The Afty’s general manager, Fiona Ansdell, retires on Friday June 24 after 30 years of service at Hyndland After School Club. Over the last three decades, Fiona has played a crucial part in the lives of thousands of children and families, helping to build the Afty from a small after school club to one of the largest in the country – and added another two onto it!
You can view her message to all parents and carers below and on a special Kudoboard – just click ‘add to board’ to leave your own message!
We all wish Fiona a wonderful retirement, and a huge thank you to all that she has done for the Afty. It goes without saying that Afty would not be what it is today without Fiona. We’ll miss you!
Paddy Morrison, Acting Manager
A Message from Fiona
Dear Parents and Carers
I am just writing to let you know I am retiring at the end of term after (almost) 30 years.
It has been a privilege to know and work with the hundreds of families over the years in the West End. The Club has been and continues to be a very special place. I have said before it is a privilege to be part of these young lives, helping to shape their childhoods. I’ve also told the children it’s a privilege to attend the club – especially if they were in trouble or complaining!
I was part of the early days setting up the Afty back in 1992, at first volunteering for a couple of months then taking on the role of playworker. I was previously a childminder with several years of experience – my charges preferred to go to an after-school club!
We started with twenty-four places and five staff – expanding over the years to 106 places at Hyndland, 60 at Notre Dame and 40 at Thornwood with a current staff roll of around 37.
Working my way up from the various SVQ (Scottish Vocational Qualifications) in playwork to BA in Childhood Practice the government kept us on our toes as far as training and qualifications were concerned. I have lost count of the number of times I have completed First Aid and Food Hygiene certificates!
A parent once said of the Afty we are always ‘moving forward – never standing still.’ That is so true as we have developed over the years, expanded, and met all the challenges that came our way including Covid 19, during which I think you will agree the teams at all three clubs did a magnificent job of maintaining our excellent standards while still offering a nurturing and caring environment.
No one person runs the Afty. Teamwork is priority and without the current wonderful staff and the dozens of amazing, caring, talented and committed people who have worked in Afty in the past it would not be what it is today. I have seen families come and go and return with late babies, and Afty kids coming back to work with us. We even get children of parents who attended the Afty as children themselves!
Of course, we need the children too, so thanks to all the families who are using our services now and in the past.
I have also worked with some truly dedicated people on our management board. Some have stayed on the Board for as long as 14 years! As a not-for-profit charity we need parents on the Board who are willing to commit some time and help the senior staff run the organisation efficiently, taking care to comply with all the legislation and protect the welfare of the staff. Some new parents have joined recently – sorry I will not get to work with you but thanks again for joining!
Relationships with the school have always been really good – compared to some After school organisations who have not been welcome in schools. It’s such a shame, as after school care can only be an asset to any school. My two children attended Hyndland Primary, so I have been close to the school for many years. I have known three head teachers at Hyndland and countless teachers who have always supported and collaborated with us for the benefit of all the children. Special thanks to Helen Brown for her continued support and championing of after school care – all ‘headies’ should be like her! I cannot mention the school without also thanking the last two janitors – Joe and John. Such dedication to the school and the club – we really appreciated them.
The last two years have been an ‘enforced’ transition for me as I have been working from home. In some ways it has made leaving this job (vocation really) for good, a bit easier. If I had still been working my daily 8 hours in the office at Hyndland, seeing the children daily and getting to know the new parents, I think it would have been a lot harder!
So, with mixed emotions, I would like to wish everyone good health, a great summer and beyond!
I am sure the Clubs will continue to grow and develop with whoever fills the General Manager role.
Many thanks and best wishes
Retiring General Manager