Maggie registered with Future Pathways in 2020. She had watched a programme on television about child abuse and this invoked deep feelings of anger. Shortly afterwards, she heard about the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry on the news and called the Inquiry helpline number.

She was motivated to call the Inquiry by her relationship with her son. Because of her past traumas and the shame she felt, Maggie felt she had not been able to be the mother that she wanted to be. For example, Maggie struggled to play games or show physical affection with her son as a child because this was not modelled to her when she was a child. This was devastating to her. Maggie also contacted the Inquiry because she felt strongly that justice was needed, and it was important to her to be heard.  

“I needed someone to listen. That was important to me because nobody ever listened.”

The Inquiry referred Maggie to Future Pathways and Maggie started working with a Support Coordinator called Lisa. Maggie met Lisa for the first time in person at a cafe, along with Maggie’s son. This was a big step for Maggie who hadn’t spoken to anyone apart from her son in a long time. Maggie recognised some people she knew at the café, and this was triggering. Lisa understood and they found somewhere Maggie felt comfortable. Maggie instantly felt comfortable with Lisa. She felt that there were no barriers up and it was as though they had known each other for years.

“I’ve never smiled so much in my life. She listened. She never once interrupted me. She would ask me [questions].”

It took time for Maggie to trust Future Pathways because previously she had negative experiences with other services which had made her feel poorly informed, dismissed, or dropped which made her feel as though she had done something wrong. Lisa understood how important it was to be consistent.

“Not once did she let me down. […] She has held up her end of the bargain. I felt I had somebody who I could trust.”

As time went on, Lisa and Maggie developed a trusting relationship and Maggie opened up about the anger she felt. Lisa always responded with compassion and never assumed what Maggie would want or need. Maggie appreciates that Lisa always checks in to make sure she understands what Maggie tells her, and to make sure Maggie was okay after an emotional phone call.

“She has been my backbone.”

Maggie enjoyed art when she was younger and was interested in finding a creative outlet. Maggie had been attending a local pottery class and had built up a good relationship with the tutor. However, this became unavailable locally which felt like a real set-back. Lisa supported Maggie to recover after this and to explore other options.

Maggie heard about a local studio delivering classes. Future Pathways used discretionary funding to enrol Maggie in a jewellery class. When this wasn’t the right fit, due to Maggie’s mobility challenges, Future Pathways supported Maggie to explore alternatives and Maggie engaged in classes in ceramics, mosaics, and stained-glass art. Nobody at the studio knew Maggie or her past which meant she felt able start with a fresh slate.

Lisa also supported Maggie to start working with a psychologist, Amy. Amy helped Maggie to develop coping skills to manage her triggers. Strategies included taking breaks from her phone and expressing boundaries in her relationships with others. Maggie felt believed by Amy and Lisa, which made this relationship work.  

“I was allowed to talk, and somebody listened, and somebody believed me. That meant the world to me. Somebody had my back. Somebody was looking out for me. That was the most important thing. I would have known if they didn’t believe me

Now, Maggie continues to create and is currently making a piece for Future Pathways. Her mosaic incorporates an image of a yellow brick road to symbolise her hopes for the future. Maggie has a passion for poetry. Her poetry is inspired by Scotland’s slave-trade history, and she also writes about her personal experiences which she finds cathartic. Going forward, Maggie would like to write her life story and recently she wrote a poem about applying for Redress. Maggie feels it is important to give survivors opportunities to tell their stories. Maggie feels more able to stand up for herself and uphold her boundaries. She feels able to help and support others and has more faith in herself.

“I’m finding me, I’ve got a voice now, I’ve got courage. […] They gave me the strength. They let me find me. They gave me control back.”

While Maggie finds it distressing that abuse still happens in care settings, she feels motivated to contribute to positive change. She feels it is important for services to learn from mistakes and to be transparent and honest when making commitments. Maggie feels that Future Pathways should provide support for the children of survivors and address the inter-generational impact of trauma. This is informed by Maggie’s experiences with her son with whom she has now developed a positive relationship.

Maggie feels that Future Pathways’ support has been lifechanging. After struggling with her mental health in the past, she now feels that there is someone in her life who can help.

“Future Pathways are a fantastic organisation […] They’ve given me a sense of humanity back. When somebody has got your back, that’s a true friend…you feel it.”
See How We Help to find out more about how Future Pathways can help you. 
Yvonne was previously involved in campaigning for better access to records. She heard about Future Pathways during a meeting with an MSP. Yvonne knew some people who had contacted Future Pathways, but she did not know what to expect from the service.
“It was quite daunting to call, especially if, like me, you are not comfortable talking to strangers.”
Yvonne started working with her Support Coordinator Adam. She was nervous about working with a male, but Adam was easy to talk to and put her at ease by listening attentively.
“I don’t trust easily but I was able to build trust with Adam. It made a massive difference to have someone to talk to who was listening to me and supporting me, and who knew what I have been through. You don’t necessarily talk about it all, but they know and that helps.”
When Yvonne registered, she felt her life lacked direction. Yvonne had conversations with Adam about what mattered to her and where she found purpose before. In the past, Yvonne did charity work in her local community. Yvonne reflected that she had found volunteering rewarding. These conversations helped Yvonne gain perspective on what she wanted her next steps to be.
“It is important to me to give back and turn my negative experiences into something positive for others.”
Yvonne explored some volunteering options and Adam encouraged her to “think big.” Hearing Adam’s faith in her helped Yvonne feel capable and confident.
“I didn’t believe in myself. I thought, am I confident enough to do that? I did doubt myself. But I thought, well Adam believes in me. It helped me believe in myself.”
She saw an advert for victim support volunteering. She felt she would enjoy working with different people in different circumstances, and that there would be a lot to learn. Yvonne applied and interviewed for the position, which was an intimidating experience.

Now Yvonne is training for the role which involves supporting people who are going through the justice system. Yvonne is excited about the opportunities this will open up for her.

“I am excited about the journey. Now I feel I have a purpose. Look at where I came from and where I am now. I wasn’t confident. I didn’t believe in myself. I didn’t know what to do a year ago. Now I have taken this huge step of becoming a Victim Support Worker to help others.”
Future Pathways also helped in other ways. With Future Pathways support, Yvonne has been attending pottery classes. This is a creative outlet for Yvonne and an opportunity to spend quality time with her daughter. Yvonne was also referred to the Anchor, Glasgow Psychological Trauma Support Service, and this helped her to understand herself better. She continues to work on focusing on the here and now with Future Pathways’ support.
“I have gained a sense of completion from working with Future Pathways. I feel like I know myself now. I felt so lost and now I don’t. I don’t feel like a victim anymore. Support from Adam has kept me focused on the present and my future. It has transformed my mindset and my life. Friends and family notice a big difference in me as well. My daughter told me she is proud of me. They say I am a different Mum now – they see a strong, confident woman. Working with Future Pathways has brought me and my children closer together.”
See How We Help to find out more about how Future Pathways can help you.
Future Pathways supported Rita to access counselling around two years ago following a diagnoses of complex post-traumatic stress disorder. This work included supporting Rita to develop coping strategies for her severe anxiety.

Before working with the psychologist, Rita found it difficult to complete everyday tasks like going to busy public places. She felt permanently on high alert and found it difficult when people approached her or came into her personal space.

Rita developed a positive working relationship with her counselling psychologist who took the time to work on creating a dynamic where Rita felt safe and secure.

Rita’s Support Coordinator felt that a crucial contributor to the success of this working relationship was taking the process at Rita’s pace, adapting to Rita’s evolving needs, and taking the time to develop a safe foundation from which Rita could start working through her trauma and begin to build coping strategies.

Recently, Rita completed a review of her support with her Support Coordinator who shared that the work with the psychologist “has been absolutely life changing for her, just incredible.”

In the review, Rita shared that she now feels much more able to go out into public spaces and do things that previously triggered her anxiety. Other people in Rita’s life have also noticed a positive difference in her. Recently she went to a restaurant and was able to enjoy her meal despite others sitting near her and recently she went to a supermarket and suddenly realised she wasn’t feeling panicked.

Rita was able to have a conversation with someone she had never met before in a public space without her anxiety becoming overwhelming. 

Although Rita’s anxiety does still affect her, she feels proud of herself for taking these strides. By engaging with therapy, Rita has learned tools to support her to manage her anxiety, and now feels ready to work on her trauma with her psychologist while continuing to apply these tools to her everyday life.

See How We Help to find out more about how Future Pathways can help you. 
Marie* heard about Future Pathways after participating in the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry. Marie works full time and cares for a family member, so she felt spread thin when she first reached out to Future Pathways.

When she met her Support Coordinator, Marie shared that she felt like she didn’t have a lot of time to herself. She felt that she often prioritised other people’s needs, and this had affected her confidence. Marie’s Support Coordinator helped her to consider what her interests were, and she shared that she had always been interested in gardening. Marie had worked in a garden several years previously and was interested in picking up these skills again. 

With her Support Coordinator’s support, Marie started looking into volunteering opportunities in her local area and found a local community garden. 

With her Support Coordinator’s encouragement, Marie started volunteering there once a week. This gave her some dedicated time in the week for herself and made her feel more confident and valued, while also allowing her to gain more skills in gardening and feel more engaged with her local community

Sadly, shortly after starting to work with Future Pathways, a close family member died. While grieving this loss, Marie and her family were also struggling to pay the costs of the funeral, which caused worry and strain during an already difficult time. This was made more difficult because they had lived far away. 

Marie shared this challenge with her Support Coordinator and was surprised to hear that Future Pathways could help pay for travel and accommodation costs for her to attend the funeral.

Her Support Coordinator also helped Marie contact the local authority to explore options for funeral cost support which reduced financial pressure considerably. This enabled Marie and her family to grieve their loss without worrying about getting into debt.

After returning from the funeral, Marie started struggling with her mental health as thoughts and memories from her past in care resurfaced. She decided to talk to Future Pathways about accessing counselling. Marie shared with her Support Coordinator how important it was to be able to relate with her counsellor so that she could feel comfortable talking about her trauma. Her Support Coordinator researched some options. 

Marie attended the first session knowing that if she didn’t feel a connection with the counsellor, other options were available.

Marie chose a counsellor who she felt comfortable with and over time they developed a relationship which allowed Marie to explore how her trauma impacts her in the present. Future Pathways also provided funds for materials for a creative project which Marie did alongside counselling to express her life story. Marie feels this support has allowed her to develop a different, more rounded perspective on what she needs going forward. She no longer feels she is facing life’s challenges alone. 

See How We Help to find out more about how Future Pathways can help you. 
The Community Brokerage Network (CBN) works alongside Future Pathways to support people to achieve their outcomes.
CBN was established with support from the Scottish Government, Support
in The Right Direction (SiRD) Fund. They provide independent information and support to help people with social care needs choose how to use the resources available in the best way for them.
Brokers at CBN help people identify what support they require, find out information about the options available, and put a plan in place which meets their needs.
Recently, CBN worked alongside Future Pathways to support a client to develop his literacy skills. Michelle, a CBN Broker, tells us about this experience:

My relationship with Future Pathways works well because they work in a person-centred way, and they give us as a partner the time and flexibility to be person-centred too. This aligns with our ethos at the Community Brokerage Network which is about putting people first.

The client’s Support Coordinator, Mary, put me in contact with Cellfield U.K. Mary explained how trauma can affect people and what could be  triggering for the client. We identified that the time and expense of travelling to attend sessions presented a barrier to the client. 

We took the time to explore several options, but Mary also knew when to step back, and trust our experience and expertise as partners. She did not micro-manage.

We arranged for sessions to take place in the client’s local community, and we adapted the length and structure of the programme according to the client’s needs. 

The client initially felt quite reluctant and low in confidence because of their previous experiences of education, so we took a relaxed, informal approach. The client enjoyed the process and attended every session without prompt. This experience seemed to increase the client’s self-belief and open up future opportunities to learn.

I enjoy working with Future Pathways because we have a respectful, open exchange of ideas. My opinion is listened to. 

We feel comfortable to disagree with one another and discuss options. In my
view, the Support Coordinator role is invaluable. The Support Coordinator connects me with the
client and provides information which allows me to do my job more effectively. Having a link with a Support Coordinator makes my interactions with Future Pathways more human. I have a relationship with Future Pathways – it is more than just a referral process or a box-ticking exercise.

Working alongside Future Pathways has taught me the importance of expressing clear boundaries and expectations with clients and partners.

I have gained more patience by working with Future Pathways. Sometimes, we support people with complex needs, so I have learned that it can take longer to put the right support in place. Finally, working with Future Pathways has enabled me to shift my mindset as a practitioner. Previously, I believed that I knew what support people needed. Now, I learn from survivors what support they feel they need. It’s a shift from ‘fixing’ to acknowledging survivors’ autonomy over their support.

When Gerry started working with Future Pathways, one of his goals was to make sense of his past in care. One of our Support Coordinators reflects on this journey.

Gerry struggled with feelings of depression and with managing feelings of anger and distress. This made Gerry feel uncomfortable in group settings, causing him to withdraw and isolate himself. His Support Coordinator referred him to the Anchor. Following assessment, the Anchor provided weekly Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, followed by mindfulness and compassion focused therapy.

Gerry developed a positive rapport with the CBT practitioner, and he shared with us that he felt
comfortable and safe with them. When the Anchor’s support came ended, Gerry expressed sadness about this loss of support, but acknowledged that significant progress had been made.

“I noticed a big difference in how Gerry engaged with the world and those around him. Accessing psychological support gave Gerry some momentum to make further positive changes.”

Gerry reported feeling more self-confident after accessing this support. He had come to terms with his experiences in care and had been able to work through difficult feelings towards his family. Gerry learned about what triggered him and gained new skills to manage difficult feelings.

Accessing mental health support so swiftly also motivated Gerry to continue working on himself.

“It was amazing to see how effective the right support at the right time can be. Because he had a therapeutic outlet, Gerry and I could build on the momentum he had gained. When people cannot access psychological support, this can be very difficult.”

Gerry successfully applied for an apprenticeship. Whereas previously engaging with a group course would have been too challenging, Gerry could now apply the skills gained in therapy to meaningfully engage with his course and develop positive working relationships with others. This further increased Gerry’s confidence because he felt he could accomplish goals and be trusted by others. The work Gerry did with the Anchor also supported his other goals such as developing physical fitness and creating a supportive routine.

Gerry reviewed his support with his Support Coordinator. Together they agreed that Gerry had been able to achieve the goals he had set with Future Pathways, and Gerry felt able to move forwards, focusing on his apprenticeship, without Future Pathways support.

A Support Coordinator reflects on developing a relationship with someone they work with.

When I started working with Thom, he felt let down by statutory services and he did not have trusting relationships in his personal life. He often shouted at services over the phone, causing them to stop providing support. Thom felt that services used his anger as an excuse to disengage from him which reiterated his feelings of not being cared for. 

Due to interruptions in Thom’s education, Thom has some literacy issues, which also made it difficult to engage with services which communicate via email, post, or text. When I started working with Thom, he came across as deeply mistrustful. His mindset was, “nobody is going to mess with me.” However, over time, I have observed a gradual evolution in Thom’s interactions with me and others.

‘I think listening to Thom and understanding where his anger stems from has contributed to this change.’ 

I think listening to Thom and understanding where his anger stems from has contributed to this change. Thom and I had a phone conversation which he ended in a state of distress. I asked the police to complete a wellbeing check. Thom appreciated that I had followed up and he understood why I had been concerned. I think this demonstrated to Thom that I had heard him, I took him seriously and I cared about him. This experience seemed to cement our relationship. 

Listening has also been important when adapting to Thom’s literacy needs which I approach by making suggestions which are always up for discussion. For example, because receiving text messages can be stressful for Thom, we speak on the phone, meet face-to-face, and we have also created a plan using visuals.

Our relationship feels more relaxed.’  

Following through consistently has also been important. For example, we spoke about what it would mean to Thom to take a break away, and we worked together to plan and book this. Acknowledging and moving on from mistakes has also developed the trust in our relationship. If I make a mistake in something that I say, I apologise and I model that it is okay to make mistakes. It has made the relationship feel less fragile. We both know we can get things wrong, and this is okay because we can also repair the relationship and move forward. 

I have noticed that Thom is starting to express gratitude for the work we are doing together. Our relationship feels more relaxed, and I have noticed that he is more open to recognising people’s good intentions and repairing situations outwith Future Pathways. For example, Thom recently started working with an external service. Initially, he felt angry about a miscommunication. However, he then acknowledged the misunderstanding and the good intentions of the service involved and continued to engage with them. Similarly, when Thom went on his break away, a conflict arose with a service provider. Initially, this caused Thom some distress, but he was able to resolve this and move forward with his holiday.

It feels like green shoots are starting to appear.’  

I think of the relationship between Thom, myself, and Future Pathways as a safe space within which Thom can explore how to develop and maintain trusting relationships. My hope is that this will enable him to negotiate himself around his world without as much defensiveness. While it is early days, it feels like green shoots are starting to appear.

A Support Coordinator describes how they work with partners to provide the right kind of support.

I would like to shine a spotlight on two delivery partners who have provided excellent, trauma-informed support to Callum, one of the survivors I work with. When I started working with Callum, one of his outcomes was to be a good role model for his daughter, Claire. Claire had been struggling at school due to her dyslexia and seeing Claire have difficulties at school caused Callum to reflect on his own experiences of education. He wanted to teach his daughter that education is important.

Together we explored some options and Callum decided that he wanted to work with Cellfield UK to address his literacy challenges while supporting Claire to do the same. The Cellfield programme usually involves daily computer-based sessions at the University of Stirling for two weeks, following by 10 weeks of planned reading.

When I started working with Callum, one of his outcomes was to be a good role model for his daughter.’ 

Callum had been working with another delivery partner, the Community Brokerage Network, who helped him to explore the practicalities of Claire taking time away from school, as well as travel and expenses. The Community Brokerage Network then reached out to Cellfield UK to discuss Callum’s and Claire’s needs.

Both partners recognised that the distance that Callum and Claire needed to travel to attend the sessions was a significant barrier to them engaging with the service, so they worked together to mitigate this. Rather than delivering sessions over two weeks, they created a programme over one week and arranged to deliver the programme at Callum’s local library.

It took time for Callum to build trust in these partners, but the outcome of their work together has been inspiring.’  

It took time for Callum to build trust in these partners, but the outcome of their work together has been inspiring. Having completed this course, Callum’s reading age has increased from 9 to 14 and he now feels more confident with identifying words. Perhaps most importantly, the experience has enabled Callum and Claire to develop their relationship, and has prompted Callum to consider longer term, aspirational goals such as attending college. This would not have been possible without these delivery partners recognising the importance of adjusting practice according to survivors’ needs, and taking the time to build a trsuting relationship with Callum.

One of our coordinators considers how listening and encouragement were crucial to provided support.

As soon as I started working with Nancy, I could see that, like many survivors, she expected to be let down or rejected by me. I knew that we had to slowly build trust with one another and so we spent the first several meetings just talking and listening. 

I had been under the impression she needed practical support from Future Pathways due to a health issue, but it became clear she was not quite sure what support she wanted or needed. We ended up talking about many other things other than her health issue, including her interests and ambitions.

I knew that we had to slowly build trust with one another.’ 

I noticed that Nancy swore a lot, but this never phased me. This could sometimes create barriers for Nancy when she tried to communicate with other services, but it quickly became something
we joked about together. It was important that Nancy never felt judged by me, and this was part of us developing an equal relationship in which she felt comfortable expressing herself in her
own way.

After getting to know each other, Nancy told me about a dream that she had always wanted to accomplish, and I listened carefully to what it would mean for her to achieve this. I also connected personally to her goal, sharing my own experiences, which heightened her curiosity and may have helped her realise that her dream was more within reach than she had previously believed. We talked through what had been holding her back, and I took her worries seriously. It was important never to invalidate her concerns but to acknowledge them and encourage Nancy to consider how these could be overcome.

It was important that Nancy never felt judged by me.’ 

‘I encouraged Nancy to think of this goal as worthwhile even if she was the only one who ever knew about it.’ 

We talked about reducing some of the pressure around this goal and considering it to be worthwhile to try just for her, even if she was the only one who ever knew about it. Reducing the pressure around this dream made it possible to move away from thinking about it in ‘all or nothing’ terms and allowed Nancy to start taking steps towards her outcome.

‘I encouraged Nancy to think of this goal as worthwhile even if she was the only one who ever knew about it.’ 

This basis of trust, encouragement and equality which we developed gave us a good foundation for working on Nancy’s outcomes. When working with Nancy, and many other survivors, it was vital to ensure that decisions came from her, rather than from me, so that she never felt she was being pushed or told what to do. This is crucial to maintaining a dynamic in which we are working on survivors’ outcomes side by side, as a team. Taking an authoritarian approach can cause survivors to reject support, so I encouraged Nancy to make decisions for her so that she felt fully in control of this process.