Christmas Cheer at Culbokie Fun Club

The following blog article was submitted by Marion Laidlaw, CALA Childhood Practice Manager:


Having trouble reading this? Click here to download as a PDF instead. 

Impact of Coercive Control on Children & Young People


The following blog article was submitted by Norma Ruettimann, CALA Training Development Manager:

“Whilst enjoying seasonal festivities, we need to be mindful that some children may experience domestic abuse, the potential impact of this and our role in supporting children and families.”

Click here to download an article written by Gillian Gunn, Development and Training Manager, Violence Against Women, entitled ‘Coercive Control on Children and Young People’.

Happy Christmas, from Sutherland Stepping Stones and Ceuman Beaga

Sutherland Stepping Stones


Annarie from Sutherland Stepping Stones: “I have attached a photo of our new Sleigh. We are looking after it for santa. Stepping Stones would also like to wish all our service users a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Ceuman Beaga, Inverness


Maree from Ceuman Beaga: “I hope that you have a lovely holiday. Nollaig Chridheil agus Bliadhna Mhath Ur dhut!

Highland Council Community Play Award 2017

The following blog article comes from the Play Highland website:

“The Highland Council, in association with Play Highland, are offering an award of £1000 to the group, organisation or community that has done the most to promote play. The annual award is presented by the Play Improvement Group, which works to promote self-directed free play with daily access to the outdoors.

The closing date for submissions will be noon on the 17th February 2017.

The 2016 award was won by Smithton Primary School Outdoor Explorers After School Club and the Green Leaf Garden and presented to them at the . They developed different play zones at the school including a ‘mud kitchen’ and a den building area. The pupils and teachers involved were presented with their award by Cllr Miller at a meeting of the Education, Children and Adult Services Committee in June 2016.”

Read the full announcement, or download an application pack, by visiting the following link:

A busy year for #Openingdoors, guiding young people to a career in childcare


Kirsty Hunter has sent over a blog update, describing some of the great work #Openingdoors have been doing this year, supporting young people’s pathways to a career in childcare.

Click here to download the article [pdf]

And the winner of the CALA Christmas Competition is…


For this year’s Christmas Competition, in honour of ‘Year of the Dad’, we invited dads, grandads, or any or any male carer who looks after children, to record themselves singing their favourite Christmas song together.

We had an amazing response! Thanks so much to the people who took the time to submit a video. We had a lot of very talented dads, grandads, carers, toddlers and babies on display. It was a very difficult decision to choose a winner, since everyone who entered did so fantastically well.

One video just about edged it though, thanks to its sheer Christmas spirit. There are matching Christmas jumpers, a Christmas Tree, and a rousing rendition of Jingle Bells. Andrew and his kids performance can’t help but put a smile on your face. They win £100 to be spent at their parent toddler group, Scallywags Toddlers in Caithness. Congratulations!

Watch their winning entry below:

We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who sent in a video – we had loads of fun in the office watching them!

Change of Location for Upcoming PLiP Training


Due to demand we have relocated the forthcoming PLiP course starting on January 13th 2017 to BALLOCH BAPTIST CHURCH, Inverness. There are still a few free places available! The previous location for this training was Aviemore Community Centre.

Click here to download the updated training flyer. 

News update from our colleagues at Safe Strong and Free


Our friends at Safe Strong and Free have released their latest newsletter, which includes lots of informative, thought-provoking articles on a range of issues relating to child protection.

Download the newsletter by clicking here [pdf].

Frugal Fun Friday – Christmas Trees!

Some more festive FFF for you today! This week Mairianne takes a pice of paper, and with a few folds, a bit of glue, and some decorations, she turns it in to a beautiful Christmas tree. Why not have a go yourself! Click the picture below to play the video:


Thanks Mairianne!

Congratulations to #Openingdoors graduate Maddie Cowie!



maddie-cowie-graduation-9-12-16Congratulations to another #Openingdoors graduate! Maddie Cowie has successfully completed all three phases of #Openingdoors and graduated this week. Maddie came to #Openingdoors in September and with our support mapped out her personal pathway into working within the childcare sector.

Maddie now studies at North Highland College and has been successful in gaining employment with CALA’s Staffbank. Maddie’s commitment, enthusiasm and ‘can do’ attitude has ensured that she is mapping out a very bright future for herself within the rapidly expanding childcare sector.

Here she is, receiving her certificate and gift voucher, with her placement supervisor Annarie Hannigan at Sutherland Stepping Stones.

Maddie Says…

“#OD was great for me as it enabled me to get a foot in the door for a path into childcare. #OD taught me lots of great information and was very useful and fun to complete. Being able to complete this at your own pace was great for me as I don’t always have a lot of free time. #OD has helped me so much as my long term goal from ever since I can remember is to work in childcare, which isn’t always an easy sector to get into. Having this really reassures me that things are changing and there is a better chance for young people to get into a career in childcare and early years.”

– Maddie Cowie, age 17

Culbokie Fun club visit Cromarty

This blog article was submitted by Marion Laidlaw, CALA Childhood Practice Manager:


“It’s great when clubs get the chance to meet up and children can see what goes on in other clubs. Here’s a report of the visit when Culbokie Fun Club visited The Centre at Cromarty”

Click here to read the report that Marion sent through [pdf]. 

Christmas Fun at Strathpeffer Eagles

The following blog article was submitted by Issy Fowler, CALA Parent and Toddler Group Facilitator:


Strathpeffer Eagles out of school club were very busy recently making lots of decorations to take home and to decorate the room. We made some salt dough, cut out Christmas shapes using cookie cutters, left them to dry and had lots of fun painting them and making them very sparkly, with lots of glitter! We decorated our tree and made paper chains so the room is looking very festive.


We thought we would try something new this year so we got an encaustic wax set and did some great pictures on card, which we used to make calendars.

Look out for our next blog piece which will have the details of the brilliant Fareshare Food Scheme that we are part of.

Issy and Jilly