John heard about Future Pathways through a community service that his GP referred him to. John had experienced ebbs and flows in his circumstances, career, and health throughout his life. He had previously accessed other services, but he did not feel they were able to make a real difference in his life.  

It took time for John to feel ready to seek support, and he had to wait many months for support to start. Although John understood why the waiting list was necessary, it was difficult to be on hold. 

Since starting to access support from his Support Coordinator, Future Pathways has felt different to the other services John has accessed in the past. 

“They were able to do what they said they would do. Future Pathways has the resources, time, and relationships with other services to actually make a tangible difference.

For example, when John spoke with his Support Coordinator about his difficulty with sleeping, his Support Coordinator helped him explore why this was and supported him to purchase a new bed. 

“It might seem small, but Future Pathways let me choose and order it. At first, I selected the cheapest option possible. But my Support Coordinator explained that we could get something better, something that would meet my needs. I feel the difference every time I go to bed.” 

When John was struggling to pay energy bills, Future Pathways linked him up with a charity which helped him apply for a grant to alleviate this pressure

“It was huge. Future Pathways have been able to help with things I never thought they could help with. A lot of other services I have worked with could only listen. Nobody was able to do something. Future Pathways really did make a tangible difference in my life. 

Future Pathways also enabled John to access ongoing support with his mental health. Now, John can speak to someone regularly about how he is coping and explore how he can take care of his mental health. Accessing mental health support has made a longterm difference to John’s life.  

“Before I accessed this support, I didn’t know why I couldn’t function. They helped me figure it out for myself. And I am still figuring it out. But now, I am on that journey. 

Now, John feels he understands himself and his mental health better, and he has access to the support he needs to move forward in his life. John is more linked up with his GP and is starting to engage with the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry. Accessing support through Future Pathways has helped John to learn more about himself, prioritise his mental health and make positive changes to his life.  

It really was lifechanging. It is night and day compared with what my life was like. Now, I have someone on my side. Future Pathways helped me turn my life around. I started caring about myself, because someone else was caring about me.”
We are excited to announce that Future Pathways will be hosting a live webinar about how we evaluate our service.

Created in collaboration with Matter of Focus, the webinar will take place on Zoom 12.30-1.30pm on Thursday 8 February 2024. 

The event is free and you can register to attend here.

This webinar is all about how we have worked in partnership with Matter of Focus to learn more about our impact and tell a story about the difference we make.

In this webinar we will share more about:

  • How we took a collaborative evaluation approach to developing our impact report.
  • How combining our own evaluation with independent input enhanced our evaluation.
  • How you can integrate self-evaluation into your approach to learning and improvement.

We have worked with Matter of Focus as a learning partner since 2018. Their approach and software help us evaluate our relational, trauma-informed approach, and consider how we make a difference within a complex and evolving context.

The webinar will be hosted by Dr Simon Bradstreet (Principal Evaluation Consultant, Matter of Focus), Flora Henderson (Alliance Manager, In Care Survivors Alliance) and Louise Hall (Impact and Evaluation Lead, Future Pathways).

Join us

Register for this webinar to find out more about how we have worked in partnership with Matter of Focus to understand our impact and tell a robust story about the difference we make. There will also be the opportunity to ask questions and a recording of the webinar will be shared with all those who register after the event.

Online, Zoom


Thursday 8 February 2023

Our partnership with Matter of Focus

At key stages in our journey, Matter of Focus helped us build our knowledge and understanding by acting as an independent learning partner. In 2023, Matter of Focus helped us review our evidence and learn more about people’s experience of the service through a series of discussions. This enabled us to develop our most recent impact report, Stepping Stones.

Growiser Financial Coaching
A white man with a shaved head stares straight into the camera and smiles with an open mouth, He is wearing a red t-shirt and there are trees in the background.
Graham Wells is a financial coach and the founder of GroWiser. He started his career in the ‘regulated advice’ part of the financial sector, but then moved away from the sale of financial products and into coaching. In that role he helps people to develop the beliefs and behaviours that will enable them to build a better financial future. 
In essence, what is financial coaching?  

It’s not somebody telling you what to do with your money.  

It’s all about behavioural change, and recognising emotions and thought patterns that don’t serve us well. The key thing is the concept of empowerment, and working in a way that’s nonjudgmental. I think that often when people seek support, they’re fearful that they will not be knowledgeable enough, or that they’ll come across as being stupid. But working with a financial coach is an absolutely nonjudgmental process. It’s about empowerment of the individual, not about bamboozling people with technical jargon or telling people what they’ve done wrong and what they should do differently in the future. 

How did you first get involved in financial services?

When I left school, aged 17, I had no idea what I wanted to do, so I got a job in the local bank until I decided what I wanted to do. I was still there 23 years later. During part of that time I trained as a financial advisor within the bank, including gaining the regulated Diploma in Financial Services, and I would advise customers on investments, pensions and insurance, that type of thing. 

This is going back more than 20 years ago now. The financial services industry was still really quite salesorientated. I stayed in that environment for about six years, and then realised, ‘There’s something just not suited to me here, there’s something not right about this. So I moved into training.  

I spent several years training financial advisors, and also learning about how people learn the widerpart of learning and developmentwhich I found really fascinating. Eventually I found myself in a supervisory role: I would accompany wealth managers when they went out to see clients. So that gave me exposure to a wide range of different types of advisor and different types of clients.

The combination of that experience as an advisor, a trainer and a supervisor really gave me a deep understanding of how limited the whole financial services sector is. What I mean by that is that less than 10% of the population have a financial advisor, and it tends to be only the wealthiest 10%. Also, it often creates a situation where clients become dependent on their advisor to tell them what to do and how to look after their money.  

I learned that while it can be good to give people knowledge, the other half of the battle is application of that knowledge and how people change their behaviours and their habits.  

And that’s what led me to think: ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if I could blend learning and development somehow with technical financial knowledge, to actually help people who need it the most?’ So about eight years ago I trained as a financial coach. At that time, to my knowledge, there was only one other financial coach in the whole of the UK, based down in Brighton. Since then it’s accelerated at quite some pace.  

“Working with a financial coach is an absolutely nonjudgmental process. It’s about empowerment of the individual.” 
What are the main things that financial coaching covers? 

I focus on both the daytoday practicalities of money and also the emotions that people have around their money, and the behaviours that that leads to.  

The practicalities of money might just be the basics, like setting up an emergency fund and budgeting, and working out what’s important. What things give you most satisfaction in return for the money you spend on them? This helps people to develop better financial habits. Or it could be helping people to understand their pensions, for example, or learning how to invest money for the first time 

So that’s all quite practical. The other side is behavioural. Sometimes the real work here is not even to do with money: it’s helping people to recognise how they build new habits and new mindsets. This can also touch on the emotions of money. A lot of our financial habits and behaviours stem right back to childhood. There’s one study that says most of our financial attitudes are formed by age seven, so sometimes there can be quite a lot to unpack for people there. They may have beliefs like – you’ve heard some of the famous phrases money is the root of all evil, or ‘money doesn’t grow on trees, or ‘money makes the world go round. These sort of belief patterns do not always serve people in the best way. 

What inspires people to look for financial coaching? 

More and more people are beginning to search for this type of help. Some clients that come directly to me havent heard of the term financial coaching, but they’re typing similar things into Google and finding me that way. The starting point is that they’re recognising that their financial behaviours are not serving them well.  

Other people that get in touch with me are working with a financial advisor but something doesn’t feel quite right about it. They want to feel more empowered and more in control, or they maybe feel that they’re paying an awful lot in fees and they’re not quite sure what the value is that they’re getting from that.  

I learned that while it can be good to give people knowledge, the other half of the battle is application of that knowledge and how people change their behaviours and their habits. 
What sorts of things do you usually help those people with? 

The key point there really is recognising that the coaching element is all about empowering individuals, and it’s very much forward looking. (I guess that fits well with the name ‘Future Pathways, doesn’t it?) The way in which I work is not about telling people what to do or advising them. So it lends itself well to the ethos of other partners that work with Future Pathways. We have a very supportive, empowering way of working but importantlyit’s not therapy. It’s not looking backwards and trying to fix problems from the past. It’s very much about looking to the future, and I think that way of working resonated for certain people Future Pathways are working with. 

A large part of it can actually just be daytoday money management. To be honest, that’s probably something that most of the population would benefit from. It’s about understanding daytoday budgeting. Most of the work happens outside of the sessions. I give people homework tasks, like listing their various sources of income and also listing where the money goes. That can be a real eye opener. Some people find that they actually had no idea how much they had coming in or going out.  

And that exercise alone can be so illuminating: it’s enough to raise awareness and change behaviours, to make people feel motivated to improve things 

An awful lot of people that have built up pension benefits over the years are unaware of this – they just don’t know that it’s there. So that can be quite a source of reassurance just to know that something is there. For others it can be thinking about more effective ways to repay debt, and for others it can be just exploring a little bit more about where their thoughts and feelings come from around money, particularly if they are in the process for the Redress Scheme. The thought of receiving a large lump sum of money that they’re not used to can be really upsetting. So reassurance around how they might approach that decision making process.  

There must be real emotional benefits for people after they’ve got more in control of their finances? 

Absolutely, and I know this from personal experience. Even though I worked in the bank, nobody there taught me how to look after my money, so I was perpetually in debt right through my twenties. And the feeling of relief after finding a way out of that was quite remarkable. So imagine people in that position through their twenties, thirties and forties, and even into their fiftiesthe sense of relief and finding a way out of that is tremendous. 

Graham’s 5-step approach for financial wellness 
Savour your spending.

Be intentional with how you spend your time and money. Spend in line with your values and don’t forget your future self. 

Protect the people around you.

Prepare for the unexpected and build peace of mind for you and your loved ones. 

Eliminate your debt.

Find the most effective strategy for using and repaying debt. Know the difference between ‘good’ and ‘bad debt.

Nurture your wealth.

Realise that to be ‘wealthy’ is different to being ‘rich’ and includes looking after your whole life, not just your money. 

Design your future.

Be intentional and create a plan for how you’d like to spend your time as you get older. Don’t leave it to others to define your life path. 

Check out our other Meet the Partner interviews:

Working across the Highlands, Centred support people with their mental health, in their own homes and in the Recovery Centre in Inverness. Read more here.

Dan Ross

Discover how Dan Ross helps people to reframe their thinking and find new perspectives on challenges. Read more here.

Sarah Smith at Lightbulb

We chat to Sarah Smith, founder of, to discover more about how she helps people to build their confidence and self esteem. Read more here.


Cellfield help people people to improve their reading skills and are one of our support providers. Read more here.

Book Whisperers

Find out more about The Book Whisperers, a community of people that helps writers of all kinds to self-publish their work. Read more here.

Our latest Quarterly Report is now available to view. It covers our work from July to September 2023. It shows what we’ve learnt, and includes key stats and feedback from those who access Future Pathways. 
What happened in Q2

75 people registered with Future Pathways.

33 people started working with a Support Coordinator.

107 people accessed support from 43 Delivery Partners.

Who we worked with

The average age of people who registered with us was 47.

77% of people who register with us live in the Central Belt of Scotland.

Many people who register with us have a disability or a health condition that impacts their daily life and ability to access services

How people felt

Most of the feedback from people registered with us was positive.

Some people expressed appreciation for Future Pathways’ support and told us they felt heard. 

People also shared that it is difficult when they cannot access swift and responsive support. 

Delivery Partners shared feedback that they feel valued and supported by Future Pathways.

What people gained

People we support said that the most impactful support was accessing mental health support and being able to improve their homes. 

Our Delivery Partners shared feedback that they learned about the needs and challenges of people we support by working with Future Pathways. 

What changed for people

Anne shares what changes for her after accessing Future Pathways’ support.

“The cinema membership encouraged me to leave the flat and venture into town. When the cinema was quiet, I felt safe, like I didn’t have to scan the place.”

Some Delivery Partners fed back that they had changed how they work because of their work with Future Pathways. 

What difference we made

Josie shares the impact of Future Pathways’ support.

“That old life has gone now. I love my life now. I am in a happier place. I’m more me.”
Our full report features further infographics, feedback and a breakdown of our financial spend. Read the full report.