Happy Birthday HOT :)

Happy Birthday HOT :)

Happy Birthday HOT :) /


It’s an exciting year for HOT this year – it’s our birthday, we are 18 – happy birthday to us!!! If you want to buy us a birthday present you could donate to our wishlist.

We are feeling very grown-up – excited about all the things we can do and are to come. We’re going to celebrate and have lots of amazing plans for this year – but I won’t spoil the surprise just now!


Being 18 has reminded us about transitions. Transitions are when you move from one thing to another – like from primary school to high school, or from care into a foster home, or from school into a job.

Going through a change can be stressful, exciting, challenging, fun scary. It can be a good chance for learning, a chance to meet new people and it can be a chance to grow as a person.


As HOT changes to being 18, we hope that it will be a chance for us to grow as a team and as an agency.


Supporting Young People

At HOT we support young people who are going through lots of changes – if you are going through a change and you’d like to talk to someone, remember that you can come to our drop-ins or you can email us at getsupport@health-opportunities.org.uk.


Nae Worries

We have had a busy year so far. We were successful in getting some funding for a new project – the Nae Worries groups – which will help young people who are experiencing anxiety. We have some amazing new workers on the team – they are really nice people, smart, funny and very skilled and experienced.  We are also starting an amazing new partnership with Edinburgh Young Carers to provide therapeutic 1-1 and group work for young carers – starting later in the year.  We are so happy to be working together with such a fantastic agency!


We Need You!

We have started a Young Person’s Committee and are looking for young people (aged 12-25) who would like to join.  We are looking for young people who would like to help our agency be the best we can be and who are interested in young people’s sexual and emotional health issues.  We hope that young people from each of our areas would like to join the committee to represent their area and help us to collect young people’s views.


We can offer you:

  • Free food :),
  • Training and support to be involved,
  • A great experience that you could put on your CV,
  • A chance to help run a charity,
  • A reference for future employers,
  • Fun and a chance to have your say,
  • A chance to represent young people in your area,
  • Travel expenses,
  • A chance to develop your knowledge, skills, experience and confidence.

If you’d like to join please just get in touch with me – niki@health-opportunities.org.uk


Feel Good

We also have places in our Feel Food Young Women and Young Men groups – free food, a chance to try different ways of keeping fit and workshops for learning new skills and chatting about things that are important for you.

As an agency we’ve been working towards our aim of becoming “A centre of excellence for trauma-informed services” – this is a fancy way of saying that we want to deliver services that really help young people who have had a difficult time in their lives. 



Trauma is when something happens to us, or to someone close to us, which overwhelms us and which we can’t cope with. There are different types of trauma – something horrible that happens once, something horrible that happens over and over again, or something horrible that happened (or is happening) to the group that we belong to (for example because of our race, sex, gender identity, sexuality or religion).

You might have heard about ACEs ? – this stands for adverse (difficult) childhood experiences and research has shown that they can lead to physical health problems later in life. If we understand this then we can help to stop health problems later in life by supporting young people to understand how they feel, find healthy ways to cope with how they feel. 

Many of the young people we work with have experienced trauma or adverse childhood experiences and we want to make sure we are providing the right kinds of service – things that will really help and not make things worse.  We will be talking to young people, schools and our partners to find out more about what they think will help and we will let you know as we develop our new ideas!


Over July our HOT topic is ‘mental illness’.  We often focus on mental health but we felt it was important to think about what it feels like to have a mental illness and to talk about what can help.  Mental illness can be something that just lasts for a short time, or it can go on for a long time.  It can be something like anxiety, depression, eating difficulties, feeling suicidal or a wide range of other conditions. There is still a lot of stigma about having a mental illness but there shouldn’t really be because it’s totally human and it can happen to anyone.

The young people that we work with who are experiencing mental illness have told us that it can make them feel isolated and lonely. It can affect their self-esteem (how they feel about themselves) and it can lower their confidence.  Sometimes young people who have experienced mental illness can actually end up having a better understanding than others. The one thing that they all say is that they were glad they spoke to our workers – you don’t have to suffer alone and talking to someone can really help.  Help is available – it might be someone in your family, a phone help line, your doctor, a worker or a trusted friend. 


Lend an Ear

Sometimes it doesn’t work talking to friends because they might not understand, or they might feel unsure of how to help – or they might even feel a bit frightened. It doesn’t mean they don’t care and it might be that you just need to speak to a worker who has experience in how to help.  You can always come to one of our Drop-ins or if you live in one of the areas we are funded to work in then you can ask your school to refer you for therapeutic support. We can also provide therapeutic 1-1 support for sale across Edinburgh.  Just contact us if you would like more information.

Anyway, I hope that you have an amazing summer – lots of fun and time out enjoying nature.  I’ll be in touch soon to let you know about our birthday surprises – hopefully, you can join in with the fun and be part of our journey.

Niki x

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