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Instant Neighbour

For the past year the Chief Executive of Instant Neighbour Charity, Sophy Copland has been negotiating with the New Initiatives Managers of Grampian Housing Association, Langstane Housing Association, Tenants First Housing Co-operative, Castlehill Housing Association and Aberdeenshire Housing Partnership to develop a unique contract.

A Wider role application was made to Communities Scotland and after some months of discussion an agreement has been reached.

A separate application has been discussed, agreed with Communities Scotland and is to be made to for Furniture Grant money held by Communities Scotland.

This will mean that Instant Neighbour Charity will enter into a contract to supply Housing Associations across Grampian with furniture for their tenants under the following hierarchy of needs categories:

• Statutorily homeless
• Homeless hostel, sleeping rough or refuge
• Other insecure accommodation

Instant Neighbour Charity will supply furniture for 100 assists in the first year with this growing year-on-year.  The Associations will place a service charge on each tenancy with the intention that this money be set aside to build into a pot to make this a self funding contract within a three years.

The funding being provided to Instant Neighbour Charity will allow us to purchase a new van, hire two van persons and a full-time administrator for the contract. 

It is anticipated that the van will be required, initially, for this contract for 8 months of the year and it is planned to use it thereafter to earn some income through undertaking small removals.

This is an exciting development for Instant Neighbour Charity, which will mean we can now offer our services outside the City boundary.

This contract will be unique in Scotland as there is no other area of the country considering applying as a block to work with one charity.

Instant Neighbour Charity
Background Information

The core aims of Instant Neighbour Charity are:

• To alleviate the social and economic hardships of the Individual/family and to promote and assist in the development of their health welfare and personal esteem.

• To provide a means to achieve rehabilitation of the individual/family into the community.

• To protect the individual/family from social threats to their functioning and to minimise the effects of oppression and to ensure that the rights of clients are observed.

• To promote the recycling of furniture and household white goods by collecting these from donors, storing them and redistributing them to suitable clients.

Since its inception in 1984 Instant Neighbour has evolved to meet the ever-increasing demands placed on its services, by those most in need in the community.

The main client groups are young people with no family support, women fleeing violence/abuse, single parents, elderly, disabled people, and those whose lives are affected by poverty.

The clients all suffer from inadequate housing, clothing, and poor diet; consequently they live with poor health and an inferior quality of life.   They also suffer socially by experiencing lack of choice and isolation, which leads to a lack of self- confidence. The vast majority of clients claim state benefits and live below the poverty line.

All the current services are provided from its premises which are located in the centre of Aberdeen City (a recognised area of deprivation). No appointments are necessary and staff can offer advice and information on issues relating to the alleviation of poverty as well as practical help and emotional support.   Clients are offered immediate help in emergency situations and can access all other services with a package of ongoing support being offered.

Instant Neighbour Charity currently provides the following services:

Household Equipment and Furniture

Donations of good quality furniture and electrical goods are collected and distributed to clients who are trying to establish a new tenancy or sustain an existing home.  

If a tenancy is unsuccessful we will store clients furniture until an alternative becomes available.


A removal service is available for full households or just a few essential items such as beds, cookers, suites.

Food Parcels (this is an increasing and growing part of the service)

Emergency parcels of non-perishable foods are distributed to those in need.  Some may be experiencing problems with benefits or during the winter months face the stark choice of heating their homes or buying food.  Food is donated to the Charity – in the main through churches and a number of primary schools across the city.  Clients requiring food attend the charity in person – with a number being regular customers.  We do not feed families with children as there is a statutory obligation for the local authority to feed children.

Safe & Sound

Safe & Sound works to improve the lives of children within the city of Aberdeen.   The project loans child-safety and baby-care equipment for varying periods of time dependant on their need, promotes good
child/family health, provides good quality baby, children’s, and maternity clothing, and emergency supplies of powdered milk, solid food, and disposable nappies to help in a crisis situation.

We are currently working with Home Safety Aberdeen to provide a ‘Safety Pack’ to the clients of Safe and Sound.  These packs are specially designed to create a safe environment in the home through the provision of safety equipment i.e. socket covers, child safety locks, corner covers, and door wedges.  If successful it is intended to extend this service to all young parents across the City.

Giving Tree

The Appeal was established in 1991and brings a happy Christmas to children in Aberdeen who would otherwise go without.   Christmas trees are erected in various locations throughout the City and are bedecked with cards with the name and age of a child from a needy family.  People can take a card and buy a gift for that child to give them a happier Christmas. Around 4000 parcels are donated and distributed annually via the Giving Tree Appeal.

The Charity actively assists around 6000 people per year and currently diverts around 50 tonnes of furniture away from landfill.

For further info', contact:

Sophy Copland
Chief Executive
Instant Neighbour Charity
2 Poynernook Road
AB11 5RW
Tel: 01224 - 213666
Email :

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Company Registration No. 278156. Scottish Charity No. SC 029210