Published on
21 May 2020

Action for Children and Barnardo’s Scotland supporting vulnerable young people and families in Scotland through the pandemic

From supplying food parcels, to emergency cash payments to help families pay for essentials children’s charities Barnardo’s Scotland and Action for Children have been supporting the most disadvantaged in communities across Scotland throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and will continue to do so, but while the charity's incomes are being decimated demand for vital services is increasing.

During the lockdown the children’s charities have supported children, young people and families in local authorities from Dumfries and Galloway in the south to Orkney in the north.  The charities moved quickly and effectively responding to over 3,404 new applications for support.

The charities were aware that vulnerable families and young people were already struggling and only “just coping” before the pandemic. The current situation has led to significant escalation of need, meaning many were on the cusp of crisis.

They have broadened the scope of help and adapted their services to fit the changing landscape – supplying devices to aid virtual communication and schooling; furniture grants for young care leavers who had moved into tenancy just before lockdown, and have maintained ongoing and vital support to young people, particularly around safety and safeguarding.

Martin Crewe, Director of Barnardo’s Scotland, said: "Coronavirus is hitting the most vulnerable in our communities the hardest. We were shocked by the immediate and devastating impact of the pandemic on children, young people and families across Scotland.  As the two largest children's charities in Scotland, we brought the resources of Barnardo's Scotland and Action for Children together to respond to the scale of this challenge." 

Paul Carberry, Action for Children Director for Scotland, said: “Across Scotland, staff from our projects work in some of the country’s most disadvantaged communities and have witnessed first-hand the effect of this pandemic. Many of those we work with were already struggling and only ‘just coping’ before Coronavirus. However, since lockdown, there has been a substantial escalation of need with this pandemic having a devastating impact on the most deprived communities.

“Working in partnership with Barnardo’s Scotland, our collective reach means that we have been able to distribute immediate support to those who need it most. Together we have supported hundreds of families and young people with essentials ranging from food shopping and fuel through to the payment of bills. It has proved to be a vital lifeline in preventing a great number of families from falling into crisis.”

The initial Wellbeing payment issued to the charities from Scottish Government covered a six-week period that has now come to an end, but the need for support is still very much required. To meet this need, Barnardo’s Scotland and Action for Children once again must turn to their own financial reserves to plug the gaps, but they know that this will not be viable for any length of time.

Martin continued: “The funding from Scottish Government has been used to provide emergency support to vulnerable families and young people negatively impacted by the Covid-19 crisis.  Our frontline staff have identified families and young people most in need and we have processed allocation of payments within 24 hours.  All administration costs have been absorbed by the charities to ensure that every penny goes to the families and young people who are in dire need of our support.”

The investment from the Scottish Government has been a lifeline helping those most affected by the pandemic, and the charities hope that the Scottish Government will be in a position to make an announcement soon on further financial support to enable them to continue their vital work where it is needed most. 


Notes to editor

The Scottish Wellbeing Fund was announced by the Scottish Government on 18 March 2020 to enable Third Sector organisations to provide immediate support to those adversely affected by the Coronavirus.  £50m has been allocated to this new fund.

Barnardo’s Scotland works with more than 16,300 children and young people in over 140 specialised community-based services across Scotland, and more than 100 shops across the country directly supporting the services. Our work includes: fostering and adoption services and support; helping children break free from sexual exploitation; supporting young carers; helping young people in to employment and helping children living in poverty.

Visit to find out how you can get involved and show you believe in children.  Twitter: @BarnardosScot Facebook: Barnardo’s Scotland 

About Action for Children Action for Children Scotland works directly with more than 20,000 children, young people, parents and carers each year.  With 87 services in Scotland, we are in communities where you live and work. We help transform the lives of thousands of children and young people each year and we’ve been doing so for 60 years. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter @actn4childrScot

Media enquiries:

Barnardo’s Scotland media office – email: [email protected]  telephone: 0131 446 7022 mobile: 07919 565 826 or 0208 498 7555 (24 hours).

Action for Children media office – email: [email protected]

Telephone: 0141 550 9010 (option five) mobile: 07809 781 190 or out of hours: 07802 806 679