Support for families

Befriending and mentoring

Befriending Services for Children and Young People  

Befriending can offer children and young people a supportive, reliable relationship with a volunteer befriender, helping to increase their self-esteem and confidence. A befriender can provide emotional support, a positive role model and support the child to develop their interests and engage with activities in their local community.  

Big Hearts Kinship Befriending  

Big Hearts provides emotional support through 1:1 befriending for children and young people aged 5-16 years old who live in kinship care.  

Visit the Big Hearts website for more information or contact 


People Know How Positive Transitions  

People Know How are able to offer befriending as part of their Positive Transition service. Befriending matches young people with a befriender, providing them with a positive role model and a safe environment to chat and engage in activities based on the child/young person’s interests. Support can be offered from Primary 7 up until S1. The service is designed to support the child/young person to feel valued, and understood, improve their self-esteem, and peer relationships and enable them to fulfil their potential. This service is available to children and young people in Castlebrae, Liberton, Portobello, Gracemount and Leith Learning Communities. Referrals will open in Summer 2024 for the January 2025 programme. 

For more information visit the Positive Transitions | People Know How or contact  

0131 569 0525  

Positive Help Befriending Service  

Positive Help supports people who are living with or affected by HIV/Hepatitis C. For parents who are living with HIV or Hepatitis C and have children between 5-18 years, they can provide support and time-out through their befriending service. The befrienders are trained to understand the complexities of living with HIV and Hep C and provide opportunities for children to experience fun activities.

For more information visit the Positive Help Befriending Service website or contact 

0131 225 4766 

Space@ Broomhouse Hub Youth Befriending  

Space for Youth Befriending is a City-Wide Project. They are funded to support children and young people aged between 5 to 16 years who have experience of parental drug and/or alcohol use or live in kinship care.

For more information visit Youth Befriending – or contact  

0131 455 7731 

Family and Household Support Volunteer Befriending  

The City of Edinburgh Family and Household Support service are able to offer a one-to-one volunteer befriending service to children and young people who would benefit from support. An assessment and plan are initially required from a Family and Household Support Service Family worker.

For further information please visit the Family and Household Support Service page.

Mentoring Services for Children and Young People  

Mentoring services match a suitable mentor to a child or young person who may benefit from support. Often mentors are trained volunteer adults, but they can also be older peers. Mentoring can support the young person to set and meet specific goals perhaps socially or in relation to training or employment. The relationship with their mentor allows the young person to develop positive behaviours and aspirations whilst improving social and communication skills. 

Firsthand Lothian   

Firsthand Lothian mentoring service helps young people with disabilities identify and achieve personal goals. The service offers support to children and young people up to 16 years old, who may benefit from one-to-one time away from the family home to do things they enjoy regularly. The service can also be offered to siblings of children and young people with a disability. 

Visit the Firsthand Lothian website for more information, or to discuss a referral contact

0131 523 1322  

MCR Pathways 

This school-based mentoring programme is available in Broughton, Craigroyston Community, Drummond Community, Forrester, Gracemount, Leith Academy, Liberton, St Augustine’s and Wester Hailes Secondary Schools. Pupils from S2+ who may be care experienced or experiencing difficulties which are impacting their learning are offered support to realize their potential and work towards positive skills and achievements.

For more information  speak to your child’s pupil support team, visit Our Vision - MCR Pathways webpage or contact  

0141 221 0200  

Move On 

Move On supports young people aged 14 to 25 years old experiencing difficulties including low school attendance, welfare issues at home, lack of positive social networks, poor mental health or being bullied.

Visit the Move On the website for more information or to make a referral contact 

Circle ISSEP (Inter School Social Education Project)  

This mentoring project provides academic and emotional support to local primary-aged children in the North West Locality. Children in their final year of secondary school benefit from weekly one-to-one support delivered by a volunteer mentor.  

Visit the Circle ISSEP website for more information or contact  

0131 332 9269  

PlusOne Mentoring - YMCA 

YMCA Edinburgh offers a mentoring service to young people (8 to 14 years) who may be at risk of becoming involved in criminal activity, have poor mental health, have poor school engagement or have a difficult home environment. It is a community service which uses volunteers to work one-on-one with young people who live in North East Edinburgh.

Visit the YMCA Edinburgh website for more information or to make a referral contact 

0131 553 7877 

Intandem and Kinship Mentoring - YMCA 

Intandem offers mentoring on a regular basis to children and young people involved in the care system. Intandem provides scaffolding to support children and young people who are subject to compulsory supervision (or at risk of becoming so), living at home or in kinship arrangements. 

Visit the YMCA Edinburgh website for more information or to make a referral contact 

0131 553 7877 

Heritage and Inclusion Service  

Action for Children provides one-to-one and group support for young pupils from the BAME (Black, Asian, and Ethnic Minority) population between the ages of 12 to 25 to share their experiences and gain mental and emotional health support. Activities about heritage, culture, and inclusion are offered, such as cinema, lunch, bowling and links made with the National Museum of Scotland, colleges, and The Duke of Edinburgh Award.

For more information or to make a referral contact  


Befriending and Mentoring Support for Parents and Carers  

Homelink Family Support 

Homelink Early Years support at home is available to parents in Edinburgh with a child under 5 years old or who are expecting a baby. The one-to-one support service is provided by staff members or volunteer befrienders. Providing a listening ear, help with the challenges of parenting and support to attend groups and activities.

Visit the Homelink Family Support website for more information or to make a referral contact 

0131 661 0890  

Home Start Edinburgh 

Home Start Edinburgh provides a volunteer befriender service. Providing practical help and emotional support that is free and confidential for parents who may be affected by isolation, bereavement, multiple births, illness, disability or who are just finding parenting a struggle. The volunteer will usually visit at home for a couple of hours each week.

Visit the Home Start Edinburgh website for more information or to make a referral contact  

0131 553 7819 

Time 4 Mum - Firsthand Lothian  

This service is for mothers living in Edinburgh, who are isolated and would benefit from support. Mums receive help from a one-to-one worker to help them to reconnect with themselves, to recognise their strengths, and skills and to take time out to do something for themselves on a regular basis, boosting their physical or mental health. Childcare is not able to be provided, so should be in place.

Visit the Firsthand Lothian website for more information or to make a referral contact 

0131 523 1322  

Family Supporters - Volunteering Matters 

This is a citywide service offering support to families who may be facing a range of barriers and life challenges. Volunteer Family Supporters can offer support, tailored to the unique needs of each family, building on strengths, and promoting resilience. They act as trusted mentors, providing consistent emotional and practical support to families in their homes every week for six months. 

Visit the Volunteering Matters website for more information or to make a referral please contact  

07415 734 558 

Parental Employment Support Project - Volunteering Matters 

Parents who would benefit from support to move forward in life, and progress into employment, higher education, or training can take part in regular one-to-one flexible support sessions. Parents have the chance to benefit from a positive and empowering mentoring relationship, provided by a Volunteer Mentor and develop a plan to meet their individual needs and goals.  

Visit the Volunteering Matters website for more information or contact 

07415 734 558 

LINKNet Befriending - No More Isolation, No More Tears (NINT)  

This befriending project is suitable for both ethnic minority men and women who live in Edinburgh and Lothians. It provides a variety of activities to address isolation and loneliness such as one-to-one befriending, community and educational events, cultural activities, and English classes. 

For more information visit the LINKNet Befriending website or contact

07447 228 686, 

0131 261 4463. 

LINKNet Mentoring 

LINKNet offers one-to-one mentoring to minority ethnic people who require support to access education, employment or enhance their personal development. Support can be provided for up to six months to achieve employment, access further education, improve English language skills and improve self-confidence and self-esteem. 

Visit the LINKNet Mentoring website for more information or contact 

07447 228 686,  

0131 261 4463.