Since 2016 Future Pathways has been delivered by Health in Mind, Penumbra, Glasgow Psychological Trauma Services (often called ‘The Anchor’) and the Mental Health Foundation (MHF).
With the Future Pathways contract renewal announced last year becoming effective on March 31st, the MHF has decided this is the right time for them to step back from the Future Pathways Alliance to focus on their research, policy, campaigning and innovation work.
Please note that work previously supported by MHF will continue with support from other partners.
Rikki first got in touch with Future Pathways over two years ago, at the time he was in a dark place, he described feeling ‘at the end of his tether’ and he wasn’t looking after himself. Since then Rikki’s life has changed. Through conversations with his Support Coordinator Rikki discovered what was important to him and how he wanted to work with Future Pathways.
He worked towards some different outcomes, one of which was about valuing himself and feeling able to prioritise his own physical and mental wellbeing by reigniting his love of travel and exploration through, first, a short break and then a “trip of a lifetime”. Since then Rikki has travelled all over the UK and to Europe. His confidence has grown immensely. He eventually felt able to do something he’d always dreamed of a trip to South America to attend the cultural and spiritual festival Tribal Gathering. However Rikki was left stranded in Panama as the global pandemic COVID-19 struck. Here Ricky tells us about how Future Pathways was able to make sure he was supported in unforeseen and challenging circumstances.
Travelling and meeting new people was identified to help Rikki progress the outcome of valuing himself and placing a priority on his own wellbeing. With Future Pathways’ help, Rikki had been gradually starting to travel again over the last year, something that he used to take great pleasure in as part of his career as a food supplier for KLM.
The beginning of this year was hard for Rikki after his mother passed away. He got back in touch with Future Pathways because he recognised he needed some support to manage how he was feeling.
Rikki and his support coordinator recognised the importance of prioritising his wellbeing at this difficult time, and they talked about different options that could help him feel better. He decided he would travel within the UK to attend a Reiki retreat. He connected with the people he met there and left feeling more confident.
After this retreat, some encouragement from his support coordinator and a friend, and using his own funds, he travelled to Panama in South America for Tribal Gathering, a festival that brings indigenous cultures to people from across the world, connecting people to the earth and to each other. He arrived at the festival on the 29th of February, he was initially due to stay there for three weeks and travel back home in late March.
Ricky had an incredible time at the festival. There was indigenous music, workshops, and community spirit.
“It was so humbling there was a lot of love and feelings between everyone. I felt like a proud Grandfather, like this is the sort of world I want to stay in. I met people from many different places. I was able to use all the languages I’ve learned in my life at the festival.”
He also tapped into his own creativity and felt able to be truly himself; “my camping area had my Scottish flag and butchers’ apron, everyone knew where to find me!”. Rikki described feeling at peace, that he let go temporarily of some of his pain in both a spiritual and physical sense.
Around the same time Rikki was supposed to leave the festival, he started to hear people talk about the global pandemic, COVID-19. The festival continued despite the news, but it was eventually closed as Panama entered a state of emergency.
Things became stressful when Rikki was evacuated from the festival when it was closed due to the pandemic. Rikki lost some of his belongings at this point. He then discovered that this flight back to the UK had been cancelled, as had most outgoing flights from Panama.
Rikki had made friends with the festival organisers and other people from the UK at the festival, so he didn’t feel alone. He managed to remain calm because he’d been staying in a peaceful place; “where could you go if your flight has been cancelled apart from where you are?”
Rikki and his friends from the UK were given a place to stay while Panama remained in lockdown and Rikki could not get home. At this point he contacted Future Pathways for some support.
Rikki ended up being in stuck in Panama for over two months, returning home on May 11th, his original flight home was on March 20th.
Support coordinators offered a trusted ear. When he was feeling stressed about his situation, they helped him to navigate complications. For example, when he was worried about not being able to afford the essentials for his prolonged stay, like food and accommodation, Future Pathways stepped in.
”Knowing I could go back to my cabin and that I had paid upfront for two weeks because [support coordinator] had helped me to pay for it, that was the thing… it put my mind at ease.”
Rikki had only brought enough medication for his initial three-week trip and after over a week without his medication, he noticed some of his symptoms returning. Rikki knew his prescription, so his support coordinator contacted his GP to discuss what equivalent medication Rikki should seek out in Panama, he was then able to source what he needed at a local pharmacy.
Future Pathways also contacted Rikki’s NHS Psychologist who then called him remotely on a few occasions, this was really beneficial. “I was in a lot of pain and was questioning my sanity, I started dissecting my trauma, yes I’m feeling all the love, but I wanted to come back home. “
Rikki made the best of the time he was stuck in Panama. He helped to invigorate the hotel grounds and cared for a horse that needed to be groomed and fed. He made lifelong friends and found a sense of community. He was able to remain calm because Future Pathways support was there behind him.
“The experience has made the world feel that bit smaller”
“Future Pathways felt like the Thunder Birds, coming to save me.”
Rikki managed to get a seat on the first humanitarian flight out of Panama. He had established contact with the British Embassy in Panama, and his support coordinator helped them understand that Rikki should be prioritised because of his health needs.
“It was learning for me, not to be hard on myself because it was out of my control. I shouldn’t give myself such a hard time, I have to live for now, not tomorrow, it’s liberating to think like that.”
Future Pathways was able to provide Rikki with essential support in what was an extremely stressful situation. By listening to his concerns, tuning into what he needed and providing calm and constructive support, Rikki was able to manage and make the best of his circumstances.
“I know [Future Pathways] must have bent over backwards for the help they gave me, the trust is there, Future Pathways listen to me, you take your time to listen.”
News that £9 million of funding has been granted to allow Future Pathways to run for even longer has been welcomed.
The Scottish Government has announced that it will fund the project for a further two years until at least 2023.
Flora Henderson, Alliance Manager for Future Pathways, said: “This welcome announcement will allow for further continued support to survivors of historical child abuse in care, in Scotland.
“Future Pathways offers tailored support to survivors of abuse or neglect and helps them to lead full, healthy and independent lives. Although over 1,400 survivors have already registered with us, we know there are more people out there who have had similar experiences and who could really benefit from our help and support.
“I would like to highlight the dedication of the Future Pathways team, our partners and importantly, the people we work with – their valued support has contributed enormously to the project’s continued success.”
Mental Health Minister for Scotland Clare Haughey said: “The support provided by Future Pathways is vital to help people abused or neglected as children while in care to lead full, healthy and independent lives. “It’s one of a number of initiatives which the government is funding to support those abused while in care.”
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.
“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?”
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.”
You may have heard that the Scottish/UK Government has responded to the spread of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) by declaring that people should avoid travelling unless absolutely necessary.
The specific advice issued yesterday is:
We would like to reassure people supported by Future Pathways that protecting the health and wellbeing of the people we support and our staff is our priority.
This will mean that we will not be able to offer any face to face meetings or visit people at home for now, but we will offer alternatives ways of keeping in touch via telephone or email. We are also in contact with our partners who provide support to ensure we keep up-to-date with what services or supports if any are affected and will speak with people whose support may be directed affected by the restrictions.
You will still be able to get in touch with the support coordination team by phone or email, and the freephone number 0808 164 2005 will be available as usual, Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm.
We are taking all available steps to minimise any impact to the service during these challenging times and will keep people up to date with any new developments. Our social media channels will be regularly updated, so please check our Facebook, Twitter and this website pages for further news.
Scottish Government information about COVID-19 (coronavirus) can be found here. For people living elsewhere in the UK, please follow this link.
In any crisis or emergency, please refer to the contacts on our website towards the bottom of the homepage.
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.