HopScotch was set up because of the desperate need for vulnerable children to have a free countryside holiday. It soon became apparent that a far more nurturing approach was required to support the children most in need. Consequently HopScotch has built ongoing relationships with many organisations in Scotland who count on them to provide a resident to mentor and support the children in their care.
In December 1998 we purchased Ardvullin, and work began soon after to convert it into a Holiday Centre. In July 1999 we ran our first HopScotch season, providing 60 children with a holiday during July and August and 12 children with a break in October. From 2000 we extended our season each year to an annual programme of 27 weeks by 2008. In 2011, due to the high demand, we further increased it to 31 weeks, enabling 28 groups of children to have a break at Ardvullin, giving around 340 disadvantaged children a break.
Disadvantaged Children in Scotland
HopScotch works with some of the most disadvantaged children in Scotland. Many have never been to the countryside or seaside before, and a holiday at Ardvullin is their only opportunity to have a break away from their problems in a safe and secure environment.
The children who visit Ardvullin have to contend with serious issues in their home environment, including:
- Sexual abuse
- Domestic violence
- Parental mental health/physical health issues
- Parental drug/alcohol abuse
- Extreme poverty
The majority of the children we help are young carers; their days and nights spent caring for a parent or family member. Others have special needs including challenging behavioural issues, or come from families affected by financial difficulties and hardships, women’s refuges, one-parent family groups, HIV/Aid support groups or are asylum seekers or refugees.