of the complexities of working with children / young people whose emotional and chronological age do not match
  • A strength based approach – focused on the positives outweighing negative interactions (every negative interaction is balanced by significantly more positive interactions)

Right There LogoRight There

Right There for People

Right There Orkney’s youth counselling programme. We are free and confidential and specialise in counselling for young people up to the age of 25.

Youth counsellors are here to support you through issues such as stress, depression, anxiety, confidence, self-esteem, self-harm, feeling alone, bullying and substance use. Our counselling offers as face to face sessions, we also offer online or telephone counselling. Appointments can be flexible so we can be there when you need us. We can meet you at your GP surgery, at college, at our office or somewhere else which is convenient for you.

For more information contact us at

Right There at Home 

Young Persons’ Supported Accommodation (YPSAS) offers supported accommodation for young people, up to the age of 25, who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

YPSAS supports with developing independent living skills, such as cooking, budgeting, maintaining your tenancy and offers practical, emotional, and therapeutic support.

For referral for the service please contact:  Housing, Homelessness Department, Orkney Islands Council, Kirkwall, KW15 1NY telephone: 01856 873535

Right There in The Community

Right There Wellbeing Orkney service offers practical, emotional and mental health support to people up to the age of 25 and for people of all ages who would are affected by substance use.

We support people in their own homes, or in other community settings and can offer support for those who are waiting on counselling or following the counselling journey.

For more information contact us at

Skills Development Scotland (SDS)

They have a team of Careers Advisers based in Orkney, who work in Kirkwall Grammar School, Stromness Academy, and the three Junior High Schools in Westray, Sanday and Stronsay. They also have a careers centre in Kirkwall where they can meet with individuals who have left school. They work closely with other partners too such as Orkney College and JobCentre Plus. 

In school they deliver group sessions from S1 onwards on various topics such as post-school options and employability, and they can also meet with Senior Phase pupils one-to-one to talk through their ideas for the future.

Find out more on the SDS Orkney website.

Social Workers and Support Workers

They work with children, young people, and their families, when there are concerns about their wellbeing. children, young people and their parents or carers can refer to the service when they need additional support.  

Professionals involved with children and young people can refer to the Children and Families Social Work Service if they have concerns about their wellbeing. It is always best for professionals to have the permission from parents or carers and children or young people, depending on the age and stage of development and their level of understanding before making a referral.  

They offer a range of services to children and young people from pre-birth to the age of 16, and in certain cases, up to the age of 18.  The team also works with young adults up to the age of 26 who are care experienced and work closely with foster carers, adopters, and kinship carers to make sure the wellbeing of children and young people are a priority. 

You can contact them from Monday to Friday, between 9am and 5pm by calling 01856 873535 and asking for the Duty Social Worker. You can also contact them at other times on 01856 888000.  This will take you to The Balfour Hospital switchboard then you ask for the Emergency Social Worker.

Find out more on the Children and Families Social Work Service page.

Speech and Language Therapy for Children, Young People, and Young Adults

Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs) work with children and young people who may have a range of speech, language, communication, and/or eating and drinking difficulties. 

SLTs want to help children and young people become confident and successful communicators. They can help in lots of areas such as speech sounds and intelligibility, understanding language, using language to communicate, stammering and fluency, communicating and interacting socially, and finding other ways to communicate when speech isn’t possible or working well enough. They work with you to understand what is most important and what will make the biggest difference to you.  

SLTs also want to make sure you are able to eat and drink safely and we can help understand why this might be a problem for you. 

Find out more in the ‘How to get help‘ section

Women's Aid Orkney LogoWomen’s Aid Orkney

WAO offer services to women, young people and children affected by domestic abuse both current and historic. 

They have dedicated services;

  • for children and young people aged 3 – 16, 
  • working with women and their children to build and strengthen their relationships, 
  • for women aged 16-25,  
  • supporting women to rediscover their inner strength and recover form the harms of domestic abuse, 
  • offering secure self-contained accommodation in a refuge for women and children fleeing domestic abuse.

Find out more on the Women’s Aid Orkney website.