Someone we work with, Grant, is a keen and very skilled photographer. But his camera was holding him back: it was not good enough to let him use his talent to the full. We were able to help.

Grant first got interested in photography a long time ago – back when people still used camera film. After a while, he got out of the habit. “I just did snaps here and there with my phone. Then, about 10 years ago, my girlfriend at the time got me a new camera.” 

Things went from there. Grant then bought a camera, a Canon 100D, that one of his friends was selling. It was almost brand new, and Grant started doing wildlife photography again. Grant explains, “the challenge is just to get an image, because most animals move so fast. You’ve got to find ways to try to work with them.”  

Two juvenile kestrels sitting on the edge of a rock, with thin branches to their left and right.

Above: Juvenile Kestrels “These young kestrels were part of a brood that I had the privilege of watching from being chicks to fledging the nest. (In the interests of transparency I should say that in the original image the sky had washed out, so while editing on Photoshop I had used the sky replacement function.)”

Grant started by going to his local park and taking photos of the birds there. The park was the perfect place for this. It had lots of different wildlife, with the coast at one end and a woodland area at the other.  

Grant found that the patient and slow nature of wildlife photography was enjoyable and of great benefit too. “Photographing wildlife, it really slows you down. Because if you’re jumping about and being noisy… they won’t come up. You’ve got to take maybe 20 minutes just to sit still… then you start to hear the noises of them rustling about – and then you start to sense the movement of them, you won’t actually see them yet.” 

“And then after a while they get to trust you, and see that you’re no threat. Then they’ll start showing themselves. And now that I’ve been going to the same spot for about 2 years, animals will come up to me quite readily. I take things with me like bird food, bags of nuts for the squirrels and stuff like that, so they are quite happy. You learn a lot about animal behaviour.” 

Above: Wren on a branch. “This is probably the clearest image I have of a wren, one of the UK’s smallest birds. They are incredibly skittish and devilishly fast.”   

Ravenscraig Castle is lit up by the sun in the left side of the image. The right side is filled with trees in shadow.

Above: Ravenscraig Castle at sunset

When Grant first started working with Future Pathways, one of the things he talked about with his Support Coordinator was his love for photography. He wanted to get better at it but the camera he had was too basic. This is when his Support Coordinator said Future Pathways could help.  

Grant made a list of what he needed and got everything second-hand which saved a lot of money. He was now able to do much more and in many different light conditions.

As you can see, Grant has taken some amazing photos, and he clearly loves the process as much as other people love the results. “One of the most amazing experiences I’ve had was at a spot I know where kestrels go every year. About 2 years ago, I was there and a kestrel was sat in a tree quite far away. And the next thing, he flew to a tree about 20 feet from me. It literally just sat there and watched me, checking me out for a good 5 minutes. Enough time to go and get my camera set up and take an image right close up.” (The photo Grant took is below.)

A kestrel sitting atop a branch looking into the camera with a flat blue sky behind it.

Above: Kestrel. “This kestrel flew onto the tree closest to me and watched me for a few minutes.”

And it seems that Grant’s love for photography may be passing down to his kids. Grant sometimes takes his daughter out with him. She uses his old camera to learn. Grant told us that this has been an added benefit of Future Pathways’ help that he did not expect. “It has helped my daughter and me build on our relationship, by giving us a shared interest.”  

Above: “A ‘macro shot’ from a day spent shooting insects and flowers.” 

“It is a great experience. Everyone’s got their life stresses, and then I’ve got other mental health issues that I’ve got to deal with. When I go out with my camera, for that couple of hours I’m not thinking about any of that. What I’m concentrating on is the location I’m going to, what’s the light like, what kit am I going to use, what shutter speeds am I going to use, how am I going to set the camera up? I find that it takes my mind right away: just for a couple of hours, I have no worries.” 

Above: A robin in the sun. “It was the end of the day and I was about to pack my equipment away when I noticed this wee fella. Next to kestrels, robins are my favourite birds. They are so full of attitude, curious, and furiously defensive of their territory. But once they get used to your presence they will happily stay about you.” 

Check out another fantastic photograph by one of the people we support in the Sunrise photograph here
You can view more creative pieces from the people we support in our Arts and Crafts Winter Showcase.
Our Registration Line closes at 4pm on Wednesday 5th April 2023.
It will re-open again at 10am on Wednesday 12th April 2023.  
Until we close the line for the Easter break, you can register in the following ways:
Phone us for free on 0808 164 2005. Our lines are open 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.
Email us at If you email, please include a phone number so we can contact you to complete the registration process.
If you’re finding things hard, you can contact one of the following services:  
The Samaritans 

The Samaritans offer a safe place for you to talk any time you like. You can talk in your own way about whatever’s going on. They have a helpline, email service, letter service and a self-help app.  

Helpline open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Freephone 116123. 

Breathing Space 

Breathing Space is a free, confidential phone and webchat service. It is for anyone in Scotland over the age of 16 who is experiencing low mood, depression or anxiety. Open 6pm to 2am Monday to Thursday, and 6pm to 6am Friday to Sunday.   

Phone for free on 0800 83 85 87 


Shout is a free, confidential, 24/7 text messaging support service for anyone who is struggling to cope. 

Text SHOUT to 85258 

Cellfield helps people to improve their reading skills. We spoke to Fiona Macdiarmid who owns and runs the Cellfield Centre in Stirling.
How did Cellfield start?

It began in Australia, in the late 90s. It was invented by a clever man called Dimitri Caplygin. He was an engineer, and he wondered why so many people still had problems with reading, even when so much had been done to look into and help the issue. So he looked at all the research, and used it to create a computer program.

How does it work? 

To be able to read, your brain needs to be able to do lots of different things at the same time. The technical terms are things like “auditory processing”, “visual processing”, “motor function”, “working memory” and “executive function”, but basically it means that your brain has to work in lots of different ways at once.   

The program brings together all of those different things, and helps you to get better at each of them, so that they all work together well. That means that your reading skills improve very quickly.  

A building with large glass windows. There is a tree to the left with green and red leaves. In front of the building are plants and shrubs.

Above: Cellfield Centre in Stirling

How long does the course take? 

To start with I’ll talk to the person and discuss exactly what they want help with. That takes about 2 hours, and includes some simple testing to find out how well the person can read. I also tell them how the program works. If they decide they want to go ahead, it is quite a lot of work: about an hour or an hour and a half each day, for 10 days.  

After that, we look at how much progress they have made. We then check in with them again 6 months later.

How much better can people get in 10 days?  

It depends on a lot of things. But some people improve their reading a little. Others improve it by a huge amount. It’s amazing. I have been working in education for 35 years, and I have never seen anything like it.   

A great example is the very first person I worked with using the Cellfield program. He was very smart, and I had already been working with him, using other teaching methods, for 18 months and getting nowhere. I used to say, “If I could just get inside your head and rewire it, we would be onto a winner.” And that is pretty much what the Cellfield program does.  

A room with grey and white walls. There is a bench with computers. Four people are sitting at the computers. They face away from the viewer and are looking at the screens.

Above: inside the Cellfield Centre

Can you work with anyone? 

Yes. I have worked with people who really cannot read at all. I also work with people who can read but find it difficult to remember what they have read.  

Are there lots of other Cellfield organisations? 

Yes, all over the world. As well as the UK there are centres in South Africa, New Zealand, Australia. There are also centres in America and Canada.  

How long have you been worked with Cellfield? 

Since 2009. I actually went to New Zealand to do my training with Dmitri.  

How did you start working with Future Pathways?  

Through a client of mine. His mum worked for Future Pathways, and she told Future Pathways about us. And then Cellfield, the Community Brokerage Network and Future Pathways all worked together to help someone who was registered with Future Pathways. Since then, we have worked with one other person so far.   

And can it make a big difference to people’s lives? 

Yes, a huge difference. The Cellfield program teaches your brain to work better, and that has lots of other benefits other than just reading. It’s like if you work to get better at running. You would also get a bit better at cycling, rowing, and lots of other things.   

And also, of course, because being able to read better is really useful in your life. 

You can find out more about the work of Cellfield at
For a full list of who we work with, visit our Delivery Partners page 
We strive to enhance the service we provide. So, we decided to look at how we can improve the experience of the people we support. We did this by asking for feedback from people who access the service. Journey Associates helped us with this. They are a company that helps people to improve their work. They created the project for us.  

Making Pathways Together

The project was online and ran from 2020 to 2022. These online workshops gave people the chance to give feedback. They looked at key areas. Different themes came up: 

  • Communication  
  • Our structure and approach 
  • Our support and resources 
  • Engagement events and socials 
  • Promoting our service 
  • Alliance Leadership Team 
  • Working with other services 
  • Services that suit different people
  • Support for life-changing events 
  • Support across a person’s life 
  • Personal resilience  

Then three broad topics became clear: 

  • Communications 
  • Future Pathways’ Structure 
  • Engagement Events and Socials 

Each of these topics had a range of actions. For example, making sure more people know about us or explaining our support more clearly. 

The people who took part created posters. These were like the front page of a magazine or a newsletter. They showed their ideas for how to improve Future Pathways.  

Then Journey Associates created a report for us. It included all the posters that people made. It also showed all the steps of the project, the things people discussed and what people want us to do. We have read this carefully. We have thought about the things we have done since the feedback. And we have also thought about what we can do in the future. You can view a summary of this below. It covers: Communications, Structure and Engagement. 

We would like to thank everyone who took part in Making Pathways Together. Their feedback helps us to improve our service for the people we support.  
Read the full Making Pathways Together report. 
We always want to hear your views about our service. If you would like to share them with us, you can fill in our feedback form or email us at