Prom event will see community help youngsters who were looked after in Braes home

Shannon McGeachan, Ann Craig and Kirstie McCracken
Shannon McGeachan, Ann Craig and Kirstie McCracken

A kind-hearted young woman wants those who have been in care to enjoy a special event enjoyed by many youngsters.

Thanks to her efforts, 14 young people, who live or have lived in a local children’s home, are looking forward to their first ever ‘prom’.

The youngsters, aged between 14 and 25, have all spent time in Tremanna Children’s Home, a small residential care home run by Falkirk Council

While school proms – with glamorous hair-ups and dresses for girls and smart suits or kilts for boys – are now a rite of passage, that isn’t the case for many looked-after children who have other stresses in their lives to worry about.

However, a former resident of Tremanna has decided to change that and is helping to organise a night to remember for the young people who live at the home as well as some of its former residents.

Shannon McGeachan (24), came up with the idea after thinking about how she had missed out on a prom.

She said: “I feel that so many of the kids here will leave here without ever experiencing a prom. I felt it was something I’d missed out on and I didn’t want them missing out too.”

With the help of residential care worker Ann Craig, Shannon is organising a very special winter ball – and they were delighted when Macdonald Inchyra Hotel in Polmont agreed to provide a venue.

“I thought I’d chance my luck and write to local hotels and Inchyra replied and offered us a beautiful room! They’ve been brilliant!” said Ann.

“It’s a beautiful hall and we can also use the garden area! It’s going to be amazing!” said Shannon.

During the evening of November 24 they will also have a ‘awards ceremony’ to celebrate the achievements of the young people, often in the most difficult of circumstances.

And they are also holding a Tremanna’s Got Talent competition, which has already attracted a couple of entries.

“It’ll be a bit of a laugh, but it’s also about giving them a little confidence boost,” said Ann.

The staff at Tremanna, which has been described as ‘excellent’ by the Care Commission,  help the children prepare for an independent life and a recently formed charity, Friends of Tremanna, is making sure the support continues after they leave.

As part of their fundraising, they have set up an arts and crafts group, which meets every week, to make things that will be sold.

Their ‘candy cart’ will have its first outing at the winter ball and they hope it will become a regular fixture at other fundraising events, building more confidence among the young people.

“For most people, if things get difficult or they have an unexpected problem,  they’ll ask their parents for help. However,  kids in care don’t have that sort of back up, so that’s what Friends of Tremanna is for.” explained Shannon.

Ann has has now written to local companies to see if anyone could help with extras that would make it an even more special event.

They would love to hear from anyone who can help with things such as limo hire, kilt hire, dresses, hair and music.

If you can help in any way, please email ann.craig@falkirk.gov.uk or pauline.connelly@falkirk.gov.uk.