#OpeningDoors December Blog

It’s been another busy few weeks at #Openingdoors! We’ve had 4 festive graduations and a snowy trip West! We are nearing the end of #Openingdoors 3rd year in April and it has been the busiest one yet with 23 mentees so far! 2018 is going to be busy right from the start with more careers events and DYW projects – watch this space for other exciting news to come….

This was our sturdy CALA van (Betsy) and I carefully making our way to Gairloch High School and West Highland College last month to meet with 6 young people interested in a career in childcare. A very big thank you to Sid who carefully escorted me back up the glen behind his gritter lorry!

An Enormous…

To everyone within and out with CALA for their support in 2017. The support, encouragement and opportunity you provide our mentees is invaluable and we appreciate it incredibly.

Here’s what some of our 2017 mentees have to say about #OpeningDoors:

The Pines Autism – New Parent Drop-in Sessions 2018

The following information comes from Chip+


“If you’ve used CHIP+ services we’d really appreciate it if you could give us some feedback on our services by completing our short survey https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/X7GQQVZ

The Pines drop-ins for parents/carers with autistic children have now been organised for 2018 and is attached for you to view, covering topics such as Building Social Interaction Skills, Money Matters/Universal Credit & Managing Change to reduce anxiety.”

Click here to download the Chip+ drop in schedule.

CALA Staffbank 2017

As 2017 draws to a close, we can’t help but reflect on what has been a very busy year for CALA Staffbank, with many challenges and successes along the way.

Our congratulations and sincere thanks go to each and every member of our team from the office staff, to each Relief Practitioner on the ground, with a special mention to our Practitioner of the Year & our nominees, and to the CALA Staffbank Office Team for their outstanding achievements!

We would like to thank all of our clients for their continued support, and look forward to continuing to work in partnership with existing and new Clients as we move into 2018.

We have prepared a short slideshow with some of the year’s highlights. Click here to view the slideshow (hover over each picture to learn more about it).

All that remains is to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

CALA’s Christmas Competition!

The North of Scotland has been a frosty place to be over the last few weeks! On the one hand this makes for slippy pavements and tough driving conditions, but it also means lots of children have been out having fun in the snow, and building plenty of snowmen!

Have you and the children in your lives built any snowmen recently? If so, we want to see them! Head over to our Facebook page to submit your photo. Our expert panel of judges will choose their favourite, with the winner receiving a £20 gift voucher for Waterstones.

The rules:

 You must have taken the photo yourself.
 The photo must have been taken this year.
 Only one entry per person.

The closing date for the competition is Tuesday 19th December at 3pm.

Don’t worry if what you and your kids have made isn’t particularly mind-blowing, it’s all about just having fun 

We look forward to seeing what you’ve come up with!!

Some useful links, courtesy of Play Scotland

The following information comes from our friends at Play Scotland:

State of Children’s Rights report 2017

Together’s 2017 State of Children’s Rights in Scotland report sets out promising rights-based practice taken by Scotland’s public bodies.

The report outlines good practice through a wide range of case studies across the areas of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The report is a tool for public bodies to take forward children’s rights.

You can read and download the report here.

GUS Report

New findings: Physical activity levels amongst 10-11 year olds in Scotland

The Scottish Government has published a new report ‘Objectively measured physical activity levels of Scottish children: analysis from a sub-sample of 10-11 year-olds in the Growing Up in Scotland study’.

Link to the full report.

This report uses GUS data to explore the physical activity and sedentary levels in Scottish 10-11 year old children. Using two approaches, self-reported and objectively measured physical activity, the analysis examines differences in activity levels by gender and area deprivation.

Developing the Young Workforce – Quick Start Guide

Education Scotland have produced a new ‘quick start guide’ containing key information on Developing the Young Workforce (DYW), all at a glance. The guide is aimed at teachers and practitioners in education establishments.

It is a perfect reference tool for accessing and sharing core messages.

Click here to download the quick start guide. 

– Fiona Morrison, CALA Workforce Development Manager

Eye infections in young children – advice from the Care Inspectorate

The following information comes from the Care Inspectorate

World Antibiotic Awareness week took place on 13-19 November and European Antibiotic Awareness Day was on 18 November. Many health boards ran activities to raise awareness and the Association of Scottish Antimicrobial Pharmacists has written about eye infections in young children to raise awareness about this.

This is an area that can cause confusion among parents and childcare providers with children, on occasion, being excluded from nurseries unnecessarily and parents seeking antibiotics when often this is not required.

This information sheet (http://cinsp.in/2zvkjMf) is being circulated to early years providers to raise awareness and to provide information on this subject. Providers may share with parents and carers, which will also be helpful in raising awareness more widely in the community.

Further information on conjunctivitis can be found at NHS Inform (https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/eyes/conjunctivitis)

Information on exclusion can be found in the Health Protection Scotland’s Infection Prevention & Control in Childcare Settings guidance (2016) (http://www.hps.scot.nhs.uk/resourcedocument.aspx?id=5761)

or contact Lynda Hamilton, Nurse Consultant Infection Prevention and Control ([email protected])

CALA are getting Christmassy!


Things are getting Christmassy here at Care and Learning Alliance. Decorations are up, Christmas jumpers are on, and orders are being placed for the CALA Christmas lunch.

Despite all this Christmas cheer, we are still hard at work, helping to support the children and families of Highland and beyond. If you need us for anything, drop us a line on 01463 222569, or email [email protected]

Instead of Secret Santa this year, CALA will be making a donation to Cash for Kids. If you’d like to learn more about Cash for Kids or make a donation to this great cause, head over to their website.

Feasibility Study on the Development of a Family Counselling Service

Family Mediation Highland are looking for people to share their views on a possible extension to their services. The following letter was written by Margret MacRae, Service & Development Manager at Relationships Scotland, and provides more details on their planned consultation:

We are contacting you to ask your views about the possible extension of the services to include a Family Counselling Service. The service would be aimed at families who are experiencing challenges in their lives and who are struggling to manage these on their own. This service would target Highland families:

We are contacting you to ask your views about the possible extension of the services to include a Family Counselling Service. The service would be aimed at families who are experiencing challenges in their lives and who are struggling to manage these on their own. This service would target Highland families:

  • who may not meet the criteria for other support services
  • where existing support is primarily focused on the individual and support for other family members is not available.

We would be grateful if you could give us your views on the need for this potential development. Your response will help us to identify need, shape the development and provide evidence for funding applications. Any development is completely dependent on both the identification of local need and the securing of funding.

We would be grateful if you could help us by completing the attached questionnaire and returning it, by email or post by 20th December. We are aware that people are frequently asked to complete questionnaires; therefore, we have tried to make it as straightforward as possible. It should take no more than 5 minutes, and all individual responses will be confidential. Should you wish to include a letter of support that could be submitted with our application for funding, this would be most helpful.

Your comments will be greatly appreciated. If you have any queries on this questionnaire, the proposed services or the services we currently provide, then please do not hesitate to contact us.

You can download the feasibility study by clicking here. 

SSSC Codes of Practice – what they mean for social services workers

When you register with the SSSC you must abide by their Codes of Practice for Social Services Workers. To help you understand what these codes mean for you, the SSSC have produced a short instructional video.

Click here to be taken to the SSSC website where you can watch the video. 

Upcoming FREE Training: Play and Learning into Practice (Inverness, Aviemore, Skye)


This is a FREE introductory two-day course for both new and inexperienced practitioners and experienced practitioners looking to refresh their skills and knowledge in the value of play and learning.

Course Details

Aviemore – St John’s Church, Rothiemurchus Saturday 20th and Saturday 27th January 2018

Inverness – Merkinch Community Centre, Friday 2nd and Friday 9th February 2018

Skye – Aros Centre Thursday, 1st and Friday 2nd March 2018

How to book…

Simply fill out our quick and easy online form: https://careandlearningalliance.co.uk/training/plip2day.html
Please note if you would like to book more than one person on to the course, you’ll have to fill out the form for each person.

Or we can take your booking over the phone: 01463 222569.

More Details

If you’d like to know more about this training, please download the training flyer by clicking here.

‘How We Eat’ – The newest course on the CALA E-Learning Zone


Care and Learning Alliance are very pleased to announce the launch of our newest E-Learning course: ‘How We Eat‘. Made in collaboration with NHS Highland, ‘How We Eat’ is designed to support parents and those working with young children and families. The course aims to help children become competent eaters, enabling them to grow at a rate that is right for them.

Click here to be taken to the CALA E-Learning Zone, where you can sign up to ‘How We Eat’ for free. 

Course Information

Parents/carers and those working with and for young children and families are well placed to support and guide young children to develop eating strategies which will help them make appropriate food choices and appreciate that people come in all shapes and sizes. This course shares strategies to help children to become competent eaters and grow at a rate that is right for them.

The course is interactive with animations and scenarios with simple questions to consolidate your learning throughout.

We’re very proud of our new course and would love for you to try it. It’s easy to sign up, and you’ll be taken step by step through the material.

Click here to be taken to the CALA E-Learning Zone, where you can sign up to ‘How We Eat’ for free.