We are celebrating 150 years of East Park from October 2023 – October 2024!

Kieron OBrien

A message from the Executive Director

Kieron Bruce O’Brien

Executive Director

It seems just the other day that I said we were rapidly approaching March 2023, and now we are well into the summer and, of course, the middle of the year.  Our end of term school celebrations take place soon as does the nationally acknowledged historical Troon Taxi Outing.

Our staff in the residential services have continued to support and care for our children and young people and are busy planning exciting activities for the summer break. East Park has had a busy final term of activities and events that have evidenced the amazing work carried out by the staff teams achieving positive outcomes for all our children.

Our preparations for the 150th Anniversary Celebrations continue, as does the work on our book to be launched early in 2024.  Covering 150 years of history, it tells the story of our journey that began in 1874 and continues today.

Our staff have attended and are attending many conferences and contributing to understanding of our services and some of our key approaches such as Play Pedagogy.

The world we work and live in continues to be more complex with continued and unprecedented pressure that adds to the complexity providing the services desperately needed by some of the most vulnerable children in Scotland.  In the midst of this, East Park remains stable and grounded with full subscribed services in the school and residential services, and the young adult’s service, Workmates, expanding in its ambition to make the transition from school to adult life, just that wee bit easier and more seamless.

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Our relationship and partnerships with local authorities and the Scottish Government remain good, whilst we acknowledge the challenging financial pressures being felt across the nation and in particular the sector. East Park, as a staff intensive service due to the complex needs of the children, continues to ensure that, the best staff are employed and retained in a sector that requires extensive funding to ensure the services are of the highest quality  and which are deserved and expected by the children and their families.

The East Park Board of Trustees continue to offer up their time and expertise to assist the senior management team in making decisions that are in the best interests of East Park.

Challenges remain as we roll out the 2023-2025 Business Development Plan that drives our core values, objectives and key priorities that we would like to achieve over the next three years.

Unfortunately, East Park was unable to remain on the Scotland Excel Framework as our fee uplift request was not agreed. The cost-of-living crisis that hit the nation and impacted on our staff and their families, having just come out of a challenging period of Covid and the Covid Recovery, required a substantial wage increase to retain and attract staff and ensure that we could prepare ourselves for the ongoing inflationary pressures and resultant current and future fall-out of this.  We continue to monitor and review this situation frequently.

Having recently had the privilege of speaking at the Annual Spifox Luncheon at the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow, I would want to encourage you to get in touch with us to discuss our strategic projects and assess how we could work together collaboratively and in partnership to achieve our goals for these amazing children.

We have ambitious plans to improve and refurbish the current Soft Play area, Lewis House kitchen, Emergency Stairwell and School classrooms, after recently completing a £1m project to replace and restore the roof on the main site at our Maryhill Road, location in Glasgow. 

We are hopeful that planning will also incorporate the refurbishment of the Mitchell Hall and provide a Sanctuary space for our staff.  There is, of course, ongoing work to upgrade the gardens at all our off-site residential services.

East Park remains committed to The Promise, which is our pledge to do things better and differently to ensure our most vulnerable children experience a better childhood. We help capture the views of children, young people and their families in decisions that affect them and how we continue to shape our services and make a real difference in their lives.

I hope that you would be able to experience the warm and welcoming culture that is very much part of East Park as we seek to put our children and young people first and foremost at the centre of all of our business and development at East Park.

For those staff in the Workmates, Residential and Resource Teams who continue to work through this period, please be in no doubt how much we appreciate your resolute commitment to the young people and their families.

I hope having read this, if not already you will consider becoming part of the East Park family either as a supporter/donor or employee when the opportunity arises.


Kieron Bruce O’Brien

Executive Director

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