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.”
When Anne registered with Future Pathways, she felt like she had been on a rollercoaster for years. After leaving care, Anne experienced homelessness and felt she lacked the skills she needed. Anne worked for her local authority which would trigger flashbacks. Anne had also tried to access her care records, which was a painful experience. These experiences negatively affected Anne’s mental health.  

Anne heard about Future Pathways through the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry. Since then, Anne has worked with her Support Coordinators to access the right support for her.

“I have had two amazing Support Coordinators who went all out in helping me. Future Pathways helped me in many ways. I believe they saved my life in many ways.” 

Future Pathways supported Anne with some practical needs. For example, Anne accessed the Discretionary Fund to purchase a laptop. Anne was nervous about using the laptop since she has dyslexia. But having a laptop helped Anne build up her confidence and digital skills.  

Future Pathways also helped Anne access mental health support. When she started working with Future Pathways, Anne was going through a very difficult time. Anne accessed counselling through one of Future Pathways’ Delivery Partners.  

“I needed the space to express how I was feeling about things. I believe the counselling I received through Future Pathways helped me survive a very difficult time. The counsellor was there for me at just the right time. 

Taking the time to tell her story in counselling helped Anne in her recovery. Having support from her Support Coordinator during the Inquiry also helped her manage.  

“Anytime I phoned, they have been there for me. My Support Coordinator was amazing. She took me through everything, gave me good advice. 

With Future Pathways’ support, Anne was able to address her home environment. At the time, Anne was dealing with harassment from neighbours, and she did not feel safe where she lived. Because of these challenges, Anne felt isolated. Future Pathways purchased a membership at a cinema, to help Anne enjoy time away from the house.  

“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 need to scan the place. Then, I started going to other places in the city like the Gallery of Modern Art. 

With Future Pathways’ support, Anne was able to move to a new area, close to her family. Future Pathways also helped Anne buy household items to settle into her new home. 

I thought things could never be resolved before I moved. But I couldn’t have asked for better housing. Here, I have my own front door. I don’t have any stress about opening my door anymore. 

Now, Anne wants to make difference to others through the Voices for a Better Future group. Being a member of Voices for a Better Future has given Anne insight that not everyone has positive experiences with Future Pathways. Anne feels there might be some things Future Pathways could do to improve. For example, following up with people after about their experiences working with our Delivery Partners, and reducing the need to work with different Support Coordinators.  

Its difficult because everyone is different. Maybe Future Pathways could look into what is working for people and what isn’t.” 

Overall, Anne feels working with Future Pathways made a positive difference in her life.  

“Really in every way, Future Pathways have had a very big impact in my life.” 
Pat has been working with us for about a year and a half. He wanted to share his experience of working with Future Pathways.
How long have you been working with Future Pathways?

About a year and a half now.

How did you find out about us?

It was a friend. He got me to go to Wellbeing Scotland, and they told me about Future Pathways.

How has Future Pathways helped you?

Well, I didn’t really have much self-confidence and stuff. My Support Coordinator helped me to learn to ask for help. It’s a thing I found hard before, because of the way I’ve been brought up in life: basically, help always cost me something.

How did you manage to make that change?

One of the first things my Support Coordinator did is she got me a laptop: it’s a type of thing I would never spend money on just for me. She got me to understand that I’ve got to look out for me as well. And in the long run, that will help everybody else.

I found it great just sitting on the laptop. I like to learn, but I never had the confidence to learn and I was never encouraged. A website about photography came up. Years and years ago, I had a small camera and I loved it. I would just go out and walk and take photos.

So Future Pathways helped me get a camera, which helped me. It gave me a reason to get out there and do something just for me, basically.

How is life different now?

It’s definitely different. See the name Future Pathways? It’s like before, my pathway was always leading around about and coming back again, but they helped me make a different pathway, which has opened up the inner belief in me. I can do this, I can take photographs, I can do whatever.

I’m going to start a writing course in a couple of weeks, and that’s something I would never have even considered. I’ll be nervous! I’ll be uptight still, but I’ve got the belief to try it.

It’s great that you’ve got more self-confidence and you believe in yourself…

A while ago, my boy got me and my partner a Christmas present: a flight to Dublin. I never used it, because I didn’t have the confidence. But Future Pathways helped me, so I went for it, me and my partner. It’s the first time that we’ve been on a plane. I’m over 50 years old, and it was the first time I was on an aeroplane, the first time I’d looked at the clouds from the other side.

It was only a short flight, but it’s something I would have never attempted, never thought about. But now I know I can do this. It’s the simple things in life, that other people take for granted… they’re the most important things for me.

Rikki heard about Future Pathways in 2017, after contributing to the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry. He started working with a Support Coordinator called Lara.

Rikki had been struggling with his mental health and particularly with flashbacks. Lara put Rikki in contact with the Anchor, the Glasgow Psychological Trauma Service. Through the Anchor, Rikki accessed EMDR therapy. This is a type of therapy which can help people process trauma. Rikki found that this experience helped him to look at past experiences from his present perspective, as an adult. Together Rikki and Lara also explored how complimentary therapies, such as reiki and mindfulness techniques, could benefit his mental health. This helped Rikki find useful approaches to cope with flashbacks.

“I used to see one wee thing on the TV and I was back there in my mind. Now I have the techniques so that the flashbacks don’t stay with me.”

Volunteering has always been important to Rikki. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Rikki volunteered to meet and greet people at his local hospital. After accessing support from Future Pathways, Rikki wanted to do something to support Future Pathways.

“You looked after me. You have got me to this stage. Now I want to give something back. I want to share what Future Pathways has done for me.”

Lara encouraged Rikki to get involved with Making Pathways Together. Through this project, people who have accessed support from Future Pathways gave us feedback to help us improve the service. Rikki also got involved in our survivors’ voice group, Voices for a Better Future. This group brings together people who are registered with Future Pathways with the aim of improving services for other survivors.

Currently, Rikki and other group members are working with Future Pathways to develop peer support within our service. Although at first Rikki felt hesitant to get involved in the group, being part of Voices for a Better Future has helped him feel more confident and helped Rikki move past feelings of shame and embarrassment that have affected his past relationships. 

“It has given me a lot of confidence. My life experiences are what I bring to the table.”

Being part of this group has also helped him develop relationships with people who also want to make a positive change.

“We became closer as a group. The respect is there. […] It is all about helping others […] We laugh together. Sometimes there’s a bit of emotion. People want to be heard. I can’t advise but I can sit there and listen.”

Overall, being involved with Voices for a Better Future has been a very fulfilling experience for Rikki. 

“Just being at the meetings, I know I am there for the right reason, to make people realise that they have a voice […] I feel passionate about Voices for a Better Future. There are a few tears, but we are doing it to better people’s lives.”
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.