Photography changes life of boy who witnessed domestic abuse

Connor had a lifechanging experience in the Highlands. Picture: VisitScotland
Connor had a lifechanging experience in the Highlands. Picture: VisitScotland
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SCOTS charity HopScotch has provided a major boost to a 11-year-old boy whose life was affected by domestic abuse.

Connor – whose name has been changed – moved to the Woodside area of Aberdeen from the North of England with his mum and brother for a fresh start, away from a life that had been dominated by domestic abuse.

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Connor was lacking confidence and had been prescribed drugs for mental health issues. His mum could see he needed a holiday and did all she could to encourage him to join a group of other children from the Fersands and Fountain Community Project on an adventure to Ardvullin in the Scottish Highlands.

Connor took part in events and activities but initially didn’t fully engage with the others. But once he was given a camera he headed exploring and captured images of the sky, stones, water, mountains and happy children having fun at the shoreline.

He showed a flair for photography and found a new way to express himself, marking a real turning point. That change was noticed by Magdalena Majewska, from Fersands and Fountain Community Project, who said: “All he wanted to do was to share them with his mum. It was very moving to see how happy she was seeing his amazing photographs and how proud Connor felt at that moment.

“Since returning home from his HopScotch break Connor has built a bigger social network, started to go to clubs on a regular basis. He plays outside more often and he has become more open and confident.”

Roberta Mackay, HopScotch manager, said the case showed how children learn new experiences on the short trips away from home, adding: “This is a very good example of the benefits that a short break can bring to vulnerable children.”

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The charity seeks to provide 350 children from all over Scotland with a memorable break from challenging home surroundings where they can develop their full potential.

HopScotch works with schools, community groups women’s aid and young carers organisations to identify the children most in need. Children arrive from difficult home circumstances or needing respite from a range of responsibilities as young carers.