During lockdown, you have been sharing your thoughts about the pandemic with Future Pathways. Vicky has asked us to share her poem about it with you:

The world is fighting a war – you could say, it is world war three. But this battle has no exploding bombs, soldiers firing guns, grenades being thrown, or missiles being fired into the air. The enemy is silent, deadly, and invisible, we all have to take care.

There are no air raid sirens, warning us that danger is near. But with every day that passes, the death toll continues growing, and that fills us all with fear.

This war is not a conflict between different countries, it’s a fight to save people’s lives from a deadly virus named Covid-19. The best defence is to stay in your house and keep your hands clean.

We have thousands of troops from medical teams, emergency services, food suppliers, distributors, politicians and volunteers.

They are fighting round the clock to keep us safe and well, how long this will last, only time will tell.

In these times of uncertainty there is one thing for sure – we will have hard and sad times, highs and lows. But we must stand together, take the good with the bad, play the game, fight the fight, and one day soon, everything will be alright.

Legislation to provide financial redress to people who were abused in care as children is set to be introduced in Scotland this year.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney has confirmed that the Redress (Survivors of In Care Abuse) (Scotland) Bill will be introduced in the Scottish Parliament following its summer recess.

He has set out his intentions in a letter to Education and Skills Convener Clare Adamson MSP, which has been published on the Scottish Parliament website.

Mr Swinney made a statement in Parliament in October 2018 giving a commitment to establishing a financial redress scheme for survivors of child abuse in care and ensuring that the legislation for it is passed before the end of the Parliamentary term in March 2021, subject to parliamentary approval.

A total of 280 people took part in a public consultation on the redress scheme at the end of 2019, and a report on the results was published in March this year.

For more information about the redress scheme, please go to the Scottish Government website.

How do you feel about life under lockdown? One of the people supported by Future Pathways shared his thoughts with us:

“I’m amazed at how little this pandemic has impacted my life. In the beginning, the very word “pandemic ” brought fear surging into my life but as time went on, I find no fear.

“Many around me are living in fear. 

“You can see it in their eyes. They move off of the pavements to avoid people.  Masks of fear on everyone’s faces. 

“Rubber gloves, hand sanitizer, wash, wash, washing of hands.

“Watching every sound byte, every news update. Feeding the fear with every word Boris Johnson utters.

“Hold on, this is my world of fear.

“I’m the one so used to living in perpetual fear.

“I avoid social contact. 

“I avoid people. 

“The world has become confusing. 

“It’s turned upside down overnight. 

“I’ve lived with anxiety, depression, panic attacks,  social phobia,  that fear of sudden death most of my life.

“Now the rest of the world is getting a taste of my day to day life. 

“My normal, wasn’t normal. 

“This life we are all living just now, doesn’t feel normal but strangely I fit in to it.

“Except, I don’t have their fears.

“I like that there are less people on the streets.

“I like that pubs are closed.

“I like that shops are not busy.

“Part of me wants it to stay like this.

“It’s quieter 

“I’m not on high alert. 

“I think of putting in more self-care during this time. 

“Working on all the issues that have pushed me down. 

“It seems like the perfect time. 

“Maybe others will be reflecting on their own life situation. 

“I wonder what good will come from all of this?”

Future Pathways can make a difference to people in so many different ways. In this case study, Rikki credits it with turning his life around and helping him to regain his confidence.

You can watch Rikki’s interview here.

Here is a case study about Daniel, who registered with Future Pathways after struggling with housing issues.

Daniel came to Future Pathways as he had a difficult and traumatic upbringing in care. He was assigned to receive team support from Future Pathways, which involves a group of support coordinators sharing responsibility for more than one person.

Daniel identified that the job he was in was not secure and did not pay him on time. As a result, he was struggling to pay his rent in full each month and received threatening letters. This negatively impacted his mental health and quality of life. Daniel did not feel respected and the trauma from his childhood began to resurface again. Daniel started to place less value on himself and it was a depressing time for him.

Daniel’s flat was a safe space for him and the prospect of losing it and becoming homeless terrified him. Being able to keep his flat was important to Daniel as it contributed towards maintaining his overall mental health and wellbeing.

Daniel required short term assistance from Future Pathways to cover his rent while he moved to a new job, as well as trauma-informed support.

He said: “If I hadn’t had that help to cover my rent while I moved jobs, I would have spiralled into depression. I’ve done that before, but I didn’t this time because I’ve got that help there.”

Daniel remains in his own flat and does not need support from Future Pathways, but he knows that he can reach out to Future Pathways again if his needs change. Daniel has met all his personal outcomes. He continues to live in his own home, has settled in at work, feels respected, and is becoming more social again.

He added: “I can actually see the change. Things are so much better.”

This month, we are highlighting one of our provider partners, Birthlink – Adults Affected by Adoption

Adults who have been in care can have similar needs to people who were adopted, perhaps with issues of identity or looking for more information about their origins and extended family.

We currently work with Future Pathways to provide a service to individuals who have registered with them and are looking for support to access care records, learn more about their family histories, and/or make contact with family members.

We are able to provide the following support services:
Records: we can help to try and locate care files and support individuals with the reading and understanding of these records.
Roots: our skilled searchers can search public records to compile family trees
Re-connect: We can act as a go-between in making contact with family members
An example of our work is “John”:

John was referred to Birthlink by Future Pathways. John had seen some of his childhood records before but couldn’t really remember what he had seen. After a chat together, John’s Birthlink worker agreed to send out requests to four different agencies who had possibly overseen his care as a child.

Not all of these agencies had information on John; however two agencies did return some records for him. When his records came back, John was supported by his worker to look through these. Some of the records were difficult for John to see as some of language used was hurtful to him and he was angry and upset by this. Some of the information in his records was not previously known to John and this was also difficult for him.

From reading his records, John found out that he had a sibling who had been adopted as a child. John was supported by his Birthlink worker to register on the Adoption Contact register for Scotland in the hope of reaching out to his adopted brother. John’s name will remain on the register until if or when his adoptive brother also registers.

John also found out he had three other siblings; this was a huge shock to him. John’s Birthlink worker was able to find out information on births, deaths and marriages of his parents and siblings. John found this information really helpful as he hadn’t known much about his birth family before this. A current address was found for one of his brothers and John’s Birthlink worker wrote out to his brother on John’s behalf. John’s brother got back in touch and they have been sharing information since then. Ultimately they would like to meet face to face which will be supported by Birthlink for as long as is needed.

This is a complex case where John is being closely supported by his Birthlink worker. Although much of the information that John has found out has been hard for him, overall he is pleased that he now has some answers as he felt that he didn’t have any answers before.

Find out more about Birthlink on their website – www.birthlink.org.uk

The Moira Anderson Foundation (MAF) serves Scotland from its base in Airdrie and specialises in supporting people who have experienced abuse. It was one of the first organisations to work with Future Pathways since we were set up in 2016 and has supported several people since then.

One example is “David”. In his 40s and a single father of two, David was abused from the age of eight while in care. He was referred to Future Pathways after reporting the abuse to Police Scotland.

Working with Future Pathways’ Support Coordinator, David identified the outcomes he wanted to achieve, which included improving his mental wellbeing, ensuring his children were insulated from his experiences, and becoming more mobile.

David was allocated a MAF Client Support Officer and together they developed coping strategies which helped with his anxiety. MAF provided complementary therapies and massage to help with relaxation. MAF also identified funding from Children in Need to enable support for David’s children and while we were awaiting this, Future Pathways provided vouchers and toys for the children over Christmas.

David continues to receive counselling from MAF and his WEBMWS (Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale) rating has improved significantly (from 16 to 60). David feels less anxious, though not without the occasional break-down. Overall, he reports having a “brighter and clearer head”. Future Pathways continues to enable travel either by David or by his MAF Client Support Officer to ensure this course of work continues.

David attributes all these changes to being “really listened to” and to the learning and coping strategies he has been able to develop with MAF’s support. David feels that being able to speak out about his past abuse has enabled him to place it better in the past and not the present. He says he is also coming to terms better with the fact that both his abusers have died and thus would not face justice.

David has made great progress and together, Future Pathways and the MAF continue to support him as he progresses towards his goals and enjoys his life.

www.moiraanderson.org

More than 1,000 people had registered for support with Future Pathways by summer 2019, according to the latest quarterly report.

There was an average of 40 registrations a month, with an increase in the number signing up from out-with the central belt and the rest of the UK.

And all the registrations from the rest of the world came exclusively from people who are now living in Australia.

The number of older adults registering increased due to the launch of the Scottish Government’s Advance Payment Scheme for those aged over 70 or who have a terminal illness.

The report, which covers April to June this year, also contains a financial breakdown of what was spent by Future Pathways.

You can read the report by clicking here.

The popular Future Pathways feedback sessions for Glasgow and Edinburgh this December are now full! To meet demand, further sessions in each city are now being planned for January.

Your opinions are really important to Future Pathways, which is why feedback sessions local to you have been taking place recently. These events give you the opportunity to be updated about Future Pathways and to give your views about the service in a safe and relaxed setting. We want to hear what you think can be improved and also what you think is working well.

So far, we have held events in Dumfries, Dundee, Aberdeen, Stirling and Paisley. We received interesting and clear feedback in a number of areas, and the Future Pathways team has really enjoyed meeting everyone who attended. We are recording what we learned and will be sharing this through staff and the public when the series of events has ended.

If you live in and around Glasgow or Edinburgh and would like to put your name down for the events in January, please get in touch:

Emailengagement@future-pathways.co.uk

Call – 0141 465 9228

Write to – Future Pathways, level 5, Merchants House, 30 George Square, Glasgow G2 1EQ.

Mandy is a Support Provider for Future Pathways. Read on to find out about her work with people who were abused in care as children.

“My name is Mandy and I work in the Scottish Borders in Galashiels. I work with Future Pathways in two ways – I offer counselling to people who want that type of support and I also work as a Safeguarder at meetings and workshops.

“Throughout my working life I have always worked with people in helping roles, both in the community and also in the therapeutic and counselling field. My work experience includes working as a team member developing and sustaining Voluntary Sector counselling services and also as a self employed therapist.

“I began training in counselling on part time study at Edinburgh University in my 40’s and it took many years to complete a Masters degree there which, to my family’s delight, after years of me having my head stuck in a book, I finally passed with distinction in 2008.

“By the time I qualified as a counsellor, a small pot of non-recurrent funding through the NHS Sexual Health Strategy became available in the Borders. Penumbra, who I worked for at the time as a Tenancy Support Worker, created a post for me to set up a 10 hour counselling service to meet the needs of people who had survived childhood abuse. As this post and funding came to an end 18 months later (due to lack of funding) I applied for work with what was then a newly launched service for people who had specifically experienced abuse whilst in care and was employed by Open Secret 2009 -2014 to work as a development worker in the Borders whilst still based within Penumbra.

“This service included not only a counselling service for people who had been harmed in care as children, but also advocacy and more general support – folk coming through the door often referred with complex trauma and varying degrees ongoing trauma due to the legacy abuse, which in my experience can leave both incredible resilience as well as devastating impacts. I worked as a freelance counsellor for Health in Mind from 2014-16 working with their CSA service and on the trauma helpline.

“During this phase of my working life I dived headlong into understanding how to work with trauma, training in a few different systems, such as Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, TRE and more lately QEC. I offer a way of working that integrates what I have learnt – I don’t set out to work in a particular way or get into ‘I’m the expert and I’m gonna fix you mode’. My bottom line is that the person I work with is the expert on themselves and their own lives and I always want to respect that, but I do have some skills and ways of facilitating that can be helpful.

“We know that trauma breaks bonds of trust and that this gets very complicated when it happens in the context of a care setting. The approaches I offer are basically aimed at establishing self-trust, self-worth and self-empowerment – I like to work in a flexible and responsive way that suits the individuals I work with. It is hugely rewarding work which leaves me feeling humbled and very grateful for the opportunity to be involved with Future Pathways and its work.”
 
Mandy Gazewww.counsellingworks.scot