Annual Report 2020 - 2021

Page 1

2020 - 2021

Annual Report Our family caring for your family


Dyce Aberdeen Airport

1. Airyhall 2. Arrdeir House Care Home

Bridge of Don

3. Broomhill Activity Centre 4. Broomhill Park


5. Craigton Grove




n Do

6. Cloverfield Grove 7. Crosby House 8. Easter Anguston Farm


9. Linn Moor Campus


10. Linn Moor Residential School


11. Mercat Bookshop 12. Northfield Lodge


13. Ruthrieston House Care Home 14. St Aubin’s 15. Westerton Crescent 16. VSA Head Office


Aberdeen Royal Infirmary

University of Aberdeen North Sea

Woodend Hospital

11 16

17. Mountbatten House



10 8





13 14








Cove Bay

VSA Annual Report 2020-2021

CONTENTS WELCOME LETTER..........................................................................................4 HOW WE HELP VULNERABLE CHILDREN AND ADULTS............................... 6 OUR COMMITMENT TO THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY......................................7 OUR PEOPLE, OUR WORK..............................................................................8 CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC...........................................................................10 IMPACT IN ACTION.........................................................................................14 EDUCATION & LEARNING SERVICES........................................................... 15 CHILDREN & FAMILY SERVICES.....................................................................20 ADULT & LATER YEARS IN LIFE SERVICES.................................................22 LEARNING DISABILITY SERVICES.................................................................27 MENTAL HEALTH & WELLBEING..................................................................28 FINANCIAL SUPPORT GRANTS.....................................................................35 VSA CARERS SUPPORT SERVICE.................................................................36 OUR BRAND..................................................................................................42 PHILANTHROPY AND INCOME GENERATION.............................................46 VOLUNTEERING.................................................................................... 54 FINANCIAL SUMMARY................................................................................... 57 THANK YOU TO OUR AMAZING SUPPORTERS......................................... 58 STRUCTURE, GOVERNANCE AND MANAGEMENT..................................... 59


Welcome letter

From Maggie Wilson, Chair of the Board of Trustees, and Kenneth Simpson, Chief Executive.

The year 2020 / 2021 has been dominated by the Coronavirus pandemic. However, in VSA there have been many exciting projects and developments. The expansion of our care at home service and the development of carers respite has meant we can reach even more people with vital services. The completion of our much-needed Mountbatten House mental wellbeing facility – offering residential and outreach support – will also extend our help to so many in our community who are struggling with the impact of addiction and other mental health issues. VSA has, throughout its history, been innovative and forward-thinking in its service provision and never more so than now there is a need to adapt and change to society’s needs as demand increases and financial pressures bite following the Covid-19 pandemic. We have been here to serve the most vulnerable people of Aberdeen and the surrounding area for 150 years – and we will continue to support and assist those most in need for decades to come. Coronavirus As we ventured into 2020, the emergence of the Coronavirus pandemic presented us with one of the most significant challenges we have faced in our 150-year history. Fortunately, in January 2020, our leadership team had identified Coronavirus as a potential risk to the vulnerable people we care for. As a result, we responded early to the potential threat, invested in PPE and initiated our emergency response procedures. We established the Pandemic & Business Continuity Group, consisting of key personnel from across our organisation. We were proactive in monitoring media reports from around the globe, reviewing guidance from the World Health Organisation, and liaising with local and national government to understand the spread of the virus and the impact on VSA and our services. We made a conscious decision to take pre-emptive action weeks ahead of official government advice. This action undoubtedly protected the lives of our service users, staff, and volunteers. It enabled us to continue delivering the best of care to the vulnerable people we care for. Every member of the VSA family played their part – from our incredible and selfless frontline colleagues through to our amazing volunteers. Our IT department, communications 4

team, marketing, fundraising, administration, and finance teams found new and innovative ways to provide support. Some people adjusted to the challenge of working in isolation at home, while others faced risks to travel to work and offer essential care. Our recruitment team ensured that we had stability in staffing and could minimise any cross-contamination between different units and settings. Everyone did an exceptional job in the face of unrelenting pressures. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I want to take a moment to reflect on all the challenges we have faced as individuals and as teams, and to express our sincerest gratitude. In particular our frontline colleagues who made personal sacrifices and faced unknown risk to respond to the challenge that Coronavirus presented. I feel humbled that they did so without question, to ensure every vulnerable child and adult in our care continued to receive the service and support they needed. We must also acknowledge the role played by the people we care for and their loved ones. As a result of government restrictions to care settings, families were unable to see each other in person for many months. VSA invested in virtual technologies to facilitate contact between residents and their families, and we are grateful for the way in which people engaged with these to maintain relationships and provide essential social interaction. Throughout 2020, care homes were a particular focus of heightened political and media attention. At the start of the pandemic, we made conscious, and sometimes difficult, decisions which protected our residential settings and minimised the risk of a Covid-19 outbreak. As a result, we can confirm that none of our care home settings had an outbreak, and there were no deaths due to Coronavirus infection. Across our wider organisation, as a result of the Delta variant, we did experience a small number of positive cases linked to community transition. This affected 2 young people and some tenants living in their sheltered homes. In each situation the infection was controlled and contained. Fortunately, a vaccination programme was implemented. We have been active in making this available to those we care for, and our staff and volunteers, as soon as possible. There has been maximum take-up and we are currently encouraging everyone to take the ‘booster’.

VSA Annual Report 2020-2021

Projects and Developments Despite the challenges in relation to the pandemic, we are proud of the continued impact we have in changing and shaping the futures of vulnerable children and adults living in Aberdeen and beyond.

and fundraising. In the face of a challenging year, our amazing supporters have been loyal and generous. So, whether you volunteered, donated, or provided a gift in kind, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Without your support we simply could not change the lives that we do.

I’d like to highlight three areas:



School based counsellors


Mental health and wellbeing


Public support and generosity

School Based Counsellors A key highlight during 2020/2021 was our school based counsellors. There has been an increased demand for this service as young people struggled with the impact the virus and associated restrictions were having on their mental wellbeing. The team expanded the service over the school summer break to deliver more sessions ensuring vital mental wellbeing help and support was available to those who urgently needed it.

The journey ahead holds many significant challenges. The digital revolution will bring opportunities and will also require new ways of thinking and working. The aftermath of Brexit brings recruitment shortages across social care. New models of social care funding will change the political and funding landscape. The lasting impact of Coronavirus will be felt for years to come. In VSA, we are confident that, with over 150 years’ experience and our team of industry experts, we have the commitment and drive to rise to each of these challenges.

Mental Health and Wellbeing Our brand new state-of-the-art mental wellbeing facility – which we have proudly named Mountbatten House, in honour of the late Duke of Edinburgh – is now open and offering huge support to those seeking to recover from addiction and other mental health challenges that can affect any one of us. The city centre unit will be able to house 20 residents with their own en-suite bedroom, each with a kitchenette and lounge, as well as a host of communal facilities. The building will also be home to our at home service to provide critical care and support for people living with a mental health issue at home. Community involvement and generosity It was disappointing that 2020, which was VSA’s 150th anniversary, was so compromised by the Covid-19 restrictions. We had plans for great community involvement to share our stories and history and to let people know about the life-changing services we offer to people in the North-East.

Maggie Wilson Chair of the Board of Trustees

Kenneth Simpson Chief Executive

However, we were also touched by the public’s generous response to our Covid-19 appeals. Every year we are grateful for the way in which individuals, organisations and communities engage with our programmes for volunteering


How we help vulnerable children and adults As a leading social care charity with over 150 years of experience, we have always been at the forefront of providing vital care and support to vulnerable children and adults living across Aberdeen and beyond. We support people through some of the most challenging times they have ever experienced, and we help them take control of their lives for a brighter and better future. Every day we change lives by supporting a person’s physical, emotional, mental and social wellbeing through a wide range of health and social care services, such as residential services and community outreach programmes. We support vulnerable children and adults who are living with: •

Mental health diagnosis

Complex additional learning and additional support needs

Learning disabilities

People who are in recovery from addiction

Loneliness and isolation

Living in extreme poverty (including fuel poverty)

• Living with life-long conditions such as dementia and Parkinson’s Despite the tremendous challenges that a child or an adult can face, it is amazing to see that by providing proper support, care, experiences and opportunities how much it can change a life. Across all of the services we provide, we promote equality, inclusion, diversity and support for BAME communities.


VSA Annual Report 2020-2021

Our commitment to the global community U N I T E D N AT I O N S S U S TA I N A B L E DEVELOPMENT GOALS At VSA, we understand the difference that can be made to humanity if we all work together for a fairer and more inclusive society. That is why we take our responsibility as a global citizen seriously and we are fully committed to changing people’s lives for the better. The United Nations has a set of 17 sustainable development goals that it is aiming to achieve which will transform the world we live in for generations to come. We believe that the work that we do aligns with a small subset of goals (SDG 1, 3, 4 & 15) which has a strong connection to the work that we deliver and the lives that we change. We believe that the work that we do across our organisation supports the global community by helping to transform people’s lives across the following sustainable development goals.

At VSA we support the most vulnerable of people from birth to end of life living in our communities. In particular, we support SDG target: “By 2030, reduce at least half the population of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions”.

We support people from birth to end of life across the full spectrum of social care. In particular, we support SDG target: “Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol”.

We support the education and learning of children and adults with additional support and complex learning needs. In particular we support SDG target: “By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills including technical and vocational skills for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship” and our work also supports “Eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations”.

We take our environmental responsibility to the land very seriously. At VSA we have a fully operational farm and support the conservation of natural wildlife and the sustainability of the land through reforestation. In particular, we support target: “romote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally”.


Our People, Our Work People are at the heart of VSA, and we are proud of the impact our highly skilled staff make each year. We value the contribution our employees make and acknowledge and understand the value they add to our business. Without our fantastic team, we would not be able to change the lives that we do. Our employees are important ambassadors for VSA, and that is why we recruit individuals who exemplify our core values and have the skills, attributes and talent to help us change lives. VSA has always been proud to invest in our staff to ensure that our team can deliver outstanding care for the vulnerable people who use our services. At VSA we are honoured to be a fully accredited SQA Qualification Centre, enabling us to deliver a programme of continuous professional development and provide people with an opportunity to pursue a career in care. We are proud to be an equal rights and opportunities employer.


36 students achieved qualifications through VSA SVQ Centre

46 people enrolled in Modern Apprenticeships

233 new employees recruited

150 Occupational Health Consultations

VSA Annual Report 2020-2021

Flu vaccines offered to all staff

Gained BILD Association of Certified Training Certificate

Suite of new online learning added to our learning management system

233 people successfully completed an online induction

56 Behavioural Support Strategies Instructors virtually assessed 9

Coronavirus Pandemic VSA has been caring for the people of Aberdeen for 150 years, and during this time we have supported generations of your families through two world wars, the Spanish Influenza outbreak and the Aberdeen Typhoid outbreak. Today we are here for you, helping care for you or your vulnerable relatives and friends. The Covid-19 pandemic is one of the most challenging periods we have faced in our charity’s history.

HOW WE RESPONDED • Block booked additional agency staff in the event of a major outbreak in our core staffing team to ensure that, in a worst-case scenario, we could still deliver the outstanding level of care that we are renowned for. The agency staff we used when required were known to us and were restricted to exclusively working for specific VSA sites. We did not allow any cross working across our sites or across multiple providers

• In March 2020, all staff were required to undergo daily temperature checks as they arrive for a shift; latterly across the year daily LFD testing was introduced and weekly PCR testing

• Suspended all external visitors until further notice (including next of kin) to our residential sites (including assisted living communities) on March 12th 2020 unless for exceptional circumstances, such as end of life care or medical assistance. Next of kin visits recommenced, in-line with the easing of restrictions.

• Communicated daily with all employees to ensure they were fully briefed and understood latest guidance and measures we were taking and why

• All external packages were suspended from arriving at our residential sites to aid with infection control

• Enhanced deep cleaning of all traffic areas in our sites and staff areas regularly

• Closed all communal areas in our residential sites and implemented social distancing measures. Please note communal areas re-opened across the year aligned with government and public health guidance


• Ensured all of our residents and employees were fully informed with factual information about the benefits and risks of the vaccines when they became available

• Invested in an Occupational Health team to support colleagues with their physical and mental wellbeing

VSA Annual Report 2020-2021

Implemented our enhanced infection control measures at all residential sites from March 2nd, 2020

Communicated on a regular basis with our residents and their family and friends to keep them fully informed of action we were taking to keep their loved ones safe and why

We invested in medical equipment, such as Oxipulse meters, so that our staff could undertake wellbeing observations on residents. Our team took all residents temperatures, oxygen levels and pulse rates daily to look for any early signs and symptoms of the virus

Invested in a range of digital technologies to ensure residents could stay digitally connected to family and friends

Strengthen our PPE reserves in February 2020 – we continue to ensure that we have a 4-6 month operating pandemic stock level 11

WHAT WE ACHIEVED • No major outbreak of Covid-19 at any of our sites*- our care homes remain Covid free with no loss of life • All residents across our residential sites fully vaccinated • Nearly 90% of VSA employees fully vaccinated • Across our social media channels, we successfully engaged with and promoted the vaccine and PPE options to over 120,000 people • Delivered a fully virtual Carers week in 2020 with over 10,000 carers watching and interacting with our virtual programme of events • We successfully adjusted our delivery models of care across all of our services and ensured all services remained operational where possible • All staff, residents and volunteers had access to full PPE from mid-March 2020 • We redeployed as many colleagues as possible and where necessary a small number were placed on furlough; we continued to pay all of our furlough employees. We ensured that all employees on furlough received 100% pay


• Provided vulnerable children and adults with access to digital technologies such as iPads, Kindles, laptops, and mobile phones to ensure they could remain as connected as possible to their family and friends • Provided an increase in cognitive stimulation resources to all of our residents • Introduced a range of socially-distanced gentle movement classes to maintain physical and mental wellbeing • Invested in more staff so that our team had dedicated time to spend with each resident on a one-to-one basis to discuss areas of interest, partake in hobbies, help upskill our residents on how to use new technology and supported residents to take gentle walks/ daily exercise in the grounds of their residential home

*Please note that Linn Moor Campus and Broomhill Park Assisted Living Community both had a small number of positive cases in December 2020 and January 2021 respectively as a result of community transmission.

VSA Annual Report 2020-2021

Delivered 1,477 school based counselling sessions virtually to 189 children aged 8-18

Delivered virtual personal resilience workshops and toolkits sessions to over 4,000 people

Food aid grants and parcels delivered to 300 people

348 people supported residentially across our sites

Across our social media channels, we successfully engaged with and promoted the vaccine and PPE options to over 120,000 people

80 fuel poverty grants distributed to families

1,800 of wellbeing calls to unpaid carers made


Impact in Action 24,000

people supported

40 services

2,500,000+ hours of care provided

Care Inspectorate rated our services Very Good = 500 People


VSA Annual Report 2020-2021

Education & Learning Services OUR IMPACT:



Qualified Teaching Hours

Children and young adults supported at Linn Moor Residential School and Campus



Hours of home tuition during pandemic

Hours of dedicated speech and language therapy sessions


LINN MOOR SCHOOL AND CAMPUS Linn Moor School and Campus provides specialist education and transitioning care for children and young people living with complex and additional support needs.

Situated on the outskirts of Aberdeen, nestled among 75 acres of countryside and woodland, is Linn Moor Campus. Our campus provides young people living with complex additional support needs the environment they need to thrive. Linn Moor Residential School provides a nurturing, warm and aspirational learning environment for children and young people living with moderate to profound additional support and behavioural needs. The school supports children and young people on a day or residential basis from the age of 5-18 years. Our team of qualified teachers and professional support workers will work with you and your child to take a multidisciplinary approach to develop a unique learning profile based on your child’s individual needs. All of our learning profiles are designed to nurture academic abilities while working towards life skills SQA qualifications. Our learning profiles aid social development and ensure we are providing the best of care Within the campus grounds, we are one of a few specialist providers across 16

the UK that offer a transitioning care programme for young people aged 1825 years once they have graduated from Linn Moor School. At Linn Moor, we help prepare children and young people for their journey into adulthood. We strive to empower our students with the confidence, independence and social/life skills so that our students can live happy and healthy lives now and in the future. In early 2020, along with the rest of the world Linn Moor School was faced with lockdown. For the young people at Linn Moor, whose autism means they see, hear and feel the world differently, the change this had to their daily routines had the potential to be extremely difficult. The changes experienced by everyone during 2020 were profound and almost incomprehensible and for the students at Linn Moor who were unable to fully understand the reasons for this. Knowing this it gives us great pride to say that all the children and young people in our care coped admirably and beyond expectation. Even with serious disruption to their routines and activities

they continued to develop and engage with those around them. Some of the measures taken at the school where, identification of the highest risk students and specialist Covid secure housing being designed for them, separation of residents into “bubbles” to minimise contact, secure and furnished isolation unit for cases of quarantining students. Once the government mandates allowed for classrooms to return, at Linn Moor we have redesigned them and made changes to our schedules to reduce crossover and keep our students as safe as possible while still delivering our duty of care and life changing work. Change is not something that comes easily to individuals with autism, especially such drastic changes as these. We are extremely proud and humbled by the resilience and adaptability shown by the children and young adults in our care and look forward to a positive and bright future with them.

VSA Annual Report 2020-2021

C A S E S T U D Y:

Kai’s Story 10-year-old Kai was diagnosed with autism at two years old and grew up with his family in Boddam. After his diagnosis, his mum and dad looked at the support they could get for Kai and put him in a school for children with additional support needs. Unfortunately, this school could not meet Kai’s complex needs, which meant that he could not channel his emotions positively and that he wasn’t progressing or reaching certain milestones. This was naturally upsetting and frustrating for him and his family, so Kai’s parents looked at different options for Kai, and that is when they contacted Linn Moor School. After an initial meeting at the school, Kai’s parents knew this was the school to help Kai flourish and grow and he moved in January 2020. Kai’s parents said: “As soon as we visited Linn Moor, we just had a gut feeling that this was the place for Kai. The staff were so knowledgeable it was like they knew Kai before even meeting him. “When Kai first moved into Linn Moor, it was about six weeks until we went to see him again, and it was like he was a different boy – he was so happy within himself. We couldn’t stop staring at him as we were just amazed at the change in him, this just confirmed that we made the right decision. “Although Kai is at a residential school, we are still fully involved, and the staff call us daily and have become an extension of our family. We can’t thank them enough for what they have done for Kai and our family. “VSA has changed our life as they have given our son a life, and we are excited about his future.”


EASTER ANGUSTON FARM Easter Anguston Farm (EAF) is an operational farm and local community resource which serves as a training facility for adults with learning difficulties and other additional support needs. Situated in Peterculter, it has 70 acres of arable land used as a working farm plus 20 acres of woodland. In March 2020, due to Covid-19 and lockdown restrictions, we unfortunately had to close Easter Anguston Farm to the public. Every year Easter Anguston Farm normally welcomes over 20,000 visitors and as a charity, we do not charge any entry fee for the thousands of families who visit us each year; instead, we rely on generous donations to enable us to provide free access to this fantastic facility so that all children and families

can come and learn about the animals we care for, play in our parks and learn about our woodland conservation while taking in a visit to our enchanted fairy woods.

However, we were overwhelmed with the support of people across the NorthEast who stepped forward to support us and donate allowing us to keep the farm operational during lockdown.

Sadly, as none of our amazing supporters could visit the farm during the pandemic, this meant we did not receive the generous donations from our visitors.

An Amazing

£2,445 Raised


Mac and Marley Throughout May, Mac and his beloved dog, Marley, walked a marathon to raise funds for VSA’s Easter Anguston Farm. This was a significant challenge for both Mac and Marley, as Mac lives with autism and other support needs, while Marley has suffered from hip and joint pain since he was a puppy. Mac and his family noticed an appeal in the Evening Express about the funding plight of the farm during lockdown, and as Mac loves the farm, he was upset at the thought of not being able to visit again, he wanted to do something to help. Mac attends Loriston Primary School, and around the same time, the school sent an email to all children


encouraging them to get out walking, so Mac wanted to combine the two. Mac and Marley set off on their challenge on May 1st. Mac’s family and friends joined him on different days from a social distance to encourage him. Some days were incredibly challenging for Mac as although he is active, his Mum Jodie Johnson said: “His autism can affect his social skills, so it can be a challenge to get him outside.” Not only did Mac and Marley do amazingly well and raise £2,445, but they also finished their walk on May 29th in memory of his big cousin Katie Buchan who sadly passed away. Katie, who would have been 25 in May, was

also a great volunteer, friend, and supporter of VSA and Mac’s Mum, Jodie, said: “Anyone who knew Katie, will remember she was an active supporter of VSA and loved visiting the farm. She will be so proud of Mac and Marley’s efforts, and while we can’t see her incredible smile, Mac says he knows she will be smiling down on us.” This is a big challenge for anyone to take on, but for a 7-year-old with autism and other support needs, it is truly inspirational. Mac also won a Special Recognition Award at the Evening Express Champion Awards for his support for Easter Anguston Farm.

VSA Annual Report 2020-2021


Children & Family Services OUR IMPACT:



Children provided with crisis support

School counselling sessions provided

8 Children provided with crisis support

New digital online platform launched for ASNAP

FAMILY CONTACT CENTRE While our Contact Centre remained closed throughout the pandemic, we used this period as an opportunity to review the service model and future service delivery. A recent change in legislation gives Ministers the power to regulate child contact centres and this has also been the subject of recent consultation. After careful consideration, VSA concluded that our service model, which is staffed primarily by volunteers, would be unable to meet potential change in policy and regulatory requirements. A decision was made not to reopen the service and signpost families to another local provider who could meet their individual contact arrangements. 20

VSA Annual Report 2020-2021

SCHOOL BASED COUNSELLING SERVICE VSA provides a school based counselling service, offering pupils one-to-one sessions to cope with a wide range of social and economic issues such as bullying, self-harm and family separation. The Covid-19 pandemic was hugely challenging for many of the young people we support. Many of the children who access our services live with parents and carers who need professional support to manage the struggles of daily life and are unable to deal with the additional anxiety this pandemic is causing. It was such an unprecedented time, and a lot of young people struggled to adapt to the isolation and change caused by the pandemic. However, our counsellors worked with the young people on the best communication methods available during the national lockdown. They kept in contact via Microsoft Teams, Google Hangout, and by phone and video calls.

“I enjoy the counselling as it’s been helpful overall. I feel I can trust my counsellor and speak to them in confidence. The counselling has been helpful at school and when I’ve been at home.” 10-year-old who uses the counselling service

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT NEEDS ADVISORY SERVICE (ASNAP) ASNAP’s aim is to help staff have a better understanding of children who may need additional support or children who experience difficulties in managing and integrating into the learning environment. During lockdown, many of the early years’ settings were closed or unable to allow visitors to their settings, so our ASNAP team In collaboration with key stakeholders used this time to review and enhance our training modules and upskill staff. Following this review, we created an online digital platform which early-year providers can now access.

HOLIDAY PLAYSCHEME Commissioning arrangements for our playschemes changed in 2020 with Aberdeen City Council being unable to offer certainty around long-term funding for holiday playschemes and after school provision for children with additional support needs. However, in the Easter break of April 2020 we worked collaboratively with social work to identify families in most need of a short break and offered 8 children the opportunity to attend a programme of activities based at Maisie’s. Three families took up this offer and the children attended 12 hours per week and benefited from one to one support and fun activities in an environment which was adapted to take account of safety and Covid restrictions. 21

Adult & Later Years in Life Services OUR IMPACT:





Hours of care provided

Adults directly supported

People supported through VSA Care at Home



Hours of mental wellbeing support

People supported through our mental wellbeing services

VSA Annual Report 2020-2021

Whether you are aged 25 or 95, VSA has a wide range of adult and later years in life services that provide practical, emotional, social and mental wellbeing support to help people lead happy, healthy and meaningful lives. Across Aberdeen, we have a wide range of residential and outreach community services that provide care and support to vulnerable adults. We have a number of services that provide care for people in their later years in life who may need that extra help and support due to age-related needs. Across our adult services, we help people who are living with: • Poverty

• Learning difficulties

• Loneliness and isolation

• Mental health diagnosis

• Dementia/Alzheimer’s • Learning disabilities

OUR CARE HOMES AND ASSISTED LIVING COMMUNITIES We have two residential care homes situated in Aberdeen City that provide 24 hours a day care for people in their mid-later years in life who need extra care and support in their daily lives. Ruthrieston House and Crosby House have been carefully designed to support our residents’ physical, emotional and social wellbeing so that each person lives a happy and fulfilled life in a comfortable and homely environment.

this was a challenging time for residents and our colleagues, however, by following guidance and our enhanced infection control measures we had no major outbreak of Covid-19 at any of our sites.

Our Assisted Living Communities, at Broomhill Park and Cloverfield Grove, support people to maintain a level of independence and live life to the fullest in a safe environment, with access to care and support when they need it.

We are pleased to say that families were reunited throughout the year when we were allowed to lift guidance as per the Scottish Government guidelines.

During national lockdown, we suspended visitors to our residential facilities in line with government guidance. Naturally

“ The staff here - all of them - have been so supportive and caring over the past months during lockdown. They deserve to be congratulated. This is a model example of how a care home should be.” - Laurie Power, Resident at Broomhill Park


C A S E S T U D Y:

Betty’s Story Betty, aged 83, moved into Cloverfield Grove in April 2020. Her family had become slightly worried about her staying at home by herself and wanted to find somewhere where she would have the support she needed. Maureen, Betty’s daughter, said: “I was getting concerned for my mum’s welfare living alone. Mum was always very house proud and liked to make sure she was dolled up, but after my dad died, she started to lose that staying alone. She was also getting confused about things, and I knew the best thing for her was to look at somewhere she could get that extra support 24/7. That is when we got a care manager, who told us about Cloverfield Grove; my mum had to move in during lockdown, which was a strange time as I couldn’t even visit. However, the staff were excellent and kept me up to date, and I called my mum every day, and she kept telling me how much she adores everyone, although she doesn’t always remember their names! It truly was the best decision for us to put my mum into Cloverfield; she has so much more zest for life now! She loves doing daily activities, is always getting herself dolled up and doing her make-up. I can’t thank the amazing team enough at Cloverfield for taking care of my mum and making me feel reassured that we made the right decision.”


VSA Annual Report 2020-2021

DELAYED DISCHARGE PROJECT VSA, working in collaboration with Aberdeen City’s Health & Social Care Partnership, began a pilot project in 2019 to provide specialist interim accommodation for people who were fit to leave hospital but were not yet in a position to return home permanently without further support. Our interim project in partnership with the AHSCP began on October 1st, 2019, with 4 interim flats at Cloverfield Grove and 1 flat at Broomhill Park. The project was a success and reduced ‘bed blocking’ in the NHS, while helping to deliver better person-centred outcomes for the people we were supporting.

Efforts by VSA and the partnership have already led to significant improvements in reducing delayed discharge. In 2015, the city was the worst-performing area in Scotland – but it is now in the ‘top 10’ Scottish local authority areas. The Interim project was initially due to run until October 2020 and this had been extended until March 31st, 2021.

In March 2020, we were again approached by the partnership and asked if we could support with surge beds due to the Covid pandemic; we offered up the use of 11 total surge beds. This was also very successful with interim clients either being discharged home to their own tenancies following a period of support provided by our team, or choosing to remain within the services and take a permanent tenancy with us.

Despite this tremendous success, as a result of wider changes being implemented by the health & social care partnership, we were informed in late March that AHSCP would not be continuing with the surge beds; however, our delayed discharge project continues.


V SA C O N NECT PROVIDIN G CAR E AN D RES PITE During the year we launched a new community-based care at home service that supports adults of all ages whether they are 25 or 95. We are here to provide practical, emotional, social and mental wellbeing support. The service is designed to provide: • Personal Care available 24hrs

- Learning disability support

- Mental health & wellbeing support

- Dementia, Parkinson’s and other health-related conditions

• Support with household tasks, such as laundry and shopping • Home-based respite services for unpaid carers • Social interaction, such as outings and companionship

Our VSA Connect service will launch in 2021 specialising in providing at home support for carers VSA’s at home services are designed to take a person-centred approach to re-thinking traditional models of social care. These new services enable people to remain at home, maintain independence, and lead meaningful lives getting the help and support they need which suits them and their individual lifestyles. Each person we support through our at home services receives a bespoke, individualised support plan designed to promote independence while ensuring safety and wellbeing, each plan is designed in partnership between the client and our team of care experts.

GRANITE CITY CARE CONSORTIUM We are also proud to be part of Granite Care Consortium which is made up of local third and private sector providers of care with decades of experience in delivering health and social care services. The consortium was formed in March 2020 after Aberdeen City Health & Social Care Partnership made the decision to recommission the delivery of care at home across the city with a locally-based, outcomes-focused contract. VSA, along with other local providers consisting of fellow charities and private organisations, joined forces to submit a joint tender under a consortium: Granite City Consortium (GCC). GCC was successful in being awarded the contract and is now the chosen care at home provider across all localities within Aberdeen City. Through our work in the consortium, we delivered 23,660 hours of care up to the end of March 2021.


VSA Annual Report 2020-2021

Learning Disability Services



OVER A THOUSAND PEOPLE LIVING IN ABERDEEN HAVE A LEARNING DISABILITY. At VSA, we provide residential and placement support for adults living with a wide range of learning disabilities. A learning disability is life long and there are many different types. Often, a person living with a learning disability will have been diagnosed with more than one condition. Some of the more commonly known conditions associated with a learning disability include Autism, Asperger’s, Down’s Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, and challenging behaviours.

As life progresses, we understand that families will naturally worry about how their loved one will manage and cope with the challenges that life presents, particularly in adulthood. If you are caring for a person living with a learning disability we know that one area of concern will be who will care for, or support your loved one when you are no longer able to do so.

Each person, their level of disability, and the condition they are living with is unique to them. The level of disability can range from being mild to moderate or severe to profound. Most people are born with a learning disability; however, a learning disability can also occur after birth.

At VSA, we have residential and day placements options for adults living with a learning disability. Our goal is to help the person we care for develop the skills they need so that they can realise their dreams and lead an independent and integrated life.

Causes of a learning disability include:

Last year we supported 20 adults residentially and we expanded our service to be able to provide support at home for people living with a learning disability across Aberdeen City. This can be done through our Care at Home or VSA Connect Service.

• Early childhood seizures, illnesses or accidents • Being deprived of oxygen at birth • Being born very prematurely • Genetics - while a baby is developing in the womb it might develop certain genes or genetic mutations that can cause a condition linked with a learning disability A learning disability is different from a learning difficulty and often people get the two confused. People living with a learning disability have reduced intellectual capabilities and struggle with everyday activities such as money management, socialising and household tasks. A learning disability affects all aspects of their life.

The past year was very challenging due to the UK-wide ‘lockdown level’ restrictions imposed by the government to all households. For the adults we support residentially through our Learning Disability Craigton Grove service this had a significant impact on their daily routines. The team worked hard to support each adult by coming up with creative ways in which to keep the people we support active, engaged and cognitively stimulated.


Mental Health & Wellbeing OUR IMPACT:




People aged 16+ supported by VSA

Hours of mental health support provided

New mental wellbeing facility being built

VSA Annual Report 2020-2021

C A S E S T U D Y:

Adam’s Story Adam lives with autism and has also been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and anxiety. Adam has struggled with his mental health for the past eleven years and finds it hard to do tasks independently. Due to his anxieties, he worries about leaving his house to do tasks like shopping on his own or even going for a walk. He moved into one of our residential wellbeing facilities to help provide him with the support he needed. Adam said: “I struggle with my anxiety and have found it difficult at times to leave my house, but when I moved into VSA’s residential facility, the staff helped me overcome some of my worries, and I can now go shopping and even get a bus on my own. Not only have the staff helped me overcome some of my anxieties, they are always there for me to speak to about any worries or concerns I have. I am grateful for the help I have received from VSA, and I am hopeful that with the continued support, I will be able to go to college and live more independently in the future.” At VSA, we provide three residential mental wellbeing facilities that provide 24 hour support for people living with severe or enduring mental health conditions. These facilities are a mix of rehabilitation and long term placement. **The person’s name has been changed to protect their identity..** 29

1 IN 4 ADULTS IS DIAGNOSED WITH A MENTAL HEALTH CONDITION IN THE UK EVERY YEAR (1 IN 3 IN SCOTLAND). The stress of coping with the pandemic, coupled with financial and job security uncertainty, has placed immense pressure on tens of thousands of people’s mental wellbeing. Social isolation; rising unemployment rates and people now living in poverty as a result of unemployment, have significantly increased. We are facing an unprecedented mental health crisis and we must act now.

“ Without VSA, I’d probably be dead, but VSA saved my life.” -Linda Our mental wellbeing team works with people to empower them to take control of their lives and works to support people living with a mental health condition, without judgement, on their journey to recovery. Throughout our mental health services, we use our highly regarded recovery model; each person’s journey is unique but it is remarkable to see how a safe home, and/or support in their own home can support service users to make small changes which lead to significant improvements in their independence and quality of life.


Recovery focuses on the personal experience of the individual. For the people who use our services and residents it’s about what they can do, not what they can’t do. Recovery is more than the treatment and management of symptoms. It’s about empowering people to achieve their potential and by doing this people focus on their strengths. The people living in our services will progress through their recovery journeys at their own pace. It’s their recovery and staff are there to support and signpost them dependent on each individual. Examples could be in developing skills in a particular area, attending a college course, taking up a new hobby, restarting an old hobby or gaining employment. By encouraging the people we support to reflect on various aspects of their mental health, and to measure the outcomes, it enables them to look back and see the progress they have made or to reflect on other areas they might want to work on.

In some cases, the work a person has done may look like a small move. However, for some people getting them to leave their room and interact with others is a major step. By using the recovery model, we would then hope to use that initial move to initiate other changes and to provide opportunities for that person to work towards other goals and improve their outcomes. It’s about using short steps and allowing the person to sometimes to take a step back or take stock without it being seen as a negative. Many of the people we support have had a long experience of services. It has often been the case that things have been done to them or for them. Our emphasis is about giving them control but having skilled staff to support and advise. Here are some examples of what changes people with mental health conditions have experienced by accessing our existing residential and outreach work.

VSA Annual Report 2020-2021

People Have: Developed new interests and hobbies such as gardening, playing cards and exercising

Learned how to plan meals and cook

Become more sociable and built friendships with peers and staff, and/or re-built relationships with their family and friends

Organised group activities, such as a visit to the beach and BBQs

Built the confidence to take a bus on their own to attend an appointment or visit the supermarket

Volunteered at local charities (e.g. charity shop, café, and farm) and learned new job skills

Learned how to manage their finances and set up direct debits

Helped new residents to settle in by showing them around the home and inviting them to join in activities

Improved personal hygiene e.g. doing their laundry, cleaning their bedroom

Gained accredited qualifications

Developed a daily routine

Learned to manage their prescribed medication

This improves a person’s confidence, self-esteem, independence and helps them to lead happier and healthier lives now and into the future.



VSA Annual Report 2020-2021

CHANGING LIVES CAMPAIGN After a slight delay due to the impact of Coronavirus restrictions, we were thrilled to be on schedule to open our brand new state-of-the-art mental wellbeing facility in the heart of Aberdeen City that will support 20 adults residentially, and 40+ adults living in the community through a new mental wellbeing support at home service in September 2021. People living with mental health can see and hear the world differently. All aspects of life are affected and it can make simple everyday activities, like walking to the shops, handling money, and communicating with people a very daunting and challenging task. We support people living with a range of conditions, such as stress, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, suicidal feelings, eating disorders, dissociative disorders (related to drugs and alcohol) and bipolar, to name a few. A mental health condition can affect anyone regardless of their age or background. Our work empowers people to take control of their lives, helping to build personal and financial resilience and stopping people from becoming socially isolated and homeless. Our new facility will comprise 20 en-suite bedrooms, each with a kitchenette and lounge, communal lounge, dining room, two quiet/skill development rooms, a commercial kitchen, resident kitchen, laundry room, offices and garden. Each individual will receive person-centred support that is outcomefocused to build skills that will empower them to self-manage their condition as far as they desire and is practicable. Examples include: supporting people with maintaining and

20 adults will be supported residentially

developing new interests/hobbies, attending appointments, cooking, managing money, and exploring volunteering and/ or work experience. Furthermore, VSA is expanding and enhancing its care at home service to support people with mental health issues across the North-East of Scotland thanks to our Changing Lives campaign; this means those struggling with a mental health issue can get the necessary assistance within the comfort of their own home and not have to enter a specialised unit or medical facility. Our aim is to take the best of care to those struggling with conditions that can have a real impact on their day-to-day lives but allow them to be safe and secure at home - assisting those most in need, enabling them to thrive in their own communities, and taking significant pressure off the health and care services as they navigate their way through difficult times. Our campaign and fundraising were impacted as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are in the final stages of our Changing Lives campaign and urgently need financial support for the completion of this campaign.

40+ adults will be supported living in the community


VSA - RECONNECT PEER SUPPORT GROUP We adapted our Reconnect service back in March 2020 to ensure we continued to support people who actively used this vital peer support group remotely; whether that was providing people with toolkits to help build personal resilience, mental wellbeing support, social support virtually, or just a friendly ear to listen at the other end of the phone. Sadly, in February 2021, the Aberdeen City Health & Social Care Partnership made the strategic decision to withdraw funding for the group as they felt there was no longer a demand for this type of wellbeing support. Naturally, we’re surprised at this decision; mental health wellbeing support and services are a core strategic priority of the Scottish Government and as a result of the pandemic, the number of people that need mental health support is soaring. The Reconnect service offered a peer support service for people living with a mental health condition. The group helped to support a person’s emotional, social, and mental wellbeing, and helped to rebuild a person’s confidence, while significantly reducing social isolation. We successfully helped people reintegrate into society and build lasting friendships.


The service received funding of £32,000 a year from the partnership; however, it effectively keeps people living with a mental health condition out of hospital and reaching crisis point. With the service closing, there is a real risk that this will cost the NHS and the ACHSCP more money as people will require more intensive support and interventions as a result of vital funding being withdrawn from mental health services. We continue to have active conversations with the Scottish Government and local Health & Social Care Partnership about the future of mental health services and funding in the city.

VSA Annual Report 2020-2021

Financial Support Grants We support low-income households, or households who are living in extreme poverty, through our support services. We geographically provide support across all of Aberdeen City and support individuals, couples and families. Every day, across Aberdeen, people are living in extreme poverty and have to make difficult choices. Choices such as: • Can I afford to put the gas and electricity on for hot water and heating? • Can I afford to give my children a hot meal? • Do I pay my rent/mortgage for the month, or do I buy the bedding and clothing my child needs to be warm? Financial wellness is as important as our physical and mental wellbeing. If you are struggling financially to cover your needs, then help is available.


Last year we distributed £7,500 in grants to people living in poverty across the city; this went to help people buy food, white household goods, heat their home and provide warm winter clothing.

“ Thank you so much to VSA for your support. Your food parcel, fuel poverty grant and funding to get an iPad mean so much to me. You always listen to me and give me so much advice. I’d be lost without you.” - Unpaid Carer

When you are living in poverty, it can be an immensely stressful and worrying time when you experience money problems.

VSA FUEL FUND Aberdeen, like many other major cities across the UK, has high areas of high depravation due to low-income households and social inequalities. For decades, VSA has helped generations of Aberdonians heat their homes. Long gone are the days of when the VSA ‘Coal Man’ would drop off coal parcels to households living in poverty across the city; but we are still here to help provide support when you need our help. Across Aberdeen 23% of households are living in fuel poverty. This means people are struggling to afford the cost of gas and electricity; the reality of this means having to make choices that many of us take for granted. Choices such as having hot water for personal hygiene, gas for cooking, or having enough money for food.

The ongoing pandemic saw demand for our fuel poverty grants soar. Many people, as a result of losing their jobs, are struggling to cover the cost of their bills. VSA emergency fuel poverty grants offer a lifeline to many families and carers across the city. We are thankful to the Lord Provost’s Charitable Trust which provided funding to enable us to provide more grants to families who need our help.


VSA Carers Support Service OUR IMPACT:

3,890 People supported at Airyhall


10,000 Carers watching and interacting with our virtual programme of events



People supported who care for someone living with an addiction to drugs or alcohol

People reached across social media channels, promoting vaccine and PPE options

1,600 People supported through our carers support service

9 Hidden carers identified

VSA Annual Report 2020-2021

FOND FAREWELL TO OUR VSA AIRYHALL CARERS RESPITE SERVICE Our Airyhall Carers Respite Service provided a range of daily respite services delivered in a community-based setting. It allowed unpaid carers to access support for their loved one(s) while enabling them to take time out to look after themselves for a few hours. The centre supported people living with a mental or physical illness who are cared for in their own home and provided stability and routine. During the pandemic, our team at Airyhall adapted the service to ensure we were still there for the people who used this service. 1,800 calls were made to unpaid carers, to provide them with toolkits to help build personal resilience, mental wellbeing support, social support virtually, or just a friendly ear to listen at the other end of the phone. Unfortunately, Aberdeen City Health and Social Care Partnership made the strategic decision to withdraw funding from services, such as Airyhall. We challenged this, and also worked with the media on a campaign to try to keep this service open; however, Aberdeen City Health and Social Care Partnership (ACHSCP) made the strategic decision to shut the service. We were naturally disappointed with this outcome, as we know how much this service was loved by the vulnerable people we support. So, we started to look at the financial viability and demand of delivering a new Carers Support at Home Respite Service that can be self-funded, or funded through self-directed support. That led us to launching a new care at home service called VSA Connect that will provide support to adults across Aberdeen who are living with a learning disability, mental health conditions Dementia, Parkinson’s, other health-related conditions, and much-needed respite for unpaid carers.

“ Walking through the door at Airyhall day centre is a breath of fresh air and you are immediately uplifted and welcomed with smiling faces, fun and laughter to greet you, not to mention the time and care given to my husband during the time he is at the centre. Above and beyond that, I’m always asked how I am, which is something that doesn’t happen often as people are more focused on the ill person and often the carer is forgotten; so it’s nice to be noticed.” - Laura Walker


ABERDEEN CITY CARERS SUPPORT SERVICE Our VSA Adult Carers Support Service provided vital practical, emotional, social, financial and mental wellbeing support to thousands of people who undertake an unpaid caring role looking after ill, disabled, or older family members and friends. For the past 22 years, VSA has had the privilege of delivering support and information to unpaid carers across Aberdeen. Sadly, as a result of a recent commissioning process by Aberdeen City Council/Health & Social Care Partnership (H&SCP), we were not successful in securing the contract to continue to deliver the Adult Carers Service for Aberdeen City. On December 7th, 2020, we ceased operating this service on behalf of the city and the partnership moved the service to a new provider. Over the past two decades, we have cared for, and supported, in excess of 100,000 unpaid carers. It has been our honour to have represented carers from across the city during this time, and we cannot thank the people of Aberdeen enough for all the support you have shown towards VSA Carers Service over the years. This year has been the toughest year we can recall in our history for unpaid carers as a result of the additional pressures placed upon them because of the ongoing pandemic. We adapted our Carers Service back in early March, weeks ahead of government advice and restrictions, to ensure we were with carers every step of the way through the pandemic; whether that was providing carers with toolkits to help build personal resilience, mental wellbeing support, social support virtually or just a friendly ear to listen at the other end of the phone. It was our privilege to have helped thousands of carers during this time. Our digital and virtual Carers’ Week was a huge success and we had carers from across Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, the wider UK and some international guests taking part in our events. In total we reached and supported over 10,000 unpaid carers.


The carers team helped provide vital PPE from VSA pandemic stock levels to carers across the city on an interim basis until PPE hubs were established by the H&SCP.

“ I received the PPE you helped me source on Friday afternoon. Thank you so much for the swift response I received especially in this very challenging time for us all. I am so glad unpaid carers have a great team like yourselves to support us. I appreciate all the work you do, advice we get, and know we can contact the team if struggling with anything.” - Margaret, unpaid carer In addition, the team also supported carers by organising food aid parcels, food vouchers, and shopping to those who urgently needed extra help and support. The team also worked with carers and local supermarkets to launch a new carers support card. Carers told us how difficult it was to access dedicated shopping hours at supermarkets during the Coronavirus outbreak, in some cases, it was not possible for the carer to leave the person they care for at home, in the car, or outside the shop as it would be unsafe. This has meant that carers had to face uncomfortable questions that have made them embarrassed as to why there was more than one person from their household entering the shop. The card is designed to give carers the recognition they deserve as an equal partner in care alongside Health and Social Care and NHS professionals.

VSA Annual Report 2020-2021

“ VSA have helped me enormously over the past few years, they have given me the ability to speak to someone in a safe environment when I find myself struggling. I know they are always there to support me and signpost me to various initiatives and events that support carers. These cards will be a huge help to myself and other carers who cannot stand in a queue for a long period of time as we may need to be at home to support our loved one(s), attend appointments; and some other carers may be elderly or have disabilities themselves and find it difficult to stand for that amount of time.” - Scott unpaid carer


FUTURE OF VSA CARERS We have been supporting unpaid carers living in Aberdeen for 150 years. As times have changed, so have we, and over the years we have adapted our carers information and services to continually support you in your caring role. We remain committed to keeping unpaid carers informed and empowered to live fulfilling lives alongside caring. Unpaid carers provide care and support to family members, friends and neighbours. The people they care for may be affected by disability, physical or mental ill health, frailty, or substance misuse. A carer does not need to be living with the person they care for. Anybody can become a carer at any time in their life and sometimes for more than one person at a time.

As part of our commitment to keeping unpaid carers informed, we reached an incredible 148,000 unpaid carers living across the region to promote and inform them of the Covid-19 vaccination programme through our social media channels.

The advantage of our information and support is that we are a locally-based organisation. We have an in-depth understanding of the people of Aberdeen and take a localised approach to all our information and carers services.

This Autumn we will also be launching a new VSA Connect service designed for unpaid carers to access respite care at home. This service has been designed in consultation with unpaid carers.

We are also network partners with the National Carers Organisations, Carers Trust and Coalition of Carers which keeps us briefed with all matters relating to unpaid carers.


We have a dedicated carers’ information section on our website with access to a range of digital toolkits and resources.

VSA Annual Report 2020-2021


Our Brand In 2020/21, our communications and marketing team played a crucial role in engaging with, and keeping, all our key stakeholders informed about VSA’s pandemic response and associated emergency measures that we had implemented to keep the vulnerable people we support and our employees safe. During the year, we communicated with a wide range of stakeholders including; service users and their associated relatives/emergency next of kin, employees, volunteers, local and national government, public health and local and national media outlets. Our work involved keeping all stakeholders informed about changes to our service provision, lobbying the Scottish Government for better support for the sector in relation to Covid-19 funding, PPE supplies, vaccines and tests while advocating for the vulnerable children and adults we care for.

Key activities included: Organising and engaging with residents and their associated relatives/key contacts to take part in quarterly virtual feedback and consultation sessions. We performed these sessions throughout 2020/21 to share important information and updates from VSA, encourage peer support between other relatives, answer questions and listen to people’s experiences. We did this so we could shape better outcomes for the people we care for and enhance our visitor experiences while ensuring they were aligned with the Scottish Government’s tier restrictions.

Keeping our employees informed of our pandemic response and associated infection control advice through daily staff briefings


Designed and delivered a range of digital toolkits aimed at helping to build people’s knowledge and personal resilience

Liaising with relatives of the people in our care, via telephone, email and letters to keep them informed and answer any questions they had

Designing and delivering (in collaboration with our VSA Carers Support Service) virtual carers week events for 2020

New marketing brochures designed for our services

Recruitment campaigns

Market and industry positioning of changes to our service provision

VSA Annual Report 2020-2021

VSA Brand Colours Image mock up


Education & Learning NEW BLU E

Adult & Mental Health

BRAND REFRESH WORK Work progressed across the year to continue to refresh and evolve our brand. This included designing, developing and launching a new website that would tell our story and demonstrate the impact we make on people’s lives. We took the opportunity to re-write all content in a way that tells our story more effectively. Our new website had a soft launch on March 1st 2021 and a full, public launch happened in the spring. Our website is now fully accessible, interactive, user-friendly and digitally more engaging. We worked with our web designers to ensure we continually audited our new site through the design and build phase. For the auditing of the site our web designers used an array of different platforms, however, the main platform we used was the Google Lighthouse Audit; as most of our site traffic is generated from Google’s search engine.

improvement from the scores our old website generated. Work continues by the team to ensure that our SEO (search engine optimisation) score reaches 100%. Across our social media and digital channels we have seen an increase in supporters and website visits across the year. Facebook: 11,000 an increase of 3% Instagram: 1,069 an increase of 8% Twitter: 3,140 an increase of 28% Total followers: 15,209

We are pleased to report that our new website produced excellent scores during the audit and was a drastic

Number of website visits this year: 174,517 increase of 53%



We continue to be grateful for our ongoing in-kind media partnership with local newspaper, the Evening Express, which is part of the DC Thomson Group. Work continues to develop relationships with wider media outlets across the region and the UK.

Across the year we wrote a number of letters to the Scottish and UK Government which were specifically related to Covid-19. We also held virtual meetings with MSPs and worked to influence Covid-19 policy in relation to the health and social care sector through participation in working groups through Scottish Care, COSLA and other industry partners 43


As part of marking our 150th anniversary in 2020, VSA was awarded a grant from The National Heritage Lottery fund to deliver a project showcasing the history of social care in Aberdeen since 1870. VSA is incredibly grateful to The National Heritage Lottery fund in supporting this exciting opportunity to showcase social care through the years. At the heart of the project are 150 stories which were brought together from various archives across the city to explore the heritage of changing definitions of care, the way systems of care were organised and delivered, how understandings of welfare were interpreted historically, who cared for whom, and how this has changed over the years. Woven through the rich tapestry of these stories are the threads of humanity’s resilience, courage, hope, compassion and kindness: a lasting legacy of VSA’s enduring and continued support of vulnerable people living in our communities.

With such a strong focus on the community throughout its history, VSA wants to strengthen and preserve this ethos by inviting the people of Aberdeen to play a collaborative role in this project, too, through: oral history, public art, crafting, performance pieces, developing a walking tour, a school’s toolkit and exhibition. Volunteers have been at the very heart of VSA’s work since its inception. And this project is no different. Volunteer heritage ambassadors are making this project possible by generously donating their time, expertise, and skills just as they did so 150 years ago.

The site can be viewed at:


Although our heritage programmes and celebrations were paused in 2020, plans to recommence the programme will start from late 2021 and will run until 2023 onwards. In March 2021, work commenced on launching a new VSA heritage website that would engage and connect with the community in a lasting digital legacy, allowing members of the public to share their memories and stories from across the decades, take part in special heritage community events, and send digital postcards to people near and far.

VSA Annual Report 2020-2021


Philanthropy and Income Generation Our extraordinary work has always depended on our amazing supporters’ generosity; every day, the work that we do provides people with an opportunity to make a difference and help shape a life for a better future. As we journeyed into 2020, a pivotal milestone in our organisation’s history (our 150th anniversary year), no one could have predicted that our year of celebration would mark one of the darkest moments in recent history - a global pandemic that has brought the world as we know it to a halt. During the year we launched a public Covid-19 appeal, and we were humbled by people’s kind generosity and give thanks to everyone who donated or provided gifts in kind, such as vital PPE equipment, or technology such as iPads. We continued to develop our partnerships with a number of local, national and global corporate companies, working with them to develop meaningful relationships that deliver real impact that is aligned to their environmental, social and governance goals (ESG). Key highlights during the year include the team securing a new three-year strategic partnership with Apache, an Aberdeen and Houston-based oil company.


We were delighted to secure a commercial participation agreement (CPA) with Maersk Training. Maersk are now delivering accredited mental health first aid training and courses for employers and employees across the UK. VSA receive an agreed fixed amount per person for every course participant. Work continues in securing income towards our capital Changing Lives campaign; naturally as a result of the pandemic many funders paused their normal funding programmes to solely focus on Covid-19. With the build due to complete in the summer of 2021, the team are looking to re-establish funding towards the campaign and it is hoped that our major fundraising ball - which was postponed in 2020 and is scheduled to take place at Balmoral Castle - can proceed in late 2021 with funds raised going towards the appeal.

VSA Annual Report 2020-2021

Building on our commitment to deliver new innovative digital funding solutions, we worked in partnership with a New Yorkbased developer to launch a new VSA keyboard app for mobile phones. The app, which is available to download from Apple or Google play stores, offers VSA supporters a new innovative way to support and connect with VSA. Every time a supporter shops online from their mobile phone or tablet, they will be helping to generate funds for VSA while keeping up to date with all of our latest news at their fingertips. Whether our supporters are booking a holiday, buying new clothes, or doing the weekly food shop, anytime they make a purchase online, they will be helping raise funds for VSA without knowing it* With people experiencing less disposable income as a result of the pandemic, this is a fantastic way for supporters to raise money for charity without it costing them anything. *Our app is connected to 40,000 retailers across the globe and for any purchases made using the VSA keyboard, retailers will donate a percentage of the value of the purchases to VSA (commission ranges from 5-15%). This allows people to support us, without making a direct financial donation to us – shopping for social good. VSA is the first charity in the UK to launch this innovative new way of raising funds and a UK wide press launch is planned for 2021. We have also continued to develop our digital engagement methods and have invested in a new digital events platform through our partners Enthuse and have overhauled our fundraising section on our main website.

for the Our Advert oard App b y e K A S V NEW

We recognise that moving forward, the next decade will be incredibly challenging due to the ongoing economic impact and fall out from the Coronavirus pandemic. Significant funding challenges lie ahead for the health and social care sector, and the landscape of statutory funding and commissioning is set to shift considerably.


THANKS TO BP FOR THEIR KIND DONATIONS DURING THE PANDEMIC BP donated hundreds of sets of much-needed PPE like goggles, gloves and masks during the pandemic to help keep our colleagues and the vulnerable people we care for safe. They also kindly donated iPads and Kindles to help our residents maintain video contact with friends and family and download books. The energy major has also stepped up to provide hundreds of toilet rolls and day-to-day necessities like pasta, soft drinks, tea, coffee, and even disposable plates, cups and cutlery. All these items were distributed between our residential sites and helped us to provide our residents and colleagues with essential items.

Here are some pictures of some fantastic artwork from our Easter competition entries:


Peter Miller, former BP Vice President Transformation, said:

“ BP has been supporting VSA’s Changing Lives Campaign and when we were contacted with this urgent appeal for PPE, housekeeping items and digital technology we were pleased to donate to help VSA keep looking after some of the most vulnerable people in their care at this difficult time.”

VSA Annual Report 2020-2021

LONDON MARATHON Offshore Worker ran 26.2 miles for the virtual London Marathon on a helideck in the middle of the North Sea! The London Marathon in 2020 was held virtually and postponed until October 4th due to the ongoing pandemic. Jack Spiers was working offshore at the time of the rescheduled marathon and decided not to let that stop all the hard work he had put in all year for training. In typical North Sea fashion, the weather that day was miserable with wind and rain, however, despite this and the heave of the vessel Jack still completed his marathon around the helideck.

Running a marathon in normal circumstances is an amazing achievement, but doing that with the weather conditions on a vessel in the middle of the North Sea is an absolutely astounding. Well done Jack, and to all our other marathon runners: Brian Hector, Andy Kite and Zara Fife. You all smashed it!

ne o d l l e W athon Mar ers ! Runn


Thank You! During the pandemic, we were overwhelmed by people’s generosity. It has been fantastic to see such community spirit through such an unprecedented time. Thank you so much to everyone who stepped forward to volunteer, provide gifts in kind or offer financial support. We are so grateful, and so are the vulnerable people we support. You have all truly helped us change lives.


CHIP SHOP OPENS SPECIALLY TO SERVE RESIDENTS OF RUTHRIESTON HOUSE DURING PANDEMIC. Aberdeen taxi boss Russell MacLeod paid for a free fish supper for all the residents of VSA’s Ruthrieston House. The Oor Wullie’s chipper on Great Western Road opened specially to cook the meal for 40 residents and 10 staff as Russell was determined to ensure that no one missed out on their regular treat during the Covid-19 crisis. Mr McLeod said:

“ Having not seen my mum for over three weeks and knowing how she likes a fish supper, I couldn’t just go down with 1, so thought: ‘Let’s get one for all the residents & staff.’ My good friends at Oor Wullie’s fish & chips were delighted to help.” Our residents at Ruthrieston were truly delighted with their fish and chip supper; thank you so much to Russell and Oor Wullie’s fish and chip shop for treating them during such a challenging time.


VSA Annual Report 2020-2021


Volunteering Our individual volunteering programme and our corporate micro volunteering programmes were both paused in 2020 due to the restrictions implemented as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. The health and wellbeing of our volunteers is of the utmost importance to us, and out of an abundance of caution we made the difficult decision to pause our highly sought-after volunteering programmes. Across the year, a small number of individual volunteers continued their volunteering journey with VSA to support our services undertaking tasks such as food parcel deliveries and wellbeing calls to vulnerable carers. In addition, we were truly overwhelmed that a number of VSA staff stepped forward to dedicate their personal time to undertake activities with our residents, and helped out at our Easter Anguston Farm facility.

government retail guidance in helping us be in a position to re-open our bookshop, when allowed, to the general public. Our Volunteer Manager, across the year remained in contact with all volunteers, undertook wellbeing checks and kept our valued volunteers informed of news from across VSA and latest Scottish Government guidance. We are hopeful to be in a position to recommence our full volunteering programmes later in 2021.

Special thanks go to our team of volunteers at our Mercat Bookshop who have helped across the year in-line with

C A S E S T U D Y:

Angela’s Story Relief Support Worker at Cloverfield Grove, Angela, used her hairdressing skills to treat residents during lockdown when we closed our services to protect the vulnerable people we care for as per government guidance. Angela, who in a previous life was a hairdresser, wanted to lift the spirits of residents by providing them with free haircuts and making sure their “doos were bonny,” as one resident said. Angela’s Manager said: “This improved the wellbeing of the residents and made them feel a bit more normal, especially those who were used to getting their hair done every week. A big thanks to Angela for your act of kindness during such an unprecedented time.” As a small thank you to Angela, we presented her with one of our Unsung Hero Awards. Thank you again Angela for putting a smile on residents’ faces. 54

VSA Annual Report 2020-2021

C A S E S T U D Y:

Lois’s Story Lois Frew volunteered at Airyhall for nine years, she started volunteering for VSA after her late husband passed away and she met a VSA team member who told her about our volunteering opportunities. Lois helped the team at Airyhall by being a support network for the people who used the service. Lois said: “I am delighted to volunteer at VSA, if I didn’t, I wouldn’t come. I used to volunteer a couple of days a week and help with all day-to-day tasks as well as being there for the families to have a chat to. During the pandemic, I still gave everyone a call to check-in and support them as much as I could during such a challenging time.”


An Amazing

£3,604 Raised

THANK YOU, MIXING BOWL Due to national lockdown, Easter Anguston Farm - which normally attracts over 20,000 visitors a year was closed to keep our staff and supporters safe. This meant that all the strawberries in our tunnels would have gone to waste, as there was no-one there to pick them. This is when the Mixing Bowl stepped in to help support us! They picked up strawberries from us, twice a week, and sold them to the local community and helped us raise an amazing £3,604.12. Thank you so much to the Mixing Bowl for your support and for helping us raise vital funds to keep the farm open!


VSA Annual Report 2020-2021

How we spent our money: Total income for 2020/21 was £19.1 million Charitable Activities £17.8 million Donations & Legacies £1.2 million Investments £0.1 million


£19 Million+

Other Trading Activities £4k

Total Expenditure in 2020/21 was £19.2M Charitable Activities £19 million Cost of Raising Funds £0.2 million


£19 Million+

A full copy of our audited accounts can be found on our website.


Thank you to our amazing supporters We would like to thank all of our incredible supporters who across the year have donated financially or given their time and energy to helping VSA. Special thanks goes to: A.C. Morrison & Richards


NHS Grampian Endowment Trust

Addleshaw Goddard

Equinor (UK) Ltd

NYOP Education (Aberdeen) Limited

AG Bain Trust

Fairfield Energy Ltd

Patrick Mitchell Hunter Fund

Andrew Salvesen Family Trust

Faith in Community Scotland

Rennie Jeffrey Boyle Trust

Andron Contract Services Limited

Foundation Scotland

Robert Gordon’s College

Animal Rescue Foundation

G & J Investments Ltd

Rockrose Energy

Apache North Sea Ltd

George Crombie Trust

Rotary Club of Aberdeen

Archer Knight

GOV Wellbeing FUND

Rotary Club of Dyce

Asda Aberdeen Beach Superstore

Grampian Fasteners

Scotmid Co-Operative

Bags of Help – Tesco

Hall Morrice LLP

Scottish and Southern Energy Network

Balmoral Group

Harbour Energy Plc

Shell UK Limited

Barratt Homes

Heritage Lottery Fund

St Nicholas Charitable Fund

Batchworth Trust

Hugh Fraser Foundation

The Adamson Trust

BP Exploration & Operating Co Ltd

Ina Scott Sutherland Charitable Foundation

The Hospital Saturday Fund

Burness Paull LLP Cala Group Ltd Scotland Cathy Clark CNOOC International CNR International (UK) Ltd Community Lottery Fund Co-op Foundation Cordiners Timber & Building Supplies Crerar Trust


John Shivas Memorial Trust Knight Property Group Lord Provost’s Charitable Trust Meikle Foundation Morningfield Association Mugdock Children’s Trust Mushroom Trust Neighbourly

The John Gordon Charitable Fund Thistledown Trust Thomas Primrose Trust Vattenfall – Unlock our Future Fund Verden Sykes Trust William Syson Foundation

VSA Annual Report 2020-2021

Finance & Trustee Information Patron Her Majesty the Queen

Chair of the Board of Trustees Mrs Maggie Wilson

President The Lord Provost of Aberdeen, Councillor Barney Crockett, LL

Honorary Treasurer Gordon Edwards

Honorary Presidents Fiona Kennedy, OBE DL Martin Gilbert, Public Service Star (Singapore), MA LLB CA LLD, FRSE (appointed June 2020) Vice Presidents Lady Joan Catto, MBE DL Mr James Stevenson Mr Mathew Finnie

Chief Executive Dr Kenneth Simpson, BA BSc MPA DBA CMgr FCMI FloD FRSA Honorary Law Agent Burness Paull LLP External Auditors Hall Morrice LLP

Report of the Trustees for the year ended 31st March 2021 The trustees are pleased to present their trustee report together with the audited financial statements for the year to 31st March 2021.


Directors and Trustees April 2020-March 2021

Charity Name Aberdeen Association of Social Service

The directors of Aberdeen Association of Social Service (the charity operating as VSA) are its trustees for the purpose of charity law.

Operating Name VSA

The trustees of Aberdeen Association of Social Service who were in office during the year and up to the date of signing the financial statements were:

Charity Registration Number SC012950

Mrs M Wilson (Chair)

Mr S Burt

Mr J Knowles (Appointed Vice Chair June 2020)

Mr A McBurnie

Company Registration Number SC018487

Mr A Gall (resigned October 2020)

Mr K Shand

Mr G Edwards (Treasurer)

Mr G Watt

Mr H Ouston

Mrs A Powe

Mrs K Sinclair

Mrs C E Wilkie

Dr D P B Watson

Mr G S Poon

Mr P Murray

Prof S D Heys

Mrs L Fenn

Mrs M Gibson (co-opted October 2020)

Registered office and Principal office 38 Castle Street Aberdeen AB11 5YU



Annual Report 2020 - 2021




Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.