For Immediate Release

Urgent appeal to prevent closure of ‘invaluable’ Edinburgh charity supporting families of children with complex needs


Donate to Kindred’s Urgent Fundraising Appeal via their JustGiving page.


Watch Kindred’s fundraising appeal video.




An Edinburgh based charity that has helped to transform the lives of children with disabilities and other complex needs by supporting their families for over 25 years has launched a major fundraising appeal to prevent its doors from closing.

Led by parents of children with disabilities, Kindred delivers an invaluable service for families of severely ill and/or disabled children in Scotland, providing help, support and advocacy in stressful situations where parents often don’t know where to turn.

Over the last six months Kindred has suffered unexpected cuts in external grant funding and as a result is facing a funding deficit of up to £80,000. The charity has issued an urgent public appeal via their JustGiving page to raise £40,000 before the end of September to secure the charity’s future, including the jobs of two-thirds of its staff and its team at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh. Kindred is currently in talks with Edinburgh City Council and the Scottish Government for the rest of the funding required.

The charity is in urgent need of funds to continue its work addressing a wide range of issues for the family, such as coming to terms with their child’s health, securing specialist provision at school, providing emotional support to parents and siblings, assisting families if they face financial difficulties and with applications for support, as well as with housing and mental health issues. Many parents are ‘on the edge’ when they get in touch with Kindred and are only able to overcome the huge challenges they face due to the comfort and wisdom offered by Kindred staff, most of whom are parents of children with disabilities and have experienced similar situations in their own lives.

Famous Scottish crime writer Ian Rankin has voiced his support for the charity, commenting:
“Kindred is a charity that’s been close to my heart ever since my son was born with special needs – over twenty years ago. I know first-hand the difference Kindred makes to families. With your help, they will continue to flourish and to offer support to those who need it.”

Christine Wright, whose 10-year-old son was mown down by a stolen motorbike on Ferry Road in Edinburgh just last month, said she couldn’t have coped if it wasn’t for Kindred’s emotional and practical support. She commented:

“Kindred has been amazing at one of the worst times of my life. When my son Cameron was admitted to the High dependency unit at RHSC following a motorbike hit and run incident, our family were traumatically plunged into a living nightmare of shock, fear and anger coupled with a high level of media and police involvement. Kindred came along just as I was ready to crack. I was tired, scared and worn out. The staff let me talk and cry but most importantly, they listened. We really couldn’t have coped without Kindred’s emotional and practical support.”

Tally Jackson-Dyke, whose son Ridley has Autism, said that Kindred provided a ‘lifeline’ for her family. She commented:

“We were at a real low and had just run out of energy to fight but Kindred picked us up and fixed everything. Going from a diagnosis to dealing with disability are miles apart and Kindred was there to provide support and help me acknowledge my dreams for my child needed to be adapted. Looking back six months, I would never have imagined that I’d be in full time employment or that my son would be perfectly settled in a wonderful school.”

A number of professionals have backed the charity and appealed for financial support. Dr Maia Forrester, a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist within the CAMHS Learning Disability Team, said:

“Kindred provides invaluable support for the families of the young people that we see in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service Learning Disability team. One of the families that I look after has a 16 year old boy who has a moderate-severe learning disability (LD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). His LD, ASD and ADHD together severely impair his functioning and put a constant high level of strain on his family and on health, social care and educational services. The most fundamental factor underpinning his health and wellbeing is for his family to feel supported and understood, and for all the professionals involved to be able to communicate well with his family and with each other. Support from Kindred has facilitated all of these.”

Adam O’Brien, a Parent and Pupil Support Manager with Edinburgh City Council commented:

“Kindred have a unique status as a charity working in the field of additional support needs in terms of the great size and breadth of their casework, their long experience and their contribution to national policy. Kindred provide an immensely valuable role in building resilience in families at a time of crisis and I have frequently heard parents say this at meetings I have attended.”

Sophie Pilgrim, Director of Kindred, said:

“I am hopeful we can raise the funds needed to keep Kindred’s valuable service going. As a parent myself I have experienced some very difficult times. My son was born with a cleft palate which was not diagnosed until he was 6 weeks old and then, when he was slow to develop, I was told he might never walk. He was 15 years old before he was diagnosed with autism and a rare genetic condition. I experienced the stress of finding appropriate schooling and the anxiety when he became extremely ill and required treatment from Tier IV CAMHS. My role as Director of Kindred is a great privilege and I know from my own experience how much parents need our service. We have an amazing team and I hope that we will be able to continue to make life better for other families.”

To make a donation please visit Kindred’s JustGiving page –
Watch Kindred’s fundraising video –

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· KINDRED 1: Sophie Pilgrim, Director of Kindred, with her son Adam. Photo credit: Malcolm Cochrane Photography and Inspiring Scotland.
· KINDRED 2: Tally Jackson-Dyke with her sons Ridley (left) and Mylo (middle)
· KINDRED 3: Laura Macalister with daughter Kaia, son Riley and mother Janet. Photo credit: Malcolm Cochrane Photography and Inspiring Scotland.

Quote for photo KINDRED 3:

Laura Macalister said: “Since getting involved with kindred our family life now has purpose and direction. The services we have benefitted from include advocacy, charitable funding applications, understanding our rights, but most of all, they offer support from a place of understanding since they have been there before themselves. What they achieve on a daily basis for so many families like ours is truly remarkable.”

For more information, quotes or pictures please contact Sarah Robertson on 0131 603 8996 or at

About Kindred

Established in 1991, Kindred is a parent-led organisation providing practical information, advocacy, emotional support and guidance. Based in Edinburgh, we support families of severely ill and/or disabled children to:

come to terms with their child’s diagnosis and implications for the future;
understand their child’s limitations – and/or pain – and/or challenging behaviour;
learn new skills to care for a disabled child at home;
apply for necessary disability benefits, equipment and home adaptations;
find the right school and learning support;
cope with bereavement.

We are a unique organisation with high standards of delivery, whilst remaining very much in touch with the needs of people using our service. We run a national service for the Scottish Government providing advocacy for ASN Tribunals Scotland (in partnership with Govan Law Centre). We also have teams in Fife and in Glasgow who provide support to families of children with Exceptional Healthcare Needs. NHS Lothian is providing a four-person office at the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People, Edinburgh when it opens in May 2018.

More information can be found here:


KINDRED 1: Sophie Pilgrim, Director of Kindred, with her son Adam. Photo credit: Malcolm Cochrane Photography and Inspiring Scotland.


KINDRED 2:Tally Jackson-Dyke with her sons Ridley (left) and Mylo (middle)


KINDRED 3:Laura Macalister with her daughter Kaia, son Riley and mother Janet. Photo credit: Malcolm Cochrane Photography and Inspiring Scotland.