Future Pathways
Grace-Anne shares her wonderful paintings with us. She says:
“It’s never too late to learn new things. Learn to appreciate yourself and all you’ve overcame through expression. Whether that be art, writing, dance or song. Be unashamedly you because the world is a much nicer place when you learn to be authentically you. That’s your purpose…to live.”
Four red/pink poppies on a white background, each in different stages of bloom.
A silhouetted bush/long grass with water in the background a sunset of blue, pink, yellow and red.
A close up of the head of a bright orange flower with green leaves and a blue background.
A white horse running towards the viewer with a flame-coloured mane. The background is made up of multi coloured brush strokes.
A view of a beach and water created with lines of colour in blue, turquoise and yellow, with a pink and blue sky.
A dark blue silhouette of a sailing boat against a vivid orange and yellow sunset.
A silhouette of bare trees against a sky which gradually goes from a pale blue and pink to a vivid yellow and orange.
A blue and white detailed pictures of a set of feathers against a black background.
An abstract geometric picture created with grey and blue triangles and quadrilaterals, separated by thick white lines.
Lauchlan, who is registered with us, shares these two reflective poems.
Talking to myself

Write go on write I’m talking to my pen

Oh what a clever writer to write when I say when.

The crimson skies the rushing waves I’m thinking in my head

Oh what a clever thinker to think what I just said.

It is really such a lovely life it’s me who’s telling you

I know it’s me who’s talking but to whom am I talking to.

I’m really just a splendid chap rich in thought and health

but guess what I discovered I am talking to myself.


A thought a thought it’s just a thought my mind will think again to think of all the thoughts
I’ve had would cast me out in shame.

I thought I was a rock star my mind was running wild selfish thought’s all for myself sometimes
I’m like a child.

I thought I was a Christian to the world I’d be so good but it’s to the devil my soul I gave and
the words I speak are rude.

I thought I was a politician I’d save the world’s cries but I’m not different from the rest
I’m a liar in disguise.

I’ve thought in many ways of folk

But it’s just a shot in the dark life is good and bad at times.
What do you think well there’s a thought.

Chris, who works with us, has been drawing for many years, using charcoal and, more recently, coloured pencil. Some of his work was recently shown in an exhibition in Glasgow. He told us about the exhibition, and about another way that he sometimes shares his work with others…

Chris has been working with Future Pathways for several years. He has been keen on drawing for as long as he can remember, and it has developed over the years. Chris told us: 

“I used to mostly draw with a charcoal pencil – so that’s in black and white. But during lockdown I started coming out of my comfort zone a bit, and started doing colour drawings with graphite pencils. My friends often told me that they like them when I shared them on Facebook, and that the colour drawings cheered them up.”

Chris mentioned all of this to his Support Coordinator, and this started a discussion which ended up with them arranging an exhibition of Chris’s work in the Woodlands Community Meeting Room in Glasgow.

A man smiling at the viewer. He is pointing to pictures on a wall

Above: Chris’s with his artwork on display at the Woodlands Community Meeting Room in Glasgow

Many of Chris’s drawings are of people, but they’re not all real people. Chris says: “I draw lots of stuff. I do things from TV shows or movie characters, or I’ll do cartoon characters or I’ll do superheroes. Things along those lines.”

But not all of Chris’s work is of made-up characters: “I sometimes draw bands of musicians and things like that.” And Chris uses this as a chance to share his work in a really lovely way.

“I go along to shows – plays or concerts – and I’ll pick a member of the band or the cast. Obviously I can’t draw them all, but I’ll draw someone. And then after the show, I’ll go to the stage door and I’ll present them with the drawing. Just as a little gift for them. People almost always ask if they are allowed to keep it! And I say, ‘Of course, that’s what I’ve done it for, it’s for you to take away.’ And they’re delighted. People giving me hugs and sometimes they’re nearly crying. It’s just very nice to see someone happy with something that I’ve done for them, and to see how much it means to them.”

A table with postcards laid out on it and three framed comic pages standing upright on the table.

Above: Chris’s work in the Woodlands Community Meeting Room in Glasgow

Did you know that you do not need to live in Scotland to access Future Pathways’ support? Ian, who registered with Future Pathways in 2019, was sent to Australia as a child migrant. He has lived there since he was around 7 years old. Ian is also supported by Tuart Place, a West Australian support service for adults who were in any type of out-of-home care when they were children, including former child migrants.
Here, Ian shares his talent for model making.

Ian started making model windmills when he retired about 12 years ago. Since then, he has made around 2,500 of them! Ian explains, “It’s just something that I taught myself to do because I knew all about them after working in the bush and on farms”.

Ian was of the generations that depended on windmills more than most because he grew up in rural, remote areas. Years ago in Australia, these windmills were everywhere, even in the suburbs. It was the main way for many people to draw water up to the surface.

A man wearing a hat, jacket and t shirt looks directly at the viewer. He is holding a handmade windmill which is white with blue sails.
A model windmill with a white base, blue ladder and blue sails.

Talking about making his windmills, Ian shares:

“I get a lot of pleasure out of it. I make the frame one day then the next day do the spindle at the top. It takes me about 10 hours to make one, whatever the size. The bigger ones are easier to make because you can get your hand in. My design is good too because I put extra things in, like chairs on each landing. Some of the windmills are quite small, others are as tall as a person. When it comes to the end of making one, I’m so happy.”

Ian, who recently turned 80 but says he feels about 40, makes windmills in all different colours. He has used football colours, Irish colours, aboriginal colours (red, black and yellow), and others are silver, like windmills in the bush. Ian made one in yellow and blue which was auctioned off to raise money for Ukraine. Another he made as tall as a door which raised $1500 for kids. He even presented one to a member of the Australian parliament who came to Tuart Place and took it back to Canberra with them.

Three silver model windmills.

Ian’s talents extend to other models too:

“I’ve also made a model of Sydney Harbour Bridge about 3 meters long, and a beautiful dolls house on wheels. I even made the furniture to go into it and battery-operated lights. That one got raffled at Tuart Place. Everyone who sees my models, they fall in love with them.”

And now Ian’s windmills have even travelled half-way around the world to Scotland after he very kindly made one for Future Pathways, and we love it! As Ian put it, “it’s a little bit of Ian and a little bit of Australia, in the middle of Scotland.”

A man sitting in a white vest, cap and jeans looking directly at the viewer. He is holding a white model windmill and there are model windmills either side of him.
Growing stronger together

Tuart Place is a support service for adults in Western Australia who were in any kind of out-of-home care when they were children. Funded by the state government, it is based in the city of Freemantle, just south of Perth. Its motto is ‘growing stronger together’, and it provides a lot of different services, including counselling, social activities, informal support groups, training courses and records tracing

Alex has been working with us for about a year. We helped him to write a book – and he’s already planning the next one.

Alex is in his early 70s, and had never written a book before. However, when the idea came up during a call with his Support Coordinator, he was interested. Alex says, “I knew I had enough stuff to say, but I just wasn’t sure I was ready at that time.”

Alex decided to go for it, and the book was recently printed. It’s called ‘Priests Don’t Dae That’. It’s about Alex’s life, mainly his childhood in the 1960s. He wrote it with the help of Lea Taylor from the Book Whisperers. The Book Whisperers help people to write books. 

The writing and editing process worked well. Alex explains: “I’d put pen to paper, and then I would meet up with Lea and give her my pages. She would then put it all together for me. And she designed the book cover for me too.”

Book cover with text: Priests Don't Dae That. Alexander Buchanan.

It took Alex just a month or two to write the book: “Once I started writing, it came quite easily.”

Lea really enjoyed the process too. She told us “It was a joy working with Alex on so many fronts.” Lea told us how dedicated Alex was to writing his book. She said that “best of all was witnessing such a wonderful change in him as the work and his confidence progressed.

His story was fascinating, and I’m delighted to have helped Alex produce this powerful piece of work.”

The people at the Book Whisperers believe that just the process of writing a book can make you feel better about things, and that was true for Alex: “It was a great experience. I wish that I got it all out sooner, honestly, but I’m glad I have done it now, and I’m now more level-headed. I’m very thankful to Future Pathways and to the Book Whisperers.”

And what’s next for Alex? “I might write another couple!”

A fantastic poem by Eileen, one of our contributors.
The Suit

Happy birthday she said as I ripped opened the bag…

My heart beating faster and faster as I’m peeling back the layers…

Ooh…I can see something…peeking out in the corner…

With one last pull the paper let’s go of its goodies…WOW…

I say as it lies before me…

What is it mum? I say…

Hold it up and you will see…

My hands touch the beige-coloured fabric…

Ooh… it’s so, so soft to the touch…

As I hold it up a piece falls down…

Mmm…. I say,

hold it up against you then…

Taking it out of my hands mum holds it up against my body…

Oh yes …looks lovely…

Now try the trousers on….

I put one leg in then the other and as my mum pulls me into them, I feel the soft silk lining touching my young skin…

It’s beautiful mum I shout…

Have a look then…have a look…

I head over the mirror with such anticipation for what I’m about to see…

I squeal…

There I stand in all my glory in my new beige camel coloured suit…

Soft to the touch and so, so elegant…

It’s the most loveliest thing I’ve ever seen…

Now look after it, she shouts…

Cost a lot of money…

OK mum, I reply still staring in the mirror…

Well…take it off now…

Go and hang it up, she says…

OK mum…

I slept well that night…

Happy I’d got a lovely suit for my party…

As the weekend comes…

I’m so looking forward to playing in the streets below…

I hear my mum call…


Take this to the pawn shop for me will ya…

All wrapped up in brown paper…

Mum…is this my suit …is it my suit…

Tears well up in my eyes as she nods her head …

Only this once …only this once…


the pain I felt on that long journey down to the pawn shop can never be explained…

tears running down my face as I hand it over to the man with the glasses on in exchange for the coins, he drops into my open hand…

It went on that journey often my suit…

And every-time the tears would flow…

Didn’t fit me when I finally got it back…

Ahh well, mum said …may as well take it back to the pawn man and get a bob or two ehh….

A tear drops onto my cheek…

You can discover more creative pieces from people we support in our Arts and Crafts Winter Showcase
Someone we work with, Grant, is a keen and very skilled photographer. But his camera was holding him back: it was not good enough to let him use his talent to the full. We were able to help.

Grant first got interested in photography a long time ago – back when people still used camera film. After a while, he got out of the habit. “I just did snaps here and there with my phone. Then, about 10 years ago, my girlfriend at the time got me a new camera.” 

Things went from there. Grant then bought a camera, a Canon 100D, that one of his friends was selling. It was almost brand new, and Grant started doing wildlife photography again. Grant explains, “the challenge is just to get an image, because most animals move so fast. You’ve got to find ways to try to work with them.”  

Two juvenile kestrels sitting on the edge of a rock, with thin branches to their left and right.

Above: Juvenile Kestrels “These young kestrels were part of a brood that I had the privilege of watching from being chicks to fledging the nest. (In the interests of transparency I should say that in the original image the sky had washed out, so while editing on Photoshop I had used the sky replacement function.)”

Grant started by going to his local park and taking photos of the birds there. The park was the perfect place for this. It had lots of different wildlife, with the coast at one end and a woodland area at the other.  

Grant found that the patient and slow nature of wildlife photography was enjoyable and of great benefit too. “Photographing wildlife, it really slows you down. Because if you’re jumping about and being noisy… they won’t come up. You’ve got to take maybe 20 minutes just to sit still… then you start to hear the noises of them rustling about – and then you start to sense the movement of them, you won’t actually see them yet.” 

“And then after a while they get to trust you, and see that you’re no threat. Then they’ll start showing themselves. And now that I’ve been going to the same spot for about 2 years, animals will come up to me quite readily. I take things with me like bird food, bags of nuts for the squirrels and stuff like that, so they are quite happy. You learn a lot about animal behaviour.” 

Above: Wren on a branch. “This is probably the clearest image I have of a wren, one of the UK’s smallest birds. They are incredibly skittish and devilishly fast.”   

Ravenscraig Castle is lit up by the sun in the left side of the image. The right side is filled with trees in shadow.

Above: Ravenscraig Castle at sunset

When Grant first started working with Future Pathways, one of the things he talked about with his Support Coordinator was his love for photography. He wanted to get better at it but the camera he had was too basic. This is when his Support Coordinator said Future Pathways could help.  

Grant made a list of what he needed and got everything second-hand which saved a lot of money. He was now able to do much more and in many different light conditions.

As you can see, Grant has taken some amazing photos, and he clearly loves the process as much as other people love the results. “One of the most amazing experiences I’ve had was at a spot I know where kestrels go every year. About 2 years ago, I was there and a kestrel was sat in a tree quite far away. And the next thing, he flew to a tree about 20 feet from me. It literally just sat there and watched me, checking me out for a good 5 minutes. Enough time to go and get my camera set up and take an image right close up.” (The photo Grant took is below.)

A kestrel sitting atop a branch looking into the camera with a flat blue sky behind it.

Above: Kestrel. “This kestrel flew onto the tree closest to me and watched me for a few minutes.”

And it seems that Grant’s love for photography may be passing down to his kids. Grant sometimes takes his daughter out with him. She uses his old camera to learn. Grant told us that this has been an added benefit of Future Pathways’ help that he did not expect. “It has helped my daughter and me build on our relationship, by giving us a shared interest.”  

Above: “A ‘macro shot’ from a day spent shooting insects and flowers.” 

“It is a great experience. Everyone’s got their life stresses, and then I’ve got other mental health issues that I’ve got to deal with. When I go out with my camera, for that couple of hours I’m not thinking about any of that. What I’m concentrating on is the location I’m going to, what’s the light like, what kit am I going to use, what shutter speeds am I going to use, how am I going to set the camera up? I find that it takes my mind right away: just for a couple of hours, I have no worries.” 

Above: A robin in the sun. “It was the end of the day and I was about to pack my equipment away when I noticed this wee fella. Next to kestrels, robins are my favourite birds. They are so full of attitude, curious, and furiously defensive of their territory. But once they get used to your presence they will happily stay about you.” 

Check out another fantastic photograph by one of the people we support in the Sunrise photograph here
You can view more creative pieces from the people we support in our Arts and Crafts Winter Showcase.
“Being thankful for a new day with a stunning sunrise.”

by Joanna Muir

A sunrise with sea. In the foreground are rocks. The sun glistens off the water. The sky gradually changes from blue at the top to orange and yellow.

You can view more creative pieces from the people we support in our Arts and Crafts Winter Showcase.
Fly On, a wonderful poem written by Eileen, one of our contributors.

You can discover more creative pieces from people we support in our Arts and Crafts Winter Showcase
Creativity can be a great way to boost your mood, relax, focus or feel confident. 
We have a dedicated online Arts and Craft Winter Showcase featuring fantastic pieces from the people we support.
Check out their wonderful creations below. For groups of images, click on each one to view it at a larger size.

Chris’ drawings

“I’ve been drawing since I was a child and I find drawing therapeutic. I do drawings for people to do something nice and make them smile.”

Alanis’ creations

“I have been creating for the last 6-7 months. It keeps me occupied and it is good for the brain.” 

A black and white photograph with a ship on water and clouds filling the sky.

William’s photography 

“Photography gives me a sense of purpose which helps me structure my spare time in a way that brings me a lot of enjoyment as well as providing a focus which is particularly important since I have retired from work.” 

David’s paintings 

“With over 30 years’ experience, my speciality is the painting of portraits although my work covers a variety of subjects including landscapes, animals, pets and still life. I work predominantly in oils and acrylics, but also create graphite portraits and drawings. I aim to make my landscapes colourful and realistic, reflecting my point of view and feeling for my surroundings.” 

Wickerman’s candles, soaps and wax melts

“I love my craft as it keeps me grounded on a day to day basis.” 

Derek’s portraits 

“These pictures are done with paint on canvas. They were a lockdown project with the canvases provided by Future Pathways. During Covid lockdown I was really not able to go outside at all and art really helped me through that period. The pictures are now on display in Candleriggs gallery, Main Street, Alloa. Elton is my hero with Freddie and Debbie having played a part in my life as well.” 

Fiona’s artwork

“The painting is inspired by Japanese Art and the mosaic is inspired by Egyptian art. I’ve loved art for as long as I can remember and try and empower other women, through art, and implement self-development.” 

Eileen’s artwork

”Although it’s been a while since I have done any artwork, I particularly get creative when my mental wellbeing is down or I’m feeling overwhelmed. It calms me and gives me a distraction. I can express my feelings outward into my art in an expressive way.  I’m not by any means Van Gogh, but having the confidence to share it with others is a big thing.  I have learned along the way to accept it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but it’s mine.” 

Lauchlan’s paintings 

”I was in and out of care homes from early childhood, which probably put me on a wayward path in my teenage years and adulthood. I started painting in 1997 at the age of 47 I was incarcerated in a Chinese prison from 1991 until December 2003 for possession of cannabis resin. Teaching myself to paint was a great escape from the harsh reality of prison life in a communist country. I loved painting landscapes wandering into the fantasy world over mountains and feeling sand through my  toes on white sand beaches. I eventually started doing Still Life and abstract. I appreciate the opportunity that Future Pathways give to its clients to share their art.”

If you’d like your own work to be featured on our website, email us at engagement@future-pathways.co.uk