with Emma Leiper Findlayson


Emma Leiper Finlayson has energy, drive and commitment and Children 1st, Scotland’s national children’s charity, is all the better for it.

The 31-year-old has been its regional fundraising manager at 36 Carden Place, Aberdeen, since last year and says, ‘I knew I was never going to be
a world leader or prime minister but as a fundraiser I’m able to make a little difference to the world in my own way’.

She joined Children 1st from jobs at her much-loved alma mater, Aberdeen University where she took an MA in History and M.Litt in Renaissance Studies. ‘I worked for the university’s fundraising  development trust and, prior to that, the students association. It was a big wrench to move on but I wanted to work for a charity that I really believed in and one about which I could speak openly and passionately,’ she adds.

‘At Children 1st we try to help children and young people from all backgrounds, classes and areas to recover from abuse, neglect or trauma. Nobody likes to talk about it, but abuse does happen in Aberdeen and sadly it’s more prevalent than any of us like to think. We may not all be parents, but we were all children, and none of us want to think about what it would have been like growing up having suffered an unimaginable experience such as abuse. That’s why our work is so important. We can’t change a child’s past, but we can help change their future.’

Emma’s enthusiasm is tempered by the current challenging economic climate which means that Children 1st is unable to reach out immediately to all the children who need one-to-one recovery support. She says, ‘Many youngsters referred to the charity have to wait up to a year to receive support from our project workers which is an incredibly frustrating situation’.

Undaunted, Emma is motoring ahead with various fundraisers, including the charity’s flagship event, the 29th Touch of Tartan Ball at Aberdeen’s Beach Ballroom on Friday 18 November. ‘We bucked the trend last year by raising a record £140,000,’  she says, ‘so we are hoping for more of the same.’  You can buy a table of 12 for £1,800 or a table of six for £900. You can also help the cause by donating gold items which goldsmith and engraver Malcolm Appleby will melt down to create the iconic Banchory Bangle for the 40th time.

Children 1st will benefit from the proceeds of Trend’s Afternoon Tea Garden Party at the Marcliffe Hotel and Spa on 22 April and there is a lunch at the same venue on 13 June, organised by the Aberdeen Action Group, chaired by Juliette Paton.

Away from work, what does Emma enjoy? ‘I am a keen writer,’ she says, ‘and in a future life I aspire to live out my days in Venice, getting the novel I have inside of me out onto a laptop as I sip coffee and look out the window of my canal-view Venetian apartment.’  Nice dream, eh?

36 Carden Pl, Aberdeen AB10 1UP
Tel: 01224 251150 aberdeencity@children1st.org.uk

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