First Psychology
Professor Ewan Gillon is Clinical Director of First Psychology. Formed in 2009, First Psychology now offers many different psychology and counselling services, for a wide range of clients. It operates from 13 consulting venues across Scotland and northern England, with nearly 50 rooms and 150 practitioners.  
 
How did First Psychology begin? 
 

It evolved from my own counselling and therapy practice, which I started around 2001. The ethos behind it was very much to offer a service that was very client-centred, and able to understand the needs of people in different situations in their lives. I was very keen for it to be very transparent, to provide lots of information, and to not be too diagnostic and or expert-led.  

A man looks into the camera and smiles.
“I wanted to allow each client to find what they need, so that I could offer them different types of therapies and different approaches.”

Initially I worked a lot with men trying to encourage men to consider therapy and to engage more with their mental health. That grew and evolved to eventually become First Psychology, with the same kind of ethos, philosophy and approach. It was initially based in Edinburgh; since then, we’ve expanded throughout Scotland, and are now moving into northern England. 

We still very much focus on working with clients and trying to find the best things for clients. Our philosophy is what we call pluralistic’: that means we’ve got different types of practitioners in our organisation. We’re very much a therapy organisationpeople from counselling and psychotherapy backgrounds, people from cognitive behavioural therapy and other specialist types of therapy, and also some psychologists. And what we try and do is find the right clinician for every client. We’ve got a services team who help our clients to find what they need.  

We’re a fairly broad group of people now: we have around 150 clinicians working across our organisation. We try to take advantage of that by having lots of training inhouse. We’ve got a lot of professional and clinical leadership inhouse, in areas such as children and families, couples, and trauma. 

How do you work out what type of therapy is going to be right for each person?  

We start by speaking to the person themselves, or to someone who knows them well. People want different things. Some people want to talk about their experiences, and just have a place to feel heard, and to be valued and validated. Others are looking for techniques and strategies to help them manage particular difficult experiences they might have. So, we talk to the person themselves, and they are the decisionmaker 

Then we can say, ‘These are the people we have available who do the kind of things that you are looking for’, and we might suggest that the person meets with a particular clinician. In that initial session the clinician can figure out whether what they do and how they work is going to be helpful for the client. 

The client gets a chance to decide whether they like the person, and whether they feel that they can talk to them and they’re going to meet their needs.”

It’s very much a discussion about the next steps, rather than starting anything. You might establish what that particular clinician can offer, and agree a plan or a process of therapy. 

If it doesn’t work in that first sessionfor example, if the clinician feels that a different approach might be better, or that the client needs something other than therapy – then we help the client find that other thing themselves. We might advise the client, ‘This is where I think you should go, or we might refer them to someone else at First Psychology.

Is that approachof having lots of different types of services availablequite unusual?  

Yes, it is. What you tend to find is that a lot of services are either clinicianled or theory-led. Either the clinician has got a particular interest, or there’s a particular philosophy that the people who run the service believe in, and that’s basically what you get. Whereas, we think that clients themselves should be making decisions about what they need, in discussion with clinicians.  

It’s not the client simply sayingI want that and getting it. If someone wants something that we think is not actually going to be helpful to that person, or it’s not something that we feel can offer, we’d have a conversation 

So certainly we’re quite unusual. I think that’s why we’ve grown over the years: we’ve innovated and changed in response to demands from people. 

You said that earlier in your career you were focused on getting men into therapy. Do you think that there’s still some stigma about that, or find that a lot of people – not just men – are resistant to the idea?  

Yes, I think that’s absolutely the case. And I think that there are different types of experiences people have, and different reasons why they might feel apprehensive or unsure about whether therapy is something they want to pursue. Obviously, people may have had bad experiences with authority in the past, and they might in some ways imagine that therapy involves authority.  

“There may be some stigma around speaking to people about your problems: people feeling that they may be judged, or that other people might see them as not being able to cope, or something like that.”

And, to be honest, there are just natural anxieties about entering into something like therapy, which may feel very unknown and very uncertain because it’s not something you do every day. So, it’s naturally an activity that is going to be hard for people to start. It’s not an easy thing to do. 

How do you try to address these sorts of obstacles? 

Over the years we’ve tried different ways of being as open as we can to different types of experiences that people have had, and really thinking through what it is like for someone coming for therapy. In our service team we have an ‘every contact counts philosophy. So, if someone phones up but they don’t book a session, we see that as a good thing, not a bad thing. We want to help. And if someone says, ‘Look, I just want information, that’s fine. We’re not trying to force anyone to do anything, because we want to help people begin in their own minds to break down the barriers.  

Not everyone will come to therapy, not everyone is going to be helped by therapy. I mean, it’s a process that I think generally can be pretty helpful, but there may be other things that are equally helpful to someone in a particular set of circumstances. So, again, it comes back to this philosophy of being very clientcentred, and wanting to help people find what they need for themselves.  

“It’s about understanding that coming for therapy is difficult.”

So we provide information and support, we answer questions, we’re very open and transparent, we offer sessions at different times in the day in different locations, we offer telephone and remote sessions… all of these things making it as possible as it can be for different people to access the service in the way that works for them. 

In many ways your philosophy, values and approach are all similar to those of Future Pathways. 

Yes, I think so. I think we share a real emphasis on clientcenteredness in our way of working.  

Obviously, one difference is that First Psychology is a business. We’re independent: we function and we make our living from doing therapy, which is a good thing because it enables us to do it in the way that we really believe in, rather than being beholden to other organisations and so on. The downside, of course, is that we have to charge, and that’s something that we try our best to manage  

But, I certainly think, having worked with Future Pathways, that there is a lot of overlap in the way that we work. Ultimately, I think we’ve both got the same thing at heart, which is that it matters to us that people are helped and given the support that they themselves feel is helpful to them, rather than imposing something on them. 

“For people who have had difficult experiences in their lives, having power and control and feeling that they are valued and listened to is of immense importance.”

And that is absolutely how we would see every single client who comes through our door.  

We’d like to develop our relationship with Future Pathways, and we can see the opportunity for that. And obviously, as we get to know each other better, we’re really responsive and open to any feedback and support that we get from Future Pathways and the people they support. It’s a relationship that’s growing, and that I hope will continue to grow. 

Growiser Financial Coaching
A white man with a shaved head stares straight into the camera and smiles with an open mouth, He is wearing a red t-shirt and there are trees in the background.
Graham Wells is a financial coach and the founder of GroWiser. He started his career in the ‘regulated advice’ part of the financial sector, but then moved away from the sale of financial products and into coaching. In that role he helps people to develop the beliefs and behaviours that will enable them to build a better financial future. 
In essence, what is financial coaching?  

It’s not somebody telling you what to do with your money.  

It’s all about behavioural change, and recognising emotions and thought patterns that don’t serve us well. The key thing is the concept of empowerment, and working in a way that’s nonjudgmental. I think that often when people seek support, they’re fearful that they will not be knowledgeable enough, or that they’ll come across as being stupid. But working with a financial coach is an absolutely nonjudgmental process. It’s about empowerment of the individual, not about bamboozling people with technical jargon or telling people what they’ve done wrong and what they should do differently in the future. 

How did you first get involved in financial services?

When I left school, aged 17, I had no idea what I wanted to do, so I got a job in the local bank until I decided what I wanted to do. I was still there 23 years later. During part of that time I trained as a financial advisor within the bank, including gaining the regulated Diploma in Financial Services, and I would advise customers on investments, pensions and insurance, that type of thing. 

This is going back more than 20 years ago now. The financial services industry was still really quite salesorientated. I stayed in that environment for about six years, and then realised, ‘There’s something just not suited to me here, there’s something not right about this. So I moved into training.  

I spent several years training financial advisors, and also learning about how people learn the widerpart of learning and developmentwhich I found really fascinating. Eventually I found myself in a supervisory role: I would accompany wealth managers when they went out to see clients. So that gave me exposure to a wide range of different types of advisor and different types of clients.

The combination of that experience as an advisor, a trainer and a supervisor really gave me a deep understanding of how limited the whole financial services sector is. What I mean by that is that less than 10% of the population have a financial advisor, and it tends to be only the wealthiest 10%. Also, it often creates a situation where clients become dependent on their advisor to tell them what to do and how to look after their money.  

I learned that while it can be good to give people knowledge, the other half of the battle is application of that knowledge and how people change their behaviours and their habits.  

And that’s what led me to think: ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if I could blend learning and development somehow with technical financial knowledge, to actually help people who need it the most?’ So about eight years ago I trained as a financial coach. At that time, to my knowledge, there was only one other financial coach in the whole of the UK, based down in Brighton. Since then it’s accelerated at quite some pace.  

“Working with a financial coach is an absolutely nonjudgmental process. It’s about empowerment of the individual.” 
What are the main things that financial coaching covers? 

I focus on both the daytoday practicalities of money and also the emotions that people have around their money, and the behaviours that that leads to.  

The practicalities of money might just be the basics, like setting up an emergency fund and budgeting, and working out what’s important. What things give you most satisfaction in return for the money you spend on them? This helps people to develop better financial habits. Or it could be helping people to understand their pensions, for example, or learning how to invest money for the first time 

So that’s all quite practical. The other side is behavioural. Sometimes the real work here is not even to do with money: it’s helping people to recognise how they build new habits and new mindsets. This can also touch on the emotions of money. A lot of our financial habits and behaviours stem right back to childhood. There’s one study that says most of our financial attitudes are formed by age seven, so sometimes there can be quite a lot to unpack for people there. They may have beliefs like – you’ve heard some of the famous phrases money is the root of all evil, or ‘money doesn’t grow on trees, or ‘money makes the world go round. These sort of belief patterns do not always serve people in the best way. 

What inspires people to look for financial coaching? 

More and more people are beginning to search for this type of help. Some clients that come directly to me havent heard of the term financial coaching, but they’re typing similar things into Google and finding me that way. The starting point is that they’re recognising that their financial behaviours are not serving them well.  

Other people that get in touch with me are working with a financial advisor but something doesn’t feel quite right about it. They want to feel more empowered and more in control, or they maybe feel that they’re paying an awful lot in fees and they’re not quite sure what the value is that they’re getting from that.  

I learned that while it can be good to give people knowledge, the other half of the battle is application of that knowledge and how people change their behaviours and their habits. 
What sorts of things do you usually help those people with? 

The key point there really is recognising that the coaching element is all about empowering individuals, and it’s very much forward looking. (I guess that fits well with the name ‘Future Pathways, doesn’t it?) The way in which I work is not about telling people what to do or advising them. So it lends itself well to the ethos of other partners that work with Future Pathways. We have a very supportive, empowering way of working but importantlyit’s not therapy. It’s not looking backwards and trying to fix problems from the past. It’s very much about looking to the future, and I think that way of working resonated for certain people Future Pathways are working with. 

A large part of it can actually just be daytoday money management. To be honest, that’s probably something that most of the population would benefit from. It’s about understanding daytoday budgeting. Most of the work happens outside of the sessions. I give people homework tasks, like listing their various sources of income and also listing where the money goes. That can be a real eye opener. Some people find that they actually had no idea how much they had coming in or going out.  

And that exercise alone can be so illuminating: it’s enough to raise awareness and change behaviours, to make people feel motivated to improve things 

An awful lot of people that have built up pension benefits over the years are unaware of this – they just don’t know that it’s there. So that can be quite a source of reassurance just to know that something is there. For others it can be thinking about more effective ways to repay debt, and for others it can be just exploring a little bit more about where their thoughts and feelings come from around money, particularly if they are in the process for the Redress Scheme. The thought of receiving a large lump sum of money that they’re not used to can be really upsetting. So reassurance around how they might approach that decision making process.  

There must be real emotional benefits for people after they’ve got more in control of their finances? 

Absolutely, and I know this from personal experience. Even though I worked in the bank, nobody there taught me how to look after my money, so I was perpetually in debt right through my twenties. And the feeling of relief after finding a way out of that was quite remarkable. So imagine people in that position through their twenties, thirties and forties, and even into their fiftiesthe sense of relief and finding a way out of that is tremendous. 

Graham’s 5-step approach for financial wellness 
Savour your spending.

Be intentional with how you spend your time and money. Spend in line with your values and don’t forget your future self. 

Protect the people around you.

Prepare for the unexpected and build peace of mind for you and your loved ones. 

Eliminate your debt.

Find the most effective strategy for using and repaying debt. Know the difference between ‘good’ and ‘bad debt.

Nurture your wealth.

Realise that to be ‘wealthy’ is different to being ‘rich’ and includes looking after your whole life, not just your money. 

Design your future.

Be intentional and create a plan for how you’d like to spend your time as you get older. Don’t leave it to others to define your life path. 

Check out our other Meet the Partner interviews:
Centred

Working across the Highlands, Centred support people with their mental health, in their own homes and in the Recovery Centre in Inverness. Read more here.

Dan Ross

Discover how Dan Ross helps people to reframe their thinking and find new perspectives on challenges. Read more here.

Sarah Smith at Lightbulb

We chat to Sarah Smith, founder of lightbulb.coach, to discover more about how she helps people to build their confidence and self esteem. Read more here.

Cellfeld

Cellfield help people people to improve their reading skills and are one of our support providers. Read more here.

Book Whisperers

Find out more about The Book Whisperers, a community of people that helps writers of all kinds to self-publish their work. Read more here.

Dan Ross Motivation and Life Coaching
Man with white skin, short blonde hair, wearing a black t shirt is smiling directly at the viewer.
Dan Ross is a transformational life coach, helping people to move towards their goals using the resources and relationships they already have. As Dan says:
“My work is all about working in the here and now, and making a plan for the future.” 

He has developed a programme called “Ignite Your Inner Warrior.” The programme is about helping people to discover their inner potential.

Previously Dan was a counsellor, working in crisis settings. This gave him a wealth of experience of working with people in challenging life circumstances, which he is able to apply in his current role as a life coach.

The process

Dan works with people from a wide range of backgrounds and life experiences, and feels that it is important to treat everyone equally. Central to Dan’s work is developing a mutual, trusting relationship with people so that they can work effectively together.

The process starts with a free session before starting to work together. During this session Dan meets the person he will be working with, and together they explore if life coaching is right for them. They also talk about how they will work together. Dan finds this helps people feel less anxious about it.

During sessions, Dan works with people to become more aware of their limiting beliefs. A limiting belief is a state of mind which can block someone from moving towards their goals. Sometimes people are not aware of their limiting beliefs.

By helping people see these blocks, Dan helps people transform their beliefs about themselves into more positive ones. Dan encourages people to identify values they wish to develop and embody. He says:

“The values you choose should be the opposite of your limiting beliefs. For example, if you struggle with people pleasing, one of your values could be assertiveness.”

Dan supports people to master their values and make them part of their identity and everyday life. He helps them to reframe their thinking and find new perspectives on challenges. This can help people to feel more able to work through self-criticism, and to feel more in control of their life.

Dan also runs a free mindset group for people he works with. People in this group attend events and workshops, and take part in challenges like cold water exposure, climbing mountains, or even free-falling.

Working with Future Pathways

Dan heard about Future Pathways when a Support Coordinator, Andrew, called him to enquire about his services. Andrew was working with someone who wanted to explore how life coaching could help him achieve his goal of becoming a motivational speaker. Dan describes his experience of working with Future Pathways: 

“It has been first class. The Support Coordinators have been personable and positive. I have had no communication issues at all. Any questions I had were quickly answered.”

Dan believes that life coaching is most impactful when people are ready to commit to change in their life, and he feels that everyone Future Pathways has connected him with has been ready to work together.

He also encourages the people he works with to stay connected with Future Pathways, and to share how they are doing with their Support Coordinator. This helps Dan work alongside Future Pathways to help people achieve their goals. 

Impact

Many people who Dan has worked with have achieved things that might have seemed impossible before their work together. For example, some people have started businesses or overcome fears to complete personal challenges. Some people tell Dan that his coaching has changed their life. It’s clearly a very successful partnership, which we hope will continue and develop for many years to come.

Find out more about Dan’s work at www.danrossmotivation.co.uk
 
Sarah Smith is the founder of lightbulb.coach, a coaching company which supports people to build confidence and reach their goals. We spoke to Sarah to find out more about her work. 
Woman with white skin, brown hair and a black top, smiling into the camera with mouth slightly open.
How did you get started in coaching?

My background is in finance. I was working for Aberdeen Asset Management for about 17 years in learning and development, and I was a coach in-house. I got the opportunity to take voluntary redundancy at the end of 2017, and started lightbulb.coach at the start of 2019. So I’m just in my fourth year.

What is your main goal?

To make coaching mainstream for young people. When I was working with executives and senior leaders in corporate organisations, I realised that what I was helping them with was the same struggles that many young people have in their early careers. And I thought, well, why are we not offering this to young people much earlier? So I started working with young people and trying to raise the awareness of coaching and the benefits. I’ve got a broad range of clients, though – basically anyone from the age of nine upwards – which is fantastic.

Coaching really is for everyone. Maybe some people have the idea that it’s only reserved for executives or very senior people, but in today’s world it’s becoming more of a solution for people who just want to make a change, and just need a little bit of an extra help. Coaching is available and affordable.

Is the process of doing coaching for children very different from adults?

Fundamentally, the themes are very similar, but the approach is slightly different. You have to be a little bit more directive with children, so you maybe use a lot more play: things like Lego and creating vision boards. But I use that with adults as well, because we all like to release our inner child sometimes.

So the approach is different, but the topics are very much the same. It’s about building confidence, self-esteem and self-awareness, and understanding our own personal triggers and our barriers and what gets in the way.

Are there many differences between coaching and counselling?

Yes. Coaching is forward-facing: where are you now, where do you want to get to and how can I help you get there? Purely by asking the right questions. Whereas counselling is very much looking into the past and unravelling the events that have brought you to where you are today, and helping you to understand that.

I always compare what I do to sports coaching. Everyone knows that if you want to jump higher, swim faster, run faster, your coach will help you do that. They’ll look at your technique, work out what’s holding you back and try to improve on what you’re already doing.

It’s the same with the coaching I do. It could be something that is holding the person back, like a particular fear or maybe not feeling confident in their ability. You often see imposter syndrome, for example. And coaching involves being really specific about what the goal is, and then working out the steps and strategies to get there.

What are some of the main reasons why people come to you?

For children, it’s through parents. Covid has changed things a lot. It feels like our young people are really struggling to get back into socialising: having the motivation to go back to school clubs or sports. 

With adults it might be similar. Or maybe the person wants to change their career, because they’re just really unhappy in what they’re doing, but they don’t know what it is that they do want to do. So they will come to me looking just to explore what their options are, and to come up with more ideas and strategies of how they can make real transformational change in their lives.

People often think that coaches are like cheerleaders, and that’s really not what we’re there to do. We are very much partnering with the person, but we also provide the challenge if there’s a lack of motivation.

What would be a typical amount of time that you would spend with someone?

That’s another difference compared to counselling. I would describe coaching as a short-term solution for long-term gain. You might work with someone for an hour or 90 minutes per month for, say, six to eight months. A lot of the work is done between the sessions. That, I think, is very similar to counselling. But whereas with counselling you might have someone support you for a long period of time, a coach will tend to work with you for a shorter period.

How did you start working with Future Pathways?

Someone got in touch with me to ask about coaching and coach mentoring. They said that they were working with Future Pathways and that I would be a good partner. I’d heard of Future Pathways before, through my work with a number of charities, so I was familiar with what they do.

And it was great to hear that coaching was being embraced. Because within charities, for example, there’s often a counselling service offered, but once you get to the end of that counselling, how do you move forward? You’ve done all of that work to get to where you are now: what is the next chapter? And I think that’s where coaching can really help.

You can find out more about Sarah’s work at lightbulb.coach
For a full list of who we work with, visit our Delivery Partners page
Cellfield helps people to improve their reading skills. We spoke to Fiona Macdiarmid who owns and runs the Cellfield Centre in Stirling.
How did Cellfield start?

It began in Australia, in the late 90s. It was invented by a clever man called Dimitri Caplygin. He was an engineer, and he wondered why so many people still had problems with reading, even when so much had been done to look into and help the issue. So he looked at all the research, and used it to create a computer program.

How does it work? 

To be able to read, your brain needs to be able to do lots of different things at the same time. The technical terms are things like “auditory processing”, “visual processing”, “motor function”, “working memory” and “executive function”, but basically it means that your brain has to work in lots of different ways at once.   

The program brings together all of those different things, and helps you to get better at each of them, so that they all work together well. That means that your reading skills improve very quickly.  

A building with large glass windows. There is a tree to the left with green and red leaves. In front of the building are plants and shrubs.

Above: Cellfield Centre in Stirling

How long does the course take? 

To start with I’ll talk to the person and discuss exactly what they want help with. That takes about 2 hours, and includes some simple testing to find out how well the person can read. I also tell them how the program works. If they decide they want to go ahead, it is quite a lot of work: about an hour or an hour and a half each day, for 10 days.  

After that, we look at how much progress they have made. We then check in with them again 6 months later.

How much better can people get in 10 days?  

It depends on a lot of things. But some people improve their reading a little. Others improve it by a huge amount. It’s amazing. I have been working in education for 35 years, and I have never seen anything like it.   

A great example is the very first person I worked with using the Cellfield program. He was very smart, and I had already been working with him, using other teaching methods, for 18 months and getting nowhere. I used to say, “If I could just get inside your head and rewire it, we would be onto a winner.” And that is pretty much what the Cellfield program does.  

A room with grey and white walls. There is a bench with computers. Four people are sitting at the computers. They face away from the viewer and are looking at the screens.

Above: inside the Cellfield Centre

Can you work with anyone? 

Yes. I have worked with people who really cannot read at all. I also work with people who can read but find it difficult to remember what they have read.  

Are there lots of other Cellfield organisations? 

Yes, all over the world. As well as the UK there are centres in South Africa, New Zealand, Australia. There are also centres in America and Canada.  

How long have you been worked with Cellfield? 

Since 2009. I actually went to New Zealand to do my training with Dmitri.  

How did you start working with Future Pathways?  

Through a client of mine. His mum worked for Future Pathways, and she told Future Pathways about us. And then Cellfield, the Community Brokerage Network and Future Pathways all worked together to help someone who was registered with Future Pathways. Since then, we have worked with one other person so far.   

And can it make a big difference to people’s lives? 

Yes, a huge difference. The Cellfield program teaches your brain to work better, and that has lots of other benefits other than just reading. It’s like if you work to get better at running. You would also get a bit better at cycling, rowing, and lots of other things.   

And also, of course, because being able to read better is really useful in your life. 

You can find out more about the work of Cellfield at www.cellfield.co.uk
For a full list of who we work with, visit our Delivery Partners page 
The Book Whisperers is a community of people that helps writers of all kinds to self-publish their work. We have partnered with them on several occasions to help people with assisted memoir writing or to help publish books of poetry or children’s books. We spoke to Mary Turner Thomson, one of the group’s founders and Managing Director of the social enterprise.  
What gave you the idea to create The Book Whisperers?  

In March 2020, when we knew we were going into lockdown, I sat down with a couple of my author friends and discussed what we could do to help our community. We figured – as authors and publishers – the thing we really could do was to help people spend the time in lockdown writing that book they had always thought of doing. So we created a website, and a free Facebook group, alongside three basic six-week courses in writing.  

We put out a call to our friends saying, “If you want to write a book, now might be the time to do that, come and join us to learn how!” We thought about twenty people would join us. Within a week we had about one thousand members. 

What services do you provide? How does it work? 

We provide whatever the client needs to get going – whether that is brainstorming ideas, writing coaching, ghost writing, editing, layout/design, or publishing support. So it all depends on what the client needs.  

So is it mostly for experienced writers? 

Not at all. It’s for everyone, at any point in the journey.  

How did you and Future Pathways find each other? 

Future Pathways heard about what we were doing, so they came to us and said, “We’re working with someone who wants to write his life story.”  

My colleague Lea Taylor – Creative Director of The Book Whisperers – worked with him. She would interview him, then write up the note, using his voice and turn of phrase to ensure authenticity. She’d then show him the notes and they’d work on them together. By the end of the process he had a completed biography in his hands.  

He said: “Her way of thinking, putting words on a page, forming a sentence – helping me to express myself on all aspects of my life. I never expected this amount of help. To this day I thank my ghostwriter helper and would highly recommend anyone taking one on. Seeing the finished product in print was unbelievable. I had started a project and finished it. When I got my book, I sat down and read it. It made me cry and made me happy and it made me laugh. The combination of all these aspects of a man’s life, everything looked as if my life, all the pieces, slipped into place and at the end of these weary days I’m a very happy chappy.” 

Picture above: Lea Taylor (left) and Mary Turner Thomson (right), Directors of the Book Whisperers

Have you worked with many Future Pathways people since then? 

Yes, we have been very lucky to work with quite a few. Every story is different. Even if the client wants a private book for their family and friends (rather than published book for the general public) it is still a very good process to go through.  

Do you think that even just the process of writing can be therapeutic? 

Absolutely, in lots of ways. Writing helps with communication, self-esteem, self-confidence, concentration, life expectancy, all sorts of things. The benefits – of writing and reading – are absolutely massive, not just for mental health but physical health as well. As you can tell, I’m quite passionate about the subject! 

Finally, what are your future plans for The Book Whisperers? 

We want to build up the platform, and get a lot of people onto it. By doing that we will be able to source new authors who can work with us. So when people come to us and want to write any particular kind of book, we’ll have an author who specialises in that.   

We also want to do writing courses for existing authors and writers, and we’re thinking about doing writing retreats. So we’ve got great plans.  

Honestly, it’s my dream job. If I won the lottery, I would still carry on doing this. When you’re doing a job that you love so much you wouldn’t stop even if you become a millionaire, that’s when you know you’re doing the right thing with your life.

Interested in writing? Check out The Book Whisperers’ Top Three Tips for writing your first book
You can find out more about the project at thebookwhispererscommunity.com.
For a full list of who we work with, visit our Delivery Partners page 
The Moira Anderson Foundation (MAF) serves Scotland from its base in North Lanarkshire. The organisation provides safety and support for adults and children affected by childhood sexual abuse. MAF was one of the first organisations to work with Future Pathways since we began in 2016.

The Foundation offers individual care and support to survivors and their families. It seeks to reduce the impact of trauma in their lives. The Foundation builds trust with survivors. It offers a range of therapeutic services in a safe and caring environment. 

The Foundation has a range of different services, including: 

Counselling and therapies

These can include talking therapy, youth counselling, art therapy and creative play.  

Training and workshops

Their ‘Safe Hands’ training helps to promote personal safety strategies for everyone. The Foundation also does presentations in schools and other places to raise awareness.

Positive Steps

This is a dedicated programme to support adult clients with long-term health problems. 

Glasgow Satellite Service (GSS) 

This provides support for people in the Glasgow area at different locations, like GP services.  

You can find out more about the work of the Moira Anderson Foundation at: www.moiraanderson.org 
 
Visit our Delivery Partners page to see the full list of who we work with.  
Birthlink currently work with Future Pathways to provide a service to individuals who have registered with us. Birthlink help people who are looking for support to access care records, learn more about their family histories, and/or make contact with family members. 

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. 

Birthlink are able to provide the following support services:  

Records

Birthlink can help to try and locate care files and support individuals with the reading and understanding of these records. 

Roots

Birthlink have skilled searchers who can search public records to compile family trees.

Re-connect

Birthlink can act as a go-between in making contact with family members.

Cathy’s story shows how Birthlink can support people:

(Names have been changed)

Future Pathways referred Cathy to Birthlink 

Future Pathways referred Cathy to Birthlink for support with accessing her care records. Cathy lives with a degenerative health condition and is currently receiving palliative care. She wanted to understand her past in care better, and she hoped that accessing her records would enable her to apply for an advance Redress payment. 

Birthlink contact Cathy to give her more information

Her Support Coordinator contacted Birthlink directly to make the referral. Birthlink then contacted Cathy to discuss her record search request and to let her know that it could take some time to find the information she was looking for. Cathy’s Support Coordinator then spoke with Birthlink to explain the context of Cathy’s request since the Advance Payment Scheme was coming to an end in only two weeks. The Support Coordinator felt that Birthlink understood Cathy’s needs immediately: they expedited the process of seeking Cathy’s care records as much as possible while keeping both Cathy and her Support Coordinator aware of their progress. 

Birthlink gave Cathy proof of her care status

Less than 48 hours later, Birthlink provided Cathy with proof of her care status. These records were provided to the advance Redress payment scheme and Cathy was awarded an advance payment of £10,000. 

Birthlink will continue to support Cathy 

This has opened up new opportunities for Cathy, who has decided to use some of this money to book a trip to London, a city she has always wanted to visit but never been able to. Cathy is working with her Support Coordinator to plan this trip around her health and mobility needs. Birthlink have followed up with Cathy to see if she needs any further support after receiving her care records and they continue to seek further care records for Cathy to help her learn more about her past in care. 

To find out more about Birthlink, visit: birthlink.org.uk
To find out more about support from Future Pathways, see How We Help