Commissioned by Future Pathways and created in collaboration with Matter of Focus, the report finds that our work has a positive impact on many people’s lives. By November 2022, almost 2200 people were registered with Future Pathways. Of these, 1500 had been supported by the service and around 1000 people were actively receiving support.
The report tells the story of Future Pathways at scale. It weaves data about our service along with feedback, reflections and accounts of people’s experiences. This report aims to amplify the voices of those we support, our partners and our staff.
The Stepping Stones report reflects that Future Pathways has made a difference to the lives of people we support. Many people say they feel cared for, seen and understood. Many have shared that they gained the knowledge, skills and confidence to make changes in their lives. Evidence shows that our holistic, person-centred approach is crucial in contributing to positive changes.
The report also highlights the importance of our relationships with wide-ranging Delivery Partners and other existing services. People we support access a mix of resources from different services. The impact of this holistic, tailored support cascades into many areas of an individual’s life. The report also highlights how we bridge the gaps people experience when accessing services to which they are entitled. For example, through advocacy or empowering people to independently access services.
The report also situates our work within the broader landscape. For example, the cost-of-living crisis has led to more people accessing financial support for unexpected costs related to their basic needs. We can also see that people face barriers when engaging with support, since focusing on longer term outcomes can be challenging when experiencing immediate financial pressure.
The findings also highlight the strengths and gaps in our data. Due to the secretive nature of childhood abuse, and the lack of data about survivors in Scotland, there is a gap in our knowledge about survivors more broadly. We are keen to develop a more detailed picture of the demographics of the people we support. This would allow us all to better adapt our services in response to the impacts and inequalities of childhood trauma.
Ultimately, this report is a story of change. The demonstrable impact of trauma-informed practice calls for other services to adapt and provide compassionate, flexible support for survivors of past abuse. It is also about change in support itself: we see the importance of adapting and tailoring support as needs evolve. And, most importantly, it is about change for the people we support. For many individuals, the right support at the right time can be the first steppingstone on their future pathway.
”Our goal is to strengthen the supports available to people with lived experience of abuse and neglect. The importance of relationships to achieving tangible outcomes for people and communities cannot be overstated. We are learning more about how change happens and hope our learning, practices and service model informs and encourages wider change in the system.”
Flora Henderson, Alliance Manager, In Care Survivors Alliance
“Matter of Focus has been a learning partner to Future Pathways since 2018 and we feel honoured to work with an organisation that cares passionately about understanding the difference they make as well as embedding and sharing learning. Evaluation is never easy and requires bravery and transparency. It’s all the more important and laudable given the complexity and sensitivity of the work that Future Pathways undertakes.”
Simon Bradstreet, Principal Evaluation Consultant, Matter of Focus
*Names have been changed
Liam says: “From the start he had such a nice way about him. He let me lead the discussion. He tried to home in on what I was needing. He was on the ball. I couldn’t have gotten any better.” Alex and Liam chatted about their interests, and Liam said that he was interested in photography. Having retired recently, he was keen to spend more time taking photographs, and to get better at it.
Alex and Liam looked into some options, and Future Pathways supported Liam to do an Open University course in photography. Liam learned a lot from the course and was awarded a ‘Distinction’. Future Pathways also paid for a new camera lens, which enabled Liam to experiment with different photography techniques.
One day, Liam received an email from his council that talked about a local photography project. The email asked for ideas about what subjects the project should cover, so Liam wrote back and suggested that it could focus on ageism. This is a subject that’s very important to Liam. He says: “Stories about older people are often extreme. I wanted the project to explore the normal things, like how older people often have the time to explore their interests because they are retired.”
The council agreed to Liam’s suggestion, and asked him to show his photographs in local community spaces. Liam is delighted about this, as he really cares about making art accessible to local people. He also hopes that, in his words, his photographs will “plant a wee seed” of the idea that older people should not be pigeonholed.
Free advice on saving energy and keeping warm at home. They also have a ‘funding finder’ tool which lists programmes and services that can help with financial support like debt, emergency funding and fuel vouchers. www.homeenergyscotland.org
Nest scheme offers a range of free, impartial advice and, if you are eligible, a package of free home energy efficiency improvements such as a new boiler, central heating, insulation, or solar panels. For people who live in Wales. nest.gov.wales
Foodbank+ is the Edinburgh City Mission network of food banks, located across 7 sites. They provide essentials for those experiencing deprivation and food poverty, on a referral basis. edinburghcitymission.org.uk
They provide meal packs that are delivered to your door. If you or someone you know is experiencing reduced safe access to food and can benefit from the service, do get in touch with them. www.emptykitchens.co.uk
Financial struggle can also have an impact on your mental health. If you need to speak to someone or find immediate support, contact:
Breathing Space is a free, confidential, phone and webchat service for anyone in Scotland. They can provide a safe and supportive space by listening, offering advice and providing information.
Freephone: 0800 83 85 87
Weekdays: Monday-Thursday 6pm to 2am
Weekend: Friday 6pm-Monday 6am
Samaritans provide support for anyone who’s struggling to cope and who needs someone to listen.
Freephone: 116 123
Lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
They also have an email service, letter writing service and a self-help app. You can find out more on their website. www.samaritans.org
Founded by a group of visionary women in Royston in 1992, Lifelink has focused since then on empowering young people and adults to manage their mental health more effectively. Over the last 29 years we have supported people to make positive changes in their lives – helping them realise their own abilities to cope with stress and develop ways of overcoming anxiety and depression.
Through partnerships with the NHS, higher education providers and local businesses, we have developed an infrastructure that supports over 8,000 people per year through the delivery of one-to-one counselling and group wellbeing sessions. We do this in homes, schools, consulting rooms, community and health venues, businesses – in person, by phone or digitally. The ‘where’ we do it is of little relevance to the results and the benefits our clients experience. We are firmly focused on the ‘how’ we do it, which makes a difference to people’s lives.
We are predominantly based in Glasgow and Central Scotland. However, we are making positive strides towards expanding this geographical reach.
One-to-one counselling gives our clients the space and support to understand and manage their feelings, thoughts and behaviour. We offer one-to-one confidential counselling from our venues across the Glasgow area and via telephone or video sessions. Anyone who has a Glasgow postcode can access this service, free of charge, by submitting a referral using our website. Our free confidential services are also available to young people attending schools throughout Glasgow and Central Scotland.
Alongside one-to-one counselling, we run therapist-led group cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) sessions. These are structured around helping participants who are struggling with things like stress, anxiety and relationships. We also offer a range of interactive online wellbeing classes, which focus on developing the life skills essential to lead a happy and productive life. These one-off classes are open to any adults with a Glasgow postcode free of charge, and participants can attend as many classes as they would like.
You can see a full list of the wellbeing classes that we offer online. We can also offer wellbeing classes to young people in schools. These are focused on resolving conflicts, building confidence and managing emotions more effectively. The classes are delivered in partnership with schools on an ad hoc basis.
The programme will last 12 months. It will be led by a group called The Lasting Difference. They are experts in helping organisations like ours to find ways to improve what they do.
Shona works as a mental health practitioner and a counsellor. Last year she decided that she wanted to help the charity Steps to Hope, whose work to help people suffering from homelessness and addiction is very close to her heart. So what’s the best way to help a charity called Steps to Hope? Walking, of course!
Shona decided to do a sponsored walk from Yorkshire to the school where she works. She organised it all herself and did the walk without any support team apart from her dog, Milo, for the last few days. She carried her tent and all her other equipment herself, in a rucksack that weighed about 15kg – that’s about as heavy as an average three-year-old child.
Shona describes the route: “I started at Helmsley, in North Yorkshire. I then followed the Cleveland Way until I got to Robin Hoods Bay on the east coast of England. And then from there I walked to Edinburgh. The route should have been 300 miles exactly, although I went off track a few times so I ended up doing 314 miles.”
Although Shona has always enjoyed going for walks, and had found it very helpful for her mental health, the idea of doing a 300-mile walk was very daunting. Shona says: “I would never have done a walk at all without all the counselling I’ve had through Future Pathways. I’ve been involved with them for about three and a half years and they’ve helped me massively. Last year my brother died, and I really wanted to do something in his memory. I just thought, ‘I’m going to push myself, I’m going to go and do it’.” Her target was to raise £2,000.”
Shona put a lot of work into training so that she was ready to tackle the walk. “I trained for six months. I’m 55 – it’s not like I’m a spring chicken – and also I broke my leg a few years ago. I would walk home from school carrying a full-weight pack: it’s nine miles from the school to my house. In the end, I decided that the only way to find out if I was fit enough to do the walk was to actually try to do it.”
Shona started her walk in July this year. The plan was to take about two weeks to do the whole trip. In the end it took a bit longer, because – to put it mildly – Shona had to overcome some challenges along the way. On the second night, Shona’s tent was destroyed. “The winds were so wild up on the moors, and it was raining really hard so my tent was absolutely saturated, and a huge big rip went in the back of it. After that I stayed in B&Bs and hostels, but for the second bit of the walk after Berwick I camped the whole way.”
The second bit? “Yes, near Berwick I slipped and fell on an overgrown trail. I caught my foot in some roots, tripped and split my head open and fractured my eye socket. The damage was worse because my pack was so heavy. The doctors said I had to stop, so I stopped for twelve days. And as soon as they gave me the go-ahead to go back, I went back and finished the walk. I didn’t start at the exact point where I’d fallen, so at a later point I did one trail three times to make up the miles.”
Shona finished her walk on Sunday 14 August. She has reached her fundraising target of £2,000.
As you’d expect, Shona is delighted to have raised so much money for the Steps for Hope charity, and says that she found the experience personally rewarding too. “I ended up seeing incredible sights. I saw wild dolphins near me while I was swimming in the sea. I sat on remote beaches where Arctic Terns, thousands of them, were nesting on the rocks, and I sat and just watched them for hours. I also meet some really lovely people.”
“The walk definitely did push my boundaries, but it was amazing. And I couldn’t have done it without Future Pathways. They paid for my travel to Yorkshire, and my tent, my hostels after that was destroyed, and then a replacement tent for the second part of the walk after my fall.”
Shona deserves all the credit for her achievement. And it wasn’t easy. “It challenged me physically, even with the amount of training that I did, because your body is not used to getting up every day and doing that amount of walking every single day. But the counsellor I have is amazing. She said, ‘You can totally do this.’
“The first week was my worst week, thinking: ‘I’m so anxious about being out of my comfort zone, about being in an unfamiliar space, being isolated.’ But I remembered that actually I just needed to keep on putting one foot in front of the other. And at the age of 55, to finish 300 miles, I actually think that’s pretty amazing.”
The Community Brokerage Network (CBN) helps people who have social care needs because of poor health or disabilities. With the person, we work out what assistance they need to make their lives better and how that could best be provided to fit in with them and their carers’ or families lives.
We believe people are experts in their own care, although at times they might need some help to work out what that looks like and how it is best provided.
For a brief introduction to our work, take a look at the animation:
A broker would be assigned to a person, and would then spend time getting to know them well and helping them work out how their lives might be improved. The broker would then explore sources of support to make that difference.
This support might be already available in the community – maybe a pre-existing group or activity – or it might need to be put in place by formal services such as social work.
The broker is there to help the person work this out, and to make them aware of what is available so that they can have as much choice in how they receive help as possible.
Community Brokerage is free to use, as it funded by the Scottish Government’s Support in the Right Direction (SiRD) funding stream.
CBN is funded to work in Ayrshire, but there are brokerage services also available in other areas of Scotland.
CBN has been working in partnership with Future Pathways for four years. The main Broker skills – finding out what people are wanting to help enhance their lives then sourcing the appropriate support – have been completely transferrable to helping people in areas beyond social care.
Since we started working with Future Pathways, we have been introduced to several people across Scotland who have identified they need help do things like secure employment, or do further training or education.
The support that CBN offers to people involved with Future Pathways is similar in many ways to brokerage.
Within the role of a broker, there are fundamental skills: being able to listen, not only to what a person says but to what they do not say. Using active listening and reflective skills to help a person realise that they do have dreams and desires. Supporting someone to feel valued. Helping them to understand their rights. Supporting them to be seen as people, rather than problems. Supporting themselves to do the same. Encouraging self-efficacy and decision making.
These skills are also required to do work with someone in need of support to find their own pathway in the world. There is obviously a difference in the people who use the two services. However, in my experience the fears and uncertainties, while from a different place, tend to be similar in both sets of people.
In my time working with Future Pathways, I have found that the support needed to deal with services and third-party agencies is the same for anyone who needs to connect. They feel unworthy, ‘less than’ and invisible. Our main role is to encourage them to believe in their own strength, and validate how they feel while continually working towards independence from the service.
Ultimately the goal, whether it be with CBN or Future Pathways, is the same: to leave the person that you are working with better equipped, more independent and able to manage their own lives.
The Scottish Government has issued a note confirming that Scotland’s Redress Scheme is on schedule to open for applications in December this year.
More details in the link: https://www.gov.scot/…/financial-redress-for-survivors-of-…/
Future Pathways was set up in 2016 to directly address the inequalities people have experienced because of childhood abuse in care. Our aim is to enable people to live happier, healthier, and more independent lives by offering support that is aligned with each person’s aspiration and circumstances.
Our role is to listen, understand what is needed and ensure that the widest possible range of support is available. There is no set menu because the impact of childhood experiences is individual, and we believe that people should be able to choose their supports.
We are learning that it is possible to provide effective help, even transformative help. The best of the work is collaborative, led by the person and usually involves other professionals and services.
We are still learning about what really works for people and what is needed to enable high quality support. Too often, it remains difficult for people to connect with the services they need. Our first impact report shares how people have experienced Future Pathways, their achievements and some of the work yet to do.
We hope that by sharing our experiences, we create space for survivors’ needs and experiences to be heard and understood so that is easier for people to find and get support when it is needed.