Residential home for children opens in Fort William

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A children’s charity has opened a residential home for youngsters in Fort William.

Aberlour, a national charity supporting vulnerable children and their families, has set up the home in a former guest house in Lochyside.

Planning permission to convert the building was accepted by the Highland Council in February.

Lochan cottage, a seven-bedroomed property, will house up to five children, aged between eight and 18 years, who will be supervised by two staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Aberlour chief executive Sally Ann Kelly said: ‘We are delighted to have found accommodation to provide safe, stable and caring homes to children who really need one. We have had great support from our neighbours and the children have already been made to feel part of the community. We could not have hoped for a warmer welcome.

‘These are family homes and the children are part of our family. For some, this may be for a short period, before returning to live with their own family. Others will grow up with us into adulthood. All our children will be encouraged to look forward to a happier future. Every child deserves the chance to flourish.’

Two houses, in Fort William and Inverness, have been opened in partnership with the Highland Council. They support children who have often experienced trauma, which could include witnessing domestic violence or drug and alcohol use in the home.

The council has welcomed the charity’s new houses. Councillor Alasdair Christie, chairman of the People Committee, said: ‘We are excited to be working with Aberlour and hope this will be the start of a long partnership, bringing both innovation and high quality services to families and children in the area.

‘Aberlour is focused on improving the lives of children and young people and has brought a fresh perspective to the care of the most vulnerable young people, including them in how services are run.’