CYPFEIF & ALEC Fund Quarterly Newsletters

June 2021

News from the Scottish Government

Conversation is so Powerful 

A voice on the end of the phone or a computer screen, amid the most challenging of times, is simply soothing.

Indeed, it’s been a constant throughout the last year of turbulent change, upheaval, heartbreak and untold trauma for many. Its these simple things in life that we have become so heavily reliant on for our wellbeing, to get that little respite from the stresses of supporting the most vulnerable in society and to calm our nerves and mind to bring us back to our usual self, to pick ourselves up from where we left off, to support those we want to make a difference for.

Keeping the ‘door’ open, keeping the phone on, keeping the conversation going, particularly for our most vulnerable communities, has been crucial. From speaking to stakeholders from the central belt one minute to speaking to the remotest empowerment group to the next, the last year and a bit have been so enriching. By opening up and staying open, we have changed our perspectives, we’ve adapted the usual ways of working, a formal diary invite has turned to an unexpected phone call, an agenda has turned into ad hoc conversations, a jargon ridden plan has turned into speedy, real and responsive, action. This is the power of conversation.

This fast-paced activity has of course led us in the Race Equality Unit onto important debates around good stakeholder engagement. Power dynamics, sustainability, lived experience, trauma informed consultation are all key issues we are now grappling with.

How are these network, policy, working groups formed? Do we have an equal balance of government, third sector and other representatives? Do we determine agendas or chair collectively? Do we continually ask the same questions not realising the trauma this can cause? Will our stakeholder relations last?

Being cognisant of other people’s needs when consulting is just as important as it is to know someone’s access requirements to partake fully in an engagement.

Ensuring we have those with lived experience involved in any piece of work from the very start is just as important as having representatives from all groups.

These are important lessons and thought-provoking questions we will use, ponder upon and hopefully address, as we look to shape our future plans in the Equalities, Inclusion and Human Rights Directorate.

Do email to keep these conversations going.

Guest blog from Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland

Start listening to disabled people. We are the solution, we’re not the problem.

“I’ve had a traumatic experience trying to get the support hours I need to live independently, stay healthy and have a full life like everyone else.

I can’t live fully independently because of the piecemeal support package I have.  My arm movement is limited, I’m at risk of choking and need support to shower, turn in my bed at night and do all my breathing and other exercises, that I have to do, to keep healthy. So, the support I don’t have impacts directly on my health, social, work and family life.

To move my arms and legs, go to the bathroom, take a shower and exercise when I choose; those things are fundamental rights for me to be able to live independently.

I want everything in the system to change. The funding allocated to facilitate someone’s human rights and independence is an extension of healthcare.

Start listening to disabled people. We are the solution, we’re not the problem. If you give people what they need to have a full and healthy life, that in turn has benefits to society as a whole. I think we need to stop thinking that disabled people are supposed to be patronised or locked up in their homes.”

Read the Independent Review of Adult Social Care

Read our news item on the Independent Review of Adult Social Care.

Guest blog from Saheliya

There are people like you

Saheliya is a specialist mental health organisation for black, minority ethnic, refugee and asylum seeker women (12+) in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and other parts of Scotland with lived experience of gendered abuse, racial inequalities, and difficulties accessing mainstream services. We promote mental well-being by combating the effects of abuse, reducing the stigma of mental illness, and building integration, through practical, emotional and therapeutic support, advocacy in 14 first languages, and group activities.

We work tirelessly to promote equal access to opportunities, resources and justice for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalised.

We are a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic led organisation by women for women and have a fantastic staff and volunteer team, many of us having lived experience of the problems our service users face. Many of our staff are ex-service users, nearly all are from the communities we serve; we all have an understanding of how race, gender and culture affect the mental well-being of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic women.

“We create a safe space where women can share their views and their voice will be heard. As women, we lift each other up.

At Saheliya there isn’t a minority voice. There are people like you – with similar experiences, around the table.”
-Shruti Jain, Saheliya Chair of the Board

We see our service users at the heart of everything we do. We provide person centred wrap-around support and many women coming to Saheliya attend several services. They also have an active role in the development of individual support and progression plans recognising their specific needs, skills, and aspirations.

We also believe that language is power. For most of the women we work with English isn’t their first language. We cannot highlight enough the importance of being able to discuss matters in your own language, especially when often discussing very traumatic matters.

We offer specialist services and advocacy in 14 first languages. However, our salaried staff team speak 34 languages and our trained Access2safety sessional language support workers speak an additional 15 languages.

We are proud to say that during Covid period we have continued to offer our free services safely and remotely to over 1300 women, but outside of the restrictions created by the pandemic our community hubs in Edinburgh and Glasgow are absolute havens of activity. We provide an environment where service users are able to feel safe, have their voices heard, deal with any issues they might be facing as well as socialise and feel included.

We also provide childcare in both locations to enable women with small children to attend sessions such as classes, groupwork, gardening, counselling, art therapy or 1to1 support.

This has been an extremely challenging year for the charity and the women we work with and we have received more referrals than before. Our staff have been creative, adaptive and flexible in supporting women, many in desperate situations, throughout the Covid period. We are thankful to our funders, partners and individual donors who believe in the work we do.

Our services are needed now more than ever!



News from across the Fund June

Article 12 in Scotland

Making Rights Matter, for all of Scotland’s Young People

The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on the inequalities faced by people and communities from across Scotland, the UK and internationally, with marginalised young people being particularly affected.

The digital exclusion experienced by the Gypsy/Traveller community in Scotland, and the need to address this disadvantage has been especially highlighted; in response to this, and the increasing need for Learning & Development projects to function in a digital world, over the past year Article 12 in Scotland has developed an Online Learning Platform, adapted our learning resources, and received additional funding from the Scottish Government to provide devices and data SIMS to young people in order to support our work and allow learning to continue – whether online or in-person and regardless of whether a young person is living in ‘bricks and mortar’ accommodation, on a site, rurally located or ‘shifting’.

Additionally, we have had to move our United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child [UNCRC] Reporting Process and awareness-raising work online – which has proved challenging.  In order to facilitate participation, and to ensure the voices of marginalised young people are once again included in our report to the Committee, we have created a number of online surveys, information videos, tailored Zooms, infographics, competitions, a virtual workshop and a ‘UNCRC for Beginners’ teaching pack which can be distributed to any organisation supporting marginalised young people in Scotland.

If you would like to get involved in our UNCRC Reporting Process or to find out more about our work supporting young Gypsy/Travellers, please visit our website: You can access our survey here Article 12 in Scotland: UNCRC Reporting Process and should you have any further queries please contact us at


Care and Learning Alliance

Inclusion Improvements

A range of face to face services moved online for rural Highland and Moray. We developed professional learning courses, keeping content as interactive as possible. Despite a few scary moments early on, we got the hang of things, delivering 19 events to 369 practitioners and members locally and 24 events to 530 practitioners for clients in other local authorities April 20 – March 21.

Family Services adapted toddler group visits to interactive online stories, song time, baby massage and PEEP sessions with even the youngest viewers interacting with their online play mates. Videos of song, story and play ideas and down loads helped parents to play at home.

Shorter sessions increased capacity, availability and choice. Previous barriers of transport, travel cost/time and childcare enabled more people to access services. Participant feedback includes ‘feel connected’, ‘motivated,  ‘involved’, ‘reassured,’ ‘very grateful’, ‘inspired.’

Next steps…. Offering both face to face and online service delivery.


Down’s Syndrome Scotland

Grab A Cuppa with the Fathers Network

Our Grab a Cuppa sessions offer informal opportunities for parents and carers to connect with each other and us via Zoom. Prior to the pandemic we held workshops for parents and carers, however, parents from around Scotland have found that our online sessions fit better into family life.

We held a session for Dads and were joined by Chris Miezitis from Fathers Network Scotland. Chris shared information and practical skills on how to support children with additional needs. The session was also a great opportunity for the Dads to talk to other fathers and share their experiences.

One father who attended the session said: “When the online chat sessions were established, I was more than happy to turn up, chat and, when I could offer help and advice. I’ve enjoyed sharing early year experiences with new parents and it’s lovely to see the new babies and toddlers of the new generation.”

Dyslexia Scotland

Getting creative with young people with dyslexia

Over the last few months, Dyslexia Scotland has been holding a series of online workshops for 10 – 14 year olds with dyslexia to replace traditional face to face events.

Teaming up with Creative Briefs, the workshops encourage young people to use their imagination and share their design skills with others taking part.  Looking at the design processes of well known engineers and architects shows that no idea is out of bounds and that they can be adapted in amazing ways.

Whilst the focus is not on dyslexia, the young people do get the chance to ask questions to adults with dyslexia and have often shared their own experiences with the group.  More events are planned for later in the year.

Contact for more information.


ENABLE Scotland

ACE Connects people who have a learning disability

Like so many community supports, ENABLE Scotland’s ACE Groups – Active Communities of Empowered people who have a learning disability – had to suspend face-to-face meetings last March due to the pandemic. People who have a learning disability are at high risk of loneliness, isolation and social exclusion, so the charity was determined to maintain the support of ACE when members needed it more than ever.

Designed by its members, ENABLE Scotland launched ACE Connect – an innovative online support community that provides a safe, digital space to keep active and informed, and to connect with friends and the charity’s support team. The service includes a mix of information sessions, self care and fun activities, with a dedicated support line to ensure everyone feels safe and supported. ACE Member Heather said:

“I struggled during lockdown, but ACE Connect helped me through my bad days. The helpline has helped me cope with my anxiety.”

Find out more about ACE Connect here:

Glasgow ESOL Forum

Getting digital devices to people who need them most

When we first moved our ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) classes online, we quickly realised, we were unable to reach many of our learners who previously benefitted from our drop-in classes.  This was due to lack of access to digital devices, data and skills required to attend Zoom classes. With our new digital development worker, we have distributed over 70 packages to people who really need it, including asylum seekers rehoused in hotels. We have offered socially-distanced support and lots of help over Whatsapp calls. As one learner comments ‘My internet makes me explore the world without leaving my room. With my internet I can search and learn till tomorrow 😀.’

Online classes have given some learners the chance to join a class. Learners with children, where there was no available creche, and housebound learners, who were learning individually, are now enjoying learning in a group.

LEAD Scotland

Widening Access to Cyber Security Messages

Technology has been a great enabler in many ways during the pandemic, but with the increasing risk from cyber attacks it is absolutely essential that everyone understands how to stay safe and secure online and uses trusted sources such as the National Cyber Security Centre.

We have been doing a power of work this year to make cyber security messages more accessible leading to positive behaviour change.  Learners from four projects co-produced an easy read guide, we produced a series of  blog posts, we have a new webpage with alternative formats in progress. We have delivered online accessibility and security training courses to nearly 1,000 people online during the pandemic where previously we might have expected to reach about 200 people through face to face sessions.


Online training and wellbeing sessions for teachers and school-based staff

Place2Be’s Mental Health Champions – Foundation programme, which launched in August 2020, builds on Place2Be’s extensive experience of working in partnership with schools since 1994.

Due to COVID-19 the programme switched to online delivery which made it more accessible, and as a result, over 4500 teachers and school staff across every local authority in Scotland have now taken part in online training on children’s mental health.

The programme helps education professionals to build skills and capacity for supporting positive mental health in schools and communities, as well as their own mental health and wellbeing.  It has now been expanded to reach youth workers throughout Scotland.

‘‘I now feel more confident supporting children’s mental health within my school and in the wider school community’’. Teaching Assistant, West Lothian.

Place2Be are also supporting Scotland’s Education Workforce through Place2Think. Kindly funded by the Scottish Government, the programme supports teachers across their own learning journey from ITE to Head, and through their practice via a series of small online group sessions on wellbeing. As part of the programme, a series of online webinars are also being offered to all school staff across Scotland.


Play Scotland

Inspiring Inclusive Play Design

“Accessible and inclusive environments and facilities must be made available to children with disabilities to enable them to enjoy their rights under article 31…as equal and active participants in play, recreation and cultural and artistic life.”

General Comment 17, UNCRC

The Inspiring Inclusive Play Design was published by Play Scotland at the start of the COVID 19 pandemic. It provides a summary of the principles and standards of inclusion relating to play. All children have the same need to play and we need to ensure that all children and young people, particularly those who are disabled, have opportunities to play that are rich in play value – as close to their home as possible. The principles of inclusion and commitment to accessibility were at the heart of the projects delivered by Play Scotland with ScrapAntics in Dundee throughout the pandemic and are reflected in the evaluations.

Positive Help

Inclusion through Conversation and Connection

“You no longer can volunteer.” That was the most difficult thing we said to a volunteer living with HIV and other health conditions last year. With our incredibly diverse range of service users and volunteers, inclusion is a fundamental part of Positive Help and therefore this was not an option for us for long. We pivoted our support swiftly from face-to-face to over the phone enabling every volunteer to continue who wished to do so.

We used telephone calls as a way to include our service users and volunteers who, without easy access to digital technology, have been excluded from the majority of responses to the pandemic that are fully virtual. These phone conversations have helped volunteers and service users to remain connected to each other and their community at large.

As an organisation, we are committed to the uplifting of a wide range of voices at every level of decision-making and have carried out telephone sessions with service users to help with service design. We are now actively seeking more people of colour as volunteers, to accurately reflect the growing number of families of colour that we support.

Scottish Child Law Centre

Training Opportunities

The Centre transitioned well to providing training online and continues doing so. Remote training means we can welcome delegates from further afield and share our expert knowledge with people from hard-to-reach areas, who would not have been able to attend out training previously. Our recent training was attended by third sector and public sector representatives from Shetland, Aberdeen, Lochaber and Caithness & Sutherland.

The Centre has scheduled further training events in the months of June, July and August – Legal Foundations of Child Protection, Consent, Capacity and Confidentiality and Parental Responsibilities and Rights.

The Centre is also very proud to have adapted to delivering our bespoke group training online. We have been pleased to provide this training to public bodies and third sector organisations.

To find out more about these events and/or book a place please visit our website

Alternatively, please contact our staff at or on 0131 668 4400 to discuss your needs and our expertise further.

Scottish Mentoring Network

Going online has helped SMN be a truly National Intermediary for Mentoring in Scotland

At SMN, we have found that the shift to online service delivery has helped us to reflect the fact that we are a National charity, with a duty to promote and support mentoring projects across the whole of Scotland.

Our Mentor Knowledge and Understanding Course was our first online training course to be developed.  This training allowed us to work with a whole host of people: from members of the public who want to know more about mentoring skills, to mentoring co-ordinators who used our training as a key component of their project’s mentor training.  It can be accessed anytime, anywhere, at your own pace.  From mentors in housing associations, to schools, to social enterprises, football projects to children’s charities.  Projects in Orkney, Moray, Stirling, Glasgow, Fort William, Edinburgh and Elgin have benefitted from our move online.

If you would like to learn more about our training courses for mentors and development support for mentoring projects then please email


Scottish Women’s Aid

How young women understand domestic abuse: a collaborative research project between Scottish Women’s Aid & the Young Women’s Movement

Scottish Women’s Aid (SWA) and the Young Women’s Movement (YWCA Scotland) have partnered up to hear directly from young women and girls (ages 12 to 25) about their understanding of what healthy relationships are, and where to find support if they find themselves in an unhealthy relationship.

Recent UK-wide research by On Our Radar shows that young people do not relate to the term “domestic abuse”, and that they do not have a clear understanding of what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour within intimate relationships. This research also shows that young women are disproportionately affected by domestic abuse. We have recruited a diverse advisory panel of 10 young women aged 16 to 25, to lead our research project, to help us improve reach and support of services to young women across Scotland.

The panel’s initial piece of work, a survey, will be coming out soon – follow the Young Women’s Movement  (@youngwomenscot) or SWA (@scotwomensaid) on social media to stay up to date!


Sense Scotland

Inclusive Play

Throughout the pandemic Sense Scotland Early Years team have been regularly posting videos for families on Inclusive play. Sharing ideas of how families can adapt play to suit the needs of any child with a range of support needs arising from a physical disability, learning disability or a dual sensory impairment therefore making play accessible to all children.

We are also in the early stages of devising training on ‘The importance of Play’ and ‘Communication through play’ which we hope to deliver internally and externally to other organisations highlighting the need for inclusive play for all children.

Please find attached one of our recent videos:


Starcatchers ‘Where We Are’ project sets the scene for a season of outdoors creative activity across Fife

Set in the stunning Lochore Meadows in Fife, Starcatchers’ team of artists and artistic trainees met for the first time at the start of June to plan Where We Are; a project which will see creative activity embedded in hard to reach communities across Fife, and enrich direct engagement with babies and their young parents. Building on an existing relationship with Fife Gingerbread, Starcatchers’ team of artists will travel to Glenrothes, Dunfermline, Lochgelly/Cowdenbeath and Leven over 8 months, with inspiring arts activity designed so the voices of the participants – both babies and young parents – are reflected and heard.

Rhona Matheson, Starcatchers’ Chief Executive said:

“Where We Are is a fantastic new initiative that we hope will bring some joy, magic and creativity to children and young people. Central to Starcatchers’ Where We Are strand is the opportunity to engage artists to work directly in communities with teen parents and their babies who have found the impact of the pandemic particularly challenging, and to ensure access to artistic and creative experiences for the youngest children.”

Where We Are is a new creative initiative by Starcatchers, Imaginate and Lyra, co-designed with children and young people across Edinburgh, Glasgow and Fife. The programme is supported by the Creative Scotland Youth Arts Targeted Fund.

Venture Trust

It’s time to tackle data poverty for a more equal Scotland

Data poverty can result in isolation, deterioration in mental health and wellbeing and can exacerbate long-term unemployment as people are unable to connect to others and access services or opportunities.

When Venture Trust started its Be Connected service during lockdown, we discovered many of the people we had worked with in person suffered from a lack of access to Wi-Fi, data, and hardware to engage effectively with digital channels offering support.

In response and in partnership with other organisations we secured (more than 200) data grants and much needed hardware for those who were left dangerously isolated and cut-off from essential support. Participants were trained to use the hardware and as an organisation advocated for more funding to be available to tackle data poverty. This ensured we could continue to deliver vital support to those who needed it most through our digital hubs (Active Living, Wellbeing hub and Employability Hub).  Now, even as we return to in-person and outdoor-based service delivery, digital support will remain a key component of our work.   Online access to vital support services, training and education opportunities, employment opportunities and social connections can lead to greater equality. But as a society we need to make sure everyone knows how to get and can stay online.

Find out more about the work we are doing at Venture Trust.


CYPFEIF & ALEC Fund Quarterly Newsletters

March 2021

News from the Scottish Government

Scottish Government update

Incorporation of UNCRC into Scots law

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill (the Bill) passed its final stage in the Scottish Parliament on 16 March 2021. The soon to be Act will commence six months after Royal Assent, so is expected to be in force from October 2021.

The Bill will make it unlawful for public authorities, including Scottish Ministers, to act incompatibly with the incorporated UNCRC requirements, giving children, young people and their representatives the power to go to court to enforce their rights. The Bill will also apply to providers (such as private or third-sector bodies) acting under contracts or other arrangements (such as grants) with Ministers and public authorities.

The Bill will touch on all our work and has the potential to radically change the way we make policy and decisions and deliver services which affect the lives of children and young people across Scotland. Children will have the right to be heard and involved in decisions that affect their lives and all public authorities will be under a legal duty to comply with this and the other UNCRC requirements.
A £2.1 million programme over three years will help public authorities implement the legislation. The programme has three strands as set out in the financial memorandum. These are SG leadership, empowering children to claim their rights and embedding children’s rights in public services. Under each strand are a number of activities which will help achieve our aim of children and young people consistently experiencing public authorities upholding their rights.

To ensure that public services are appropriately supported in delivering the step-change in respecting, protecting and fulfilling children’s rights that this Bill seeks to deliver, the Scottish Government is committed to developing guidance in partnership with public authorities. We intend to publish initial guidance to help raise awareness of the Bill and support public authorities and other duty bearers to make immediate preparations for commencement. We will also deliver fuller guidance around the time of commencement to support public authorities to take a child’s rights approach more broadly. We will also publish guidance in relation to the reporting duty placed on listed authorities under section 15 of the Bill, ahead of the end of the first reporting period in March 2023. In addition to guidance, as part of our Implementation Plan, we are considering other methods to support public authorities, for instance through workforce development and capacity building, and opportunities to support them with regards improvement and innovative practice in relation to children’s rights. We remain committed to maintaining the collaborative partnership which has been developed throughout the Bill’s progress into commencement and wider implementation.

Through the continuous consideration and prioritisation of children’s rights in law, policy and practice right across government and public life in Scotland, we will deliver a fundamental shift in culture that will transform the life chances and outcomes for children and young people and ensure that Scotland can truly be the best place in the world to grow up.

For more information, please get in touch with the UNCRC Incorporation Team or click here for an overview of the bill.

Guest blog on wellbeing by Cerebral Palsy Scotland

Focusing on what we CAN do

Guest blog by Virginia Anderson, Head of Fundraising & Communications, Cerebral Palsy Scotland  

In a year like no other we’ve experienced and beyond the initial shock of living through a frightening situation, stamina and resilience have become challenges as we begin to imagine an end to lockdown. What those mean is different for every single person. For some it will be juggling the demands of home learning and working, for others it is about coping with declining mental health or physical changes, whereas as others struggle with the isolation of living alone. It’s fair to say we are all weary.

Corra’s call for input asked about wellbeing on three fronts: staff and colleagues, people we support and individually. Across these three situations, there’s one common thing we can do. We can focus on what we CAN do or achieve, or – to use sector speak – ‘Outcomes’.

Wellbeing of staff/colleagues

For a number of years Cerebral Palsy Scotland has worked hard to ensure that work ‘works’ for all. We encourage people to work in a way that supports their families and lives, and have flexibility about what this means for each person. This has been powerful grounding for thriving through the pandemic. We focus on what we are trying to achieve both individually and as an organisation. What matters less is whether it happens during fixed hours. If your child needs support to access school from home while you’re supposed to be planning the week’s social media, the post scheduling can wait. If you write it a 7am instead of 3pm, it makes not one bit of difference. It matters that it gets done, but we trust our colleagues on the ‘how’. Sensible use of flexible furlough has helped balance organisational and colleagues’ needs during this difficult time.

Wellbeing of the people you support
We’ve been undertaking regular surveys throughout the pandemic and life has changed significantly for people with Cerebral Palsy (CP) and their families.
  • 76% of people reported that the COVID-19 situation had put more pressure on family life
  • 71% have less support than they did before the crisis began
  • 55% reported that their physical health had declined
  • 53% reported that their mental health had declined

We shifted our services to a virtual first model very, very quickly to ensure we could focus on being there for all who need us. Although we can see people in person, this virtual first, flexible approach has meant we can respond quickly. Needs have varied widely from supporting the parents of a baby born during lockdown and diagnosed with CP with little access to the usual sources of either personal or professional support to cope with a life changing diagnosis, to responding to a person whose mobility has declined rapidly whilst stuck at home to support them to develop at home exercises and rebuild their confidence. Providing expert information for a whole community who were labelled as ‘vulnerable’, Zoom coffees, psychological input or simply being able to check in supports all of this too as well as contributing to the national strategy for people with Neurological Conditions.

Wellbeing of yourself

Plan things outside of work: Fresh air, dog walking, running, live online yoga, new things to cook, audio books for when I’ve had enough of screens. My dog, local friends and my veg box have been my wellbeing saviours!

Photo credit: Emma Dau

Guest blog on wellbeing by The Children's Parliament

A wealth of resources to support children’s wellbeing

Guest blog by Jessica Smith, Programme Manager Year of Childhood, The Children’s Parliament  

Our work over the last year has shown us that there has been a decline in children’s mental health and wellbeing. The experience of the pandemic has exacerbated or exposed what challenges were already there within children’s lives. The impending incorporation of the UNCRC into Scots’ Law can be viewed as a powerful message to children – it is a promise that we care about them and will deliver on our commitment to ensure every child grows up loved, safe and respected.

To support children’s wellbeing during lockdown and beyond, we have pulled together some of the fantastic resources our Members of Children’s Parliament have developed with us:

How can we support children’s wellbeing at home?

We know through our Corona Times Journal, and “How Are You Doing?” Report that wellbeing is really important to our children. Since March 2020, children have been telling us about the impact that lockdown and coronavirus have had on their wellbeing.

“Before the lockdown, I was happier. Now I’m more lonely, feeling down. I’m missing my friends now. I think this is true for a lot of people.” Creative Songstress, age 14.

Designed with and for children, Adventures in Wellbeing is a resource full of ideas and activities to support children’s wellbeing in the days, weeks and months after they return to school.

Mind Yer Time has been created by children and young people from the Children’s Parliament and the Scottish Youth Parliament, to support everyone who loves social media and screen time. It shares positive tips, stories and information for children and young people, to help them use their screen time in ways that are good for their health and wellbeing.

How can we support children’s wellbeing at school?

Feelings Inspectors at Bramble Brae Primary School in Aberdeen designed some wonderful resources through their Investigation into Mental Health, where they looked to support children and adults in the school community to reflect on mental health, behaviour and relationships through a positive lens.

They have created activity sheets on Love, Bullying and how to create a Self-Care Bear. If you’re an adult looking for some top-tips, look no further than their Adults Worksheet!

Back to School is a resource for educators working with children in P5 to S2. All our lives have undergone some degree of turmoil in recent months. While we must remember how resilient children can be, we must also remember that trauma is rooted in disempowerment and disconnection (Herman, 1992) and that both have been significant features of the last year. Back to School has been designed to support conversations between children, and between children and adults in school, giving time and space to pause, reflect and then recover through a rights-based approach.

How do we continue to champion children’s mental health?

Manor Park Primary have some wonderful examples in the policies they have developed as a school community. Their Relationships Policy highlights some of the key ways adults can support children to have a happy, healthy and safe environment in school. Their Learning and Teaching Policy asks for “shout-free classrooms” and emphasises the knowledge that all children learn at different paces and in different ways.

In this Year of Childhood, Children’s Parliament want to demonstrate and amplify good practice, and highlight what a children’s human rights approach looks like and feels like in practice. Get in touch with us via Twitter, Facebook or email to share your thoughts!

Photo credit: Children’s Parliament – This poster was created by Members of Children’s Parliament during lockdown. They wanted to share these messages with you, and with any child who might be feeling lonely.

News from across the Fund Mar

Action for Children – Roots of Empathy Service

Giving children the freedom to share their feelings, experiences and hopes for the future

The Roots of Empathy Recovery Programme is supporting children’s mental health, wellbeing and their adjustment back into the regular routine of school.  One of our class teachers in Merrylee Primary School, Glasgow commented on her experience:

“The programme provided the children with a safe environment where they felt they could be open and share their feelings which has been so important for them during this time. I believe that the philosophy of ‘no wrong answers’ allowed many children in the class to feel comfortable talking in front of others and to feel comfortable in sharing personal thoughts and feelings. I also observed children in my class be open about things they had experienced during the pandemic through the opportunities to create artwork.”

Care and Learning Alliance

The CALA500 ‘long distance’ route

A Highland winter can be a tough time to be active outdoors but during a pandemic, it’s even harder. So TeamCALA decided to help motivate colleagues during this dark and snowy time.  Billed as ‘CALA500’, it encouraged staff to join in and log how many steps they did in a day/week and share on our online workplace. Straight away staff started sharing photos of beautiful scenes, with their dogs and children in the snow, local wildlife and even a Tik Tok or two with staff walking, running, sledging and dancing their way to 500 miles! The photos and stories were fun, interesting and inspiring with everyone commenting and saying how well everyone was doing. In the end, an amazing 1955 miles in just four weeks was covered but the support and camaraderie was so much more. We will be looking for the next ‘challenge’ to keep people feeling motivated and part of TeamCALA.


The importance of staff wellbeing

The pandemic and its associated stresses have accentuated the importance of staff wellbeing. Circle have introduced an Employee Assistance Programme through Health Assured. Their 24/7 confidential support allows staff to tap into a huge range of health and wellbeing resources. Our Staff Development Day in December included a presentation from Health Assured, introducing their services, and we are aware of staff already beginning to take advantage of these services.

We understand that working from home brings many challenges and we give staff permission to work flexibly, in order to find the right balance between work and home commitments. Managers have regular check-ins with staff to ensure that they feel supported and listened to.

We recently asked staff to complete a wellbeing survey, the results of which will allow us to evaluate our effectiveness as an employer that takes the health and wellbeing of our workforce seriously.

Down’s Syndrome Scotland

FriendZ Space & TeenZ Space – Improving wellbeing and combatting isolation

Young people and adults with Down’s syndrome have felt more isolated than ever this past year, with their regular activities cancelled and many of them shielding for several months.

Following a successful pilot project in Summer 2020 we launched FriendZ Space, a programme of online sessions for our adult members. FriendZ Space provides opportunities to chat, share and explore a specific hobby or interest and learn new ways to relax, such as laughter yoga. The sessions are a great way to bring people together to have some fun as well as sharing their experiences and talk openly about their wellbeing.

FriendZ Space has made such a positive difference for our adult members and we have received lots of positive feedback about the groups. You can find out more about FriendZ Space here.

In January we launched, the already very popular, spin off programme, TeenZ Space, specifically for 13-19 years olds. You can find out more about TeenZ Space here.

Early Years Scotland

Team EYS – Get moving!

At Early Years Scotland staff wellbeing, always a priority, is at this time more important than ever and the team are being encouraged to take an extra 20 minutes break each day to get outside and away from their screens. Staff members joined up to as Team EYS Get Moving and since the beginning of January have walked a total of 1.8 million steps between them! The first challenge was virtually walking from Gretna Green to Skye taking in some beautiful scenery on the way – the equivalent of about 600 miles. The team are now walking Europe: Coast to Coast, almost double the distance completed in January. One week in and they are nearly 25% of the way there – a fantastic achievement especially given the recent weather. Where will they head off to next? – perhaps somewhere real in the not too distant future!

Families Outside

A galaxy of stars

As for many of you, staff wellbeing has been our top priority in recent months. Sunny weather, novelty, and adrenaline kept us going for a while, but the winter months and no perceptible end in sight have flattened us completely. (Virtual) team meetings that focused on fun, promotion of a ‘wellbeing hour’ away from screens, and mindfulness sessions have all helped, but a few things seem to have hit the mark well. First was sending out thank-you notes to all staff along with a £10 Tesco voucher and packet of Magic Stars. Following school closures, we allocated 5 days (pro rata) of Special Parental Leave to parents of nursery- and school-aged children. Finally, a staff wellbeing grant from a funder encouraged staff to treat themselves to something special, so far resulting in purchases of diffusers, walking boots, massagers, arts & crafts, cookery products, flowers, and plenty of chocolate!

Fathers Network Scotland

Peer support for dads and the services which help them

The highlight of 2020/21 for the Fathers Network Scotland team has been the launch of our free DADx talks, during which we welcome experts to talk with our network of professionals who work with dads and families. Subjects we have covered include co-parenting and relationship breakdown; violence in the home; male mental health peer support; the mental health challenges of new dads; gambling and porn addiction; and the impact of the pandemic on the work of health visitors and social workers, to name just a handful. Find out about our upcoming DADx sessions here or watch past talks here. Join the network of professionals who work with dads and families in our Facebook group.

We regularly signpost dads and their families to the organisations in our network, via our website directory and social media. Since lockdown we have also used our dads’ WhatsApp group to offer a space for peer discussion, which has given us the opportunity to make sure members know about the support that is available to them.

If you know a dad who would like to join the group, then please ask them to email


Includem’s wellbeing initiatives

The health and wellbeing of our staff is hugely important to Includem with the past year being a stark reminder of how fragile our health and wellbeing can be.  It is important to us that look after each other and ourselves. This is why we have put into place two new initiatives.

Last year, to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week, we launched our internal Mental Health First Aiders. 16 volunteers from across the organisation (pictured) were trained in Mental Health First Aid, they act as the initial point of contact and reassurance for our staff. They don’t diagnose or treat people but offer a listening ear and some guidance.

We also have set up a monthly informal drop in ‘Tea & Talk’ sessions for all our staff to catch up away from work.  A chance to talk about the latest shows, news articles and more in a virtual replacement of the office chat.

John Muir Trust

Wild places and wellbeing

The John Muir Trust has long recognised that connections with wild places are vital for health and wellbeing. Despite the pandemic’s challenges, we’ve seen an amplified appreciation of simple opportunities to connect with nature, exercise, de-stress, learn and play outdoors – see our Natural Kindness Journal article (p.20) for reflections on changing relationships with nature over the last year.

Supporting wellbeing has been at the heart of recent John Muir Award activity – from participants at Venture Scotland seeking out the peace and tranquillity of local wild places, to embracing the signs of spring and sharing inspiration for remotely supporting more people to benefit from connecting with nature during challenging times.

LGBT Youth Scotland

Purple Friday beats the lockdown blues

Going into Lockdown again at the start of 2021 has been tough on LGBT Youth Scotland’s mental health and wellbeing.  We quickly realised we wouldn’t be able to celebrate our annual fundraising day Purple Friday with organisations all round Scotland in quite the same way.

The team geared up to get active and beat the lockdown blues, whilst building up our spirits and giving us something fun to focus on together.  We’re taking part in an epic virtual team challenge – the Pass the Torch Relay – pledging to complete a total distance of 2000 miles throughout February.  We’re fundraising too, to support our life-changing youth work services and have already smashed our initial £2,000 target half way through the month! We’ve motivated others with schools and other organisations joining the Pass the Torch Relay all round Scotland!

Follow us on twitter, and find out more about Purple Friday, what has motivated us or our services for young people.

Moira Anderson Foundation

Practice what you preach

Many people, including the team at the Moira Anderson Foundation (MAF), are approaching the milestone of having worked from home for a year. It’s hard to believe that’s the case, when we closed the centre in March last year we thought we’d be back within a few weeks!

Wellbeing has never been more important than during the pandemic, it has rightly been given much attention over the past few months. MAF supports children and adults affected by childhood sexual abuse. An important part of our role is supporting clients with their wellbeing, so we’re all very aware of the practical things we can do to look after ourselves. It’s more important than ever for us to ‘practice what we preach’, we need to look after ourselves first and foremost, otherwise we won’t be able to support clients to our best ability.

As a team we discuss wellbeing regularly, we’re good at checking in with each other and offering a listening ear. During the first lockdown we offered a weekly yoga session to staff, and we’ll shortly be offering taster sessions in Mindfulness, Energy Vibration, Breathing Techniques, Crystals and Ho’oponoppono (definitely a new one on me!)

Wellbeing and self-care play such an important part in maintaining good mental health, let’s all look after ourselves as well as others.

Narcolepsy UK

Wellbeing of our clients

Lockdown has created some changes in our operations including a lower than usual sign up of new volunteers.

But also a clear lowering of mental wellbeing of our client base – people who already suffer anxiety is worsened by COVID-19 which exacerbates their narcolepsy/cataplexy.

Our Volunteer Co-ordinator, funded through the CYPFEIF & ALEC Fund, has been excellent in bringing some of his volunteers together with him to host web chats with clients.  They chat, have quizzes, ‘silly’ games, and welcome newcomers to this complex neurological disorder. By welcoming newcomers in such a relaxed fashion it allows them to open up and ask questions more easily.

NSPCC Scotland

NSPCC Speak out Stay safe

We launched our second NSPCC Speak out Stay Safe virtual assembly on 23 February featuring content from our grass-roots primary school programme and relevant content related to the current situation.

Please see the assembly here.

The assembly is aimed at parents and carers which they can use as part of home learning with their children. We aim to equip, empower and support them during the current restrictions to help their children talk about their worries and concerns, whilst understanding our safeguarding messages.

Along with the film we’ve launched four key parent activity resources that are available online now. These include supporting parents to embed learning from the film and have discussions with their children and we’ll also provide top tips on having conversations with children alongside other resources and support. Schools will also be able to use the film in their classrooms.

One Parent Families Scotland

Staff wellbeing

At OPFS, our wellbeing challenges have included working at home, developing ways of supporting families remotely, increased demand for services from families with increasingly complex issues and, for centre-based services, implementing restrictions, while everyone is dealing with the impact of COVID-19.

Communication is key to keeping the organisation and teams connected, with formal and informal channels opened, regular meetings taking place remotely, all staff newsletters, checking in with staff, and the importance of staff wellbeing recognised with appropriate actions taken to issues, including supplying equipment for comfort.

Flexible working has been encouraged shifting the emphasis from hours worked to the results produced and some staff, working while home schooling, have made use of the furlough scheme.

Staff morale is bolstered by great feedback from the parents they work with.  One parent quoted:

“I’d forgotten how to smile but I am smiling now talking with you.”

This kind of feedback acknowledges the value of staff contributions to the organisation’s work, and the impact they are continuing to make in challenging circumstances.


Single parent wellbeing during COVID-19 (OPFS)

The impact of COVID-19 on families’ mental health and wellbeing has been profound. Throughout the pandemic the uncertainty of the present and the future, competing challenges and demands at home, such as home-schooling and additional drains on finances, have all had a negative impact on the capacity of parents to cope during this crisis. While stringent lockdown measures were necessary, they provided an unhealthy environment for single parent families who were often just surviving at the best of times.

Poor mental health was exacerbated by the situation. The lack of the resources to combat the detrimental effects of lockdown, such as digital and online interventions, made a difficult situation even more challenging. Accessing a sustainable income to meet financial outgoings can have a significant impact on single parents’ mental health and wellbeing.

The analytics show that Universal Credit remains their main concern. Other financial considerations resulting from, for example, having a baby or coping with sickness and/or disability, are also weighing heavily on the minds of families.

OPFS and partners must continue to listen, support, and give practical advice. Subsequently, we can enable single parents to navigate the additional financial difficulties caused by the current health and social crisis.

Further details of our work with single parents during COVID-19 can be found here.

Outside the Box

Wellbeing of families

In the Borders and Falkirk areas, Outside the Box are running virtual wellbeing activities for local families. Started during the first sunnier lockdown, (thanks to Scottish Government funding administered by Corra), we set up safe virtual spaces in the form of closed Facebook groups. We ran craft sessions, dance (belly dancing and Highland Hustle!), sound therapy and family yoga. We learned to ‘smoosh’ clay into a pot, to wiggle our hips but most of all we provided some fun and entertainment for families. It was also a way for them to connect virtually and share supportive ideas and craftwork photos. Families in rural areas felt more connected with others. We also produced resources to go with them, see here.

Now with 220 families, sharing tips for homemade soup, snow games and more…and we are organising some new activities which will be saved to a bank of videos so they can be accessed at any time.


Children’s Mental Health Week 2021

Place2Be’s Children’s Mental Health Week took place from 1-7 February 2021, raising awareness of the importance of children and young people’s mental health. This year Place2Be encouraged people to explore the different ways they can express their thoughts and feelings.

Mental Health Minister Claire Haughey, kicked off the week with a short video message on social media welcoming Children’s Mental Health Week, and Nicola Sturgeon First Minister highlighted the resources in her daily coronavirus briefing.

During the week Professor Jason Leitch spoke to pupils at Oakwood Primary School in Easterhouse, Glasgow, where Place2Be has provided mental health support for pupils, families and staff for over seven years. After hearing about Place2Be’s support at Oakwood Primary, Professor Leitch remarked:

“I wish that had existed when I was a child. In fact I wish that existed for me now, never mind when I was at school. It sounds fantastic.”

The week also gained support from Deputy First Minister John Swinney who encouraged everyone to get involved.

Through a Scottish Government funded partnership, Place2Be is delivering a range of support including online wellbeing sessions for teachers and school leaders, supporting their mental health at this exceptionally challenging time.

Play Scotland

Outdoor play supports children’s wellbeing in time of COVID-19

The pandemic has meant that children have missed out on many social opportunities and although under 12s are allowed to play outside, research shows that children have been playing out and using green spaces less during the pandemic. This is a concern as children’s wellbeing and their mental health is being negatively affected.

Play Scotland partnered with ScrapAntics to provide community play sessions in parks in areas of high deprivation in Dundee. Part of this service provides individualised support to families who are particularly anxious about being out in the community. Up to the end of the year, 32 sessions supporting over 360 children had been provided to families in Dundee and the project is hoping to continue provision until April 2021.

Many families that attended said how pleased they were to get out of the house and do activities with their children, as they did not go out otherwise.

“Play gives a sense of freedom when you have none.”

Scottish Childminding Association

Health and wellbeing support for #TeamSCMA

Throughout the pandemic, SCMA has been committed to supporting the wellbeing of our now ‘home based’ staff team and our childminder members, the majority of whom are sole workers – which can feel quite isolating and sometimes overwhelming.

In July 2020, we introduced ‘Health Assured’ for SCMA members, enabling them access to a confidential, free 24/7 counselling helpline and online portal with tools to promote emotional health and wellbeing. Previously only available to SCMA staff, we recognised its value and extended it to benefit our entire SCMA childminding community.

In addition, we commissioned two wellbeing-centred features specifically for childminders:

  • “Self-care, when there’s no time to spare” – video featuring top tips on focussing on what matters most during a busy day
  • “Relax, Restore, Unwind” – podcast to aid a good night’s sleep

Going forward, SCMA will continue to prioritise supporting both the professional and wellbeing needs of our staff and members.

Scottish Youth Parliament and SAMH

Our Minds Our Future Scotland  – young people call for a rights-based approach to community-based mental health services

The Our Minds Our Future Project in Scotland is a collaborative project between SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) and the Scottish Youth Parliament, as part of a UK-wide project which aims to influence decision makers and service providers in the design of community based mental health services for young people. In Scotland, a delivery group was established, made up of young people across the country, the majority of whom have lived experience of mental health. These young people have been the driving force for the project and recently the group launched a report detailing their recommendations as to how community-based mental health service for young people should look. These recommendations put young people’s voices at the heart of service design, and are crucial for implementing positive change.

To read the report and see how you can support the group’s work here please click here.

Venture Trust

Venture Trust continues to provide wellbeing support during tough times

Venture Trust staff are continuing to support the people we work with despite lockdown restrictions. Through digital channels we are delivering personal development and therapy, so participants create healthy routines and manage their wellbeing during a tough time.

One of the young people we have supported, Declan, credits Venture Trust with helping him safely use the outdoors to manage his mental health.

“I was genuinely just so happy out there … any time I’m feeling stressed and worked up, I know the place for me to go.”

We have also been inspired by another one of our participants, Alister, a veteran who was battling with his mental health. Through his development with Venture Trust, he now uses mindfulness and gratitude to manage his wellbeing.

“I see mindfulness as being grateful for being. Being grateful for being me, for having people around me, and I’m grateful for the group we had at Venture Trust.”


Cold War lessons for lockdown wellbeing, by Sandy Campbell, Founder

When I came back from furlough last August, I was greeted by a very different charity. Dennis Murphy, our CEO (pictured), had transformed WorkingRite’s effectiveness and morale. With skills he learned in the forces during the Cold War in the 80’s, when they regularly, without warning, trained for nuclear lockdowns in the forests of West Germany at least twice a year.

These experiences honed his uncanny ability to predict whatever Nicola then announced. His message from the start was clear: “Getting back to normal is going to take much longer than we think. We will all have ups and downs so we need to pace ourselves, starting with looking after ourselves first, because if we don’t, we can’t support our young people.”

With immediate effect, daily hours were reduced, maximum flexibility given for family needs, and on-line training to equip our staff with new lockdown skills. From being a charity of eight separate projects, we have become one national team with weekly all-staff calls and peer support across geographies in between.

And so it continues into 2021: near 100% sustained trainee engagement, creative partnership working to give all round support, increased numbers of young people joining us across all our projects. Wellbeing became our priority, because without that, employability is but a distant dream.

December 2020

News from across the Fund Dec

Updates from:

  • The Boys’ Brigade – Learning in lockdown
  • Cyrenians Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution – A digital learning exchange
  • Dyslexia Scotland – Successfully pivoting our events online
  • Dyslexia Scotland – Dyslexic young person going for gold
  • Includem – Amplifying the voices of those in entrenched poverty
  • Mellow Parenting – Doing nothing was not an option
  • Outside the Box – Learning from queer families in Glasgow
  • Peeple – Sustaining Peep training during COVID-19
  • Play Scotland – Children’s mental health, well being and learning  is supported through play
  • Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol & Drugs – A summer of learning and connecting
  • Scottish Youth Parliament – COVID-19 Education Recovery Group – Article 12 in action
  • Sense Scotland – Early Years Activity Bags


The Boys’ Brigade

Learning in lockdown

The Boys’ Brigade’s mission is to provide opportunities for children and young people to learn, grow and discover.  As with most organisations the last nine months has been an incredibly challenging period for the BB, but it is also fair to say it has been a time of considerable learning. On Monday 16 March this year, our face-to-face activities with thousands of children and young people across Scotland came to an abrupt halt. However by the end of the same week, we had launched a new digital weekly programme of activities called #BBatHOME. Weekly activity packs were produced for each of the age groups we work with from March – July and #BBatHome has clearly provided much needed fun, learning and continuity for children, young people and their families.

As an organisation we have learned that despite being smaller than we have been in the past, our impact this year has been far bigger than it ever has been.

We have learned how innovative and creative we can be, during the most trying times.

We have also learned how meaningful a family organisation like The Boys’ Brigade is to parents and carers. Just a couple of bits of feedback we have received are:

“As a family, we’ve really appreciated the efforts made by the leaders and volunteers during these uncertain times. Their commitment to weekly Zoom meetings and staying in touch with the young people has been a really positive experience for our son. I think the BB activities will feature strongly and positively in his memories of this time.” – Parent’s Feedback on #BBatHOME

“BBatHOME has done so much for this family’s mental health during Lockdown. They’ve kept us laughing together, even on tough days. I can’t thank you enough.” – Parent’s Feedback on #BBatHOME

#BBatHOME programme hub

Learning in Lockdown Full Report

Find out more about the work of The Boys’ Brigade









Cyrenians Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution

A digital learning exchange: Cyrenians SCCR’s International Conference

This year, Cyrenians Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution (SCCR) adapted to the challenges the pandemic presented by taking their annual conference online.

The International Conference; ‘Connections & Bridging the Divide’ was an all-digital festival of 11 events involving 28 speakers from 9 countries that were attended by 355 people across 15 different countries over the month of October.

Cyrenians SCCR’s Senior Network Development Manager, Diane Marr reflects; “We discovered some unique positives of going digital, we were able to cross oceans to bring people together in one shared moment in time and allow them to hear from speakers from across the globe in a learning exchange.”

After one of the events, an attendee commented that they “will remember and draw inspiration [from today] for years to come.

The Cyrenians SCCR team are currently working on releasing a report to allow the learnings from the digital conference to shape their work going forward.

Audio recordings of the International Conference events available here:


Dyslexia Scotland

Successfully pivoting our events online

The Events Team, led by conference organiser Helen Fleming, took on the daunting challenge of transforming our Education conference online this year. It was a tremendous success – 202 participants took part online on 3 October, on the theme of ‘The Inclusive classroom’.  Keynote speakers Neil Mackay, Charlie Martin and Yasmine and Suzette Clarke provided excellent presentations and pre-recorded workshops included: Assistive Technology and Dyslexia, Multisensory Activities for the Classroom, SQA Assessment Arrangements and Beyond, Writing Skills for Reluctant Writers and Inclusive Reading Approaches. The Events Team has also successfully transformed our Branch Meetings, Adult Networks, Dyslexia Awareness Week events and our AGM/Members Day into online events. CEO, Cathy Magee, said, “Since Lockdown, we’ve had to think outside the box to pivot our events online. It’s been a steep learning curve, but we’ve found some real positives along the way.”

Dyslexic young person going for gold

Young artist Millie Wolfe is celebrating success in passing her Gold Arts Award, an arts leadership qualification. The qualification means a lot to Millie who previously struggled with some aspects of her learning. She said

“I felt it was a great opportunity to do a qualification outside of the normal setting of education and doing this award through Dyslexia Scotland gave me more support. For me, it’s an extra qualification, as I really struggled in school and just having that step up is massive.

I’m so happy with what I have achieved. I’m so proud of my work and new skills. I am definitely more confident with my presentation skills and my portfolio looks amazing. I have had support from Dyslexia Scotland’s Arts Award Adviser, showing me how to do things in a different way and helping me to develop and achieve my result.”


Amplifying the voices of those in entrenched poverty

At Includem we conducted participatory research with the young people and families we support. We learned that the impact of poverty on our families is even more severe than we had anticipated – and this has been exacerbated by the pandemic. Families told us they struggle to cover the basics and can’t keep connected due to the costs of internet access and electricity.

We provide vital financial injections through our Young Person’s Fund to enable young people and families to get connected and cover the bills, and we have creatively adapted our practice to continue delivering our intensive family support services.

It is clear, however, that we need wide-ranging national change to lift families out of poverty. We believe the voices of families such as those we support must be at the heart of Scotland’s economic recovery, and we are working hard to amplify them through our influencing work. Read more









Mellow Parenting

Doing nothing was not an option

Blog by Rosemary Mackenzie, CEO Mellow Parenting

This time last year, we were preparing for the Festive Period and looking forward to time off with our families. Little did we know that time off with our families would be for much, much longer…

For some families, this posed great challenges. Living in small flats, practically on top of one another, home schooling, those who worked, trying to work or struggling with furlough or being laid off. So much stress for parents, so much unknown. And we all know that the more stressful an environment the more harm, intentionally or not, is put upon parent/carer child relationships. In pregnancy, all the excitement of bringing a new little person into the world was fraught with difficulties – no partner at antenatal appointments, no partner holding hands during labour. Just a fleeting meet with the new baby until the new family was able to go home. What about those who needed extra care and support?

At Mellow, we fully believe in the importance of strong nurturing relationships. Not only between parent/carer and their children, but also between professionals who work with families, and those professionals who in turn gain support from us.   We had many early years workers, midwives, health visitors, social workers contacting us asking if they could continue their Mellow groups online, or individually. Those who know Mellow will know that it is the power of the group, the new trusting relationships that are built up in the group which makes it successful.

Would going online offer the same support? Would it help with relationships? Would it help parents understand the importance of their child’s mental health, and of course their own?

Doing nothing was definitely NOT an option……

Through working together, consulting with our retired Programme Developer and using our own inhouse skills a family of facilitated online Mellow Programmes was established. Programmes were dissected, trials between our staff and trainers attempted, research on how long online programmes should last was conducted. We trialed various online platforms, we even made up a Mellow guide to using different platforms. We wanted the training to be as interactive as possible, to help those who attended training to understand the nuances and differences between physical groups and online groups. We considered confidentiality, who was in the house, use of earphones, etc and created four pillars: Connect – Confirm – Consider and Complete.    And what about the benefits to participants – would they gain as much support as the physical groups? Would they be able to build up virtual  trusting relationships?

It all sounds easy – but it wasn’t. Many sleepless nights, many discussions. But we did it. We also selected experienced practitioners i.e. those who had delivered many physical Bumps groups, to deliver the first online Bumps Programme after attending training. We met virtually with practitioners, offering support, guidance and covered general technology issues. For example, what if parents didn’t have a tablet to join, or if their mobile didn’t have a data package or they couldn’t access wifi. One very forward thinking group secured a grant to purchase Tablets with a data package. Their IT folks configured them so that they could access all the relevant material. The mums to be who received a tablet felt respected and trusted. What a feeling for them, and all tablets were returned in great condition for the next group of parents to use. The design of a participants logbook was also considered and put in to action.  Being given a copy of a glossy covered logbook meant a lot to participants – it helped them understand what was ahead in the group, it helped them bond with their fellow participants, and it also, more importantly, acted as a memoir of their time in the group.

We now have online programmes for Mellow Bumps, Mellow Babies, Learning to Observe, Mellow Toddlers and Mellow Ready, our programme for young people aged between 13-18 focussing on their mental health and wellbeing, relationships and preconception.

Delivering online groups is cheaper for services – no venues, no catering, no travel etc. required.

It is also more inclusive for participants particularly those in rural areas who didn’t have to face inconvenient travel to a venue. Or those in high rise flats who couldn’t get out.

So – what will the future bring? We see a future of a blended approach, physical groups in urban areas, online groups in rural areas. Online groups also can be delivered in the early evening or over weekends which opens up to many more participants.

But how do we know it works? How do we know that participants benefit? We are pleased to say that the early feedback has been very positive with mums to be responding really well to the initial groups. Through post group evaluation we can see that the groups are appearing to meet a wide range of hopes for those taking part. In the coming months we hope to collect enough data to illustrate what tangible effects these groups are having on the mental health and well being for those involved.

To end, let’s hear from participants who recently attended:

“I found the group really informative and useful. It was lovely to meet other expectant mums and share our thoughts and feelings. It felt like a safe space to share our experiences & the course leaders were so lovely.”

“It’s been nice to talk to other mums and mums-to-be. I’ve enjoyed our little activities and videos, I also enjoyed writing my baby a letter that he can one day read. Thank you again for all your support.”

“I really liked it. Especially with COVID-19, it was my time to talk, an open space.”

If you wish to learn more about our online programmes, please visit our website:


Outside the Box

Learning from queer families in Glasgow

At Outside the Box we are always learning from the people and communities we work with. Over the last two years we’ve been working with our Queer Families group, an informal peer support group for LGBTQ families to meet one another and share their knowledge and experience. We learned so much from the group and this year we put out two new resources to share their learning with others. From advice for LGBTQ parents starting a family for the first time, to support for services who want to support LGBTQ families but don’t know where to start, the resources are a comprehensive source of learning about LGBTQ families and how to support them. We’ve had great feedback on the resources so far, from healthcare practitioners and LGBTQ families who have been excited to see their experiences reflected in print. We’ve been reminded how important it is to share the things you learn, and the impact it can have for many people.














Sustaining Peep training during COVID-19

As a training provider, Peeple has had to adapt in order to survive and to continue to support parents/carers and families across Scotland.  The quality of relationships and the home learning environment have never been more important for families during this crisis.

As a small team in Scotland, we have experienced a steep learning curve in the use of online platforms.  Following consultation with our key stakeholders, we now offer training both live and pre-recorded using a variety of online platforms (Zoom/Teams/Sway).

Our main concern was that the quality of learning and the ability to develop relationships may be compromised by delivering training online.  However, feedback shows that developing online relationships can be achieved.

“Online training went better than I expected.  The trainers were absolutely brilliant, they helped us to create a bond with the group and made everything easy.”

“It has given me insight in how to engage parents/carers through COVID-19.  Looking forward to this new journey with the parents, carers and children.”


Play Scotland

Children’s mental health, well being and learning  is supported through play

As a result of the coronavirus crisis children are having severe restrictions on their time to play. This is having a serious impact on their mental health and learning.  Play Scotland has developed and co-produced resources to support children to play at home, in hubs, schools, in the community, and to enable parents to support children to learn through play.

  • Home play pack – over 25,000 delivered to Parents and Hubs
  • Partnered with Save the Children to develop the Play Well pack, delivered 30,000 to P1 and P2 children across Primary schools, on-going
  • Partnered with ScrapAntics to provide play sessions in Hubs over the summer holidays and now in the community in Dundee. Part of the community project is to support parental confidence to enable families to play together outside
  • Produced Play Well Activity Cards to support parents to enable children’s playful learning, and provided resources to ensure inclusion


Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol & Drugs

A summer of learning and connecting

This year has been very different to every other we’ve experienced at Scottish Families, we had the joy of launching Connect, Communicate, Learn and Thrive #CCLT2020. We recognise that learning and community are protective factors for those who live with substance use in the family and some of the challenges this can often present. However, with lockdown, these opportunities were greatly reduced or not there at all for many families and communities. We wanted to change that by offering a range of opportunities for people to socialise, relax, learn and take time out – we know this can make all the difference when it comes to keeping well.

In total, over 30 workshop were delivered throughout the festival reaching over 150 people all across Scotland. This was an ideal opportunity for us to stay connected to our own community and to reach new families not currently known to services.





Scottish Youth Parliament

COVID-19 Education Recovery Group – Article 12 in action

I’m Liam Fowley MSYP, Vice-Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament. Recently, I was invited by the Deputy First Minister to sit on Scotland’s COVID-19 Education Recovery Group. My main responsibility? Represent the views and experiences of young people’s learning during the pandemic – so no pressure, right?

At a crucial time, the Scottish Government has given young people a seat at the table. Sitting on this group will ensure our voices are taken into account while changes are made to Scotland’s education strategy.

I firmly believe that the only way for Scotland to be the best place in the world to grow up, is for the decision-makers to take action on the views of Scotland’s young people. The UNCRC’s Article 12 is in action and is thriving in Scotland just now, but why stop here? There is always more to be done. So next time you’re not sure of something – ask a young person.


Sense Scotland

Early Years Activity Bags

During COVID-19 the families we support were amongst those who have had vital support withdrawn. The Early Years team at Sense Scotland were eager to do something positive for families mindful of the restrictions in place.

We created Activity bags for the families to explore safely. These were delivered across Scotland by the team with social distance measures followed. Below are a small selection of quotes from the families that received theses bags:

“Those bags are incredibly helpful, I’m so truly thankful for them to Sense Scotland, yourself and your team. Many thanks from me and my family.”

“My daughter loved the bags. Her favourite was the hungry caterpillar and the slime. She also enjoyed the sensory bag. The bags were great and kept her entertained for ages”.

We have also hosted virtual coffee mornings and are planning a virtual Christmas party with an activity bag to support this. We together with families we support have learned to adapt to the current climate the “new normal” and that you can still have meaningful interactions and positive support networks in place albeit virtually.

September 2020

News from across the Fund Sept

Updates from:

Action for Children
Carers Trust Scotland
Children’s Parliament
Dyslexia Scotland
Early Years Scotland
Fast Forward
Fathers Network Scotland
Girlguiding Scotland
John Muir Trust
Learning through Landscapes
LGBT Youth Scotland
Mellow Parenting
Parent Network Scotland
Positive Help
Salvesen Mindroom Centre
Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs
Scottish Out of School Care Network
Scottish Throughcare and Aftercare Forum
The Prince’s Trust
Who Cares? Scotland
Woodcraft Folk
Youth Scotland

Action for Children – Roots of Empathy

How we have adapted, changed, moved forward, and become more resilient, with empathy at the heart of all our decisions.

At Roots of Empathy (ROE), we have instructors from 22 local authorities in 102 primary schools delivering an evidence-based social and emotional learning programme helping children foster the development of empathy, increase pro-social behaviours and reduce levels of bullying and aggression.  We have babies – our “tiny teachers”- come into the classroom alongside a trained instructor to help deliver these goals.  As schools start to reopen and the children and school staff start to find their feet, we at ROE have been working in the background developing a flexible, strategic and resilient approach to meet the changing landscape we are left in due to the pandemic.  Everyone has been affected by the lockdown whether positively or negatively.  Roots of Empathy will help children cope and thrive through the transition of returning to school by nurturing empathy.  We know that quality relationships help buffer children from the stresses of life and increase a child’s resilience, sense of belonging and wellbeing and that’s what we aim to do.  Although at the moment we cannot visit schools, we have adapted models of delivery to help us reach the children that need it most, we can reach them virtually and through staff already in schools and hopefully come January 2021 we will be back in schools and our “tiny teachers” will be able to make their in person debut.

Carers Trust Scotland

Young Carers and the Impact of Covid 19.

The results of a Carers Trust Scotland survey into the impact of Coronavirus on young carers aged 12 to 17 and young adult carers aged 18 to 25 was published in July 2020. They point to a steep decline in the mental health and wellbeing of thousands of young people across Scotland who provide unpaid care at home for family members or friends. Even before the outbreak of Coronavirus, young carers and young adult carers were all too often spending significant amounts of time caring for a relative in addition to the time they needed to spend on education, work and time for themselves. Coronavirus has significantly increased those pressure. You can read more about it here:

Some young carers spoke to the BBC about the impact of lockdown and how this has affected them, you can read more here.


Children’s Parliament

What we need is a rights-based approach to recovery

Since the start of the lockdown, children have been part of a conversation with Children’s Parliament about their experiences. Our large-scale How are you doing? survey and the stories told though our Corona Times Journal evidence that children can, for the most part, cope with adversity. While acknowledging this, our work has shown a deterioration in children’s self-reported mental health over time, particularly for girls. There is a balance then in recognising that most children will bounce back with appropriate care and support, others will need more time to settle back into routines. In Scotland we are on the brink of incorporation of the UNCRC into domestic law. Our hope is that those in leadership will pause and think beyond the short-term. Planning must be informed by, and be seen to be informed by, the views, experiences, needs and rights of children.

All our work is published here:

Recovery curriculum resources for educators available here



  • Reflections on the challenge of moving counselling services online

As our counselling offices started to close in March, the introduction of the CrossReach Counselling Distance Counselling Platform had to be fast-forwarded ASAP.

Over 120 counsellors have now been signed-up and trained to deliver CrossReach Counselling  on the NHS Attend Anywhere video consultation platform, many of whom were naturally wary of using online counselling; they’d become counsellors to provide therapeutic face-to-face relationship sessions. One counsellor told me that they were only doing the training so they could finish the counselling sessions with an existing client who had agreed to meet via video. Their confidence in using the video platform was not helped when during the training the audio was not in sync and the visual quality was poor.  We agreed that they would continue with telephone consultations instead.

A few weeks later, we met again. The video and audio quality were perfect. “IT helped me set up a new laptop and broadband and I’ve tested out my Attend Anywhere account with a few colleagues and it’s working perfectly. I even started to encourage clients to give this a go!”

We both laughed. The best news I’d heard all week.


  • Finding my voice at Daisy Chain

A mum reflects on her time spent at Daisy Chain, a CrossReach early years project that uses a whole range of activities to promote attachment between parent and child.

“The room was bright and colourful. There were kids of different ages, babies and toddlers. It was so quiet in there. There was no pressure to talk to other moms, no one interrogating you as to what your life was outside of being a mom. You could go in on a low day and just focus on your baby. Staff would always ask how you are. They made it so easy to have a conversation. It’s like they knew exactly what to say. Slowly I got to know the other moms there too. Song time helped me to find a voice. Saying hello and goodbye (I still have fierce anxiety over saying goodbye in adult groups) helped me to get into the practice of talking to people. They also had moms sometimes read story books to the group. For some moms they were learning English, I remember thinking ‘Gosh, wow they are so brave!’ It was so nice to sit and listen to them read aloud.”


  • “Double Benefit” – support for mothers and their children at CrossReach Perinatal Lothian

After witnessing how children thrived in the crèche while their mums attend weekly group perinatal sessions, “Double Benefit” support will be the model for CrossReach Perinatal Lothian going forward.

Mums referred to the Perinatal service attended a weekly group session – an opportunity to support one another and develop the capacity for self-awareness and personal growth. The crèche ran at the same time, allowing mums the space to attend the group sessions.  Supported by the team of experienced staff and volunteers, children were able to explore their emotions without fear through play, have new sensory experiences, build confidence and develop secure attachments.  The staff and volunteers observed both the parent and child engaging and restoring.  One mum reflects that “there are not enough words to explain how wonderful this service is. I had amazing support from all the staff/volunteers.”

The service now wants to adopt this model in the future, having seen how powerful and effective the crèche and group running side by side can be in developing attachment confidence for both mother and baby.


Dyslexia Scotland

One dyslexic young person’s reflections on her experience of learning in lockdown

Dyslexia Scotland has facilitated Arts Awards for dyslexic young people to learn and attain during lockdown. Here’s Sienna’s take on the experience:

I am Sienna and I am nearly 9. Dyslexia means my brain works a little bit differently to others, it doesn’t mean that I am not clever. Just that I have to train my brain and work a bit harder with some things like reading and writing and being organised. School work is hard and writing gives me a sore hand and I don’t like it. I don’t like being in the bottom group but it is tricky to read. I love art, music and doing PE. I know that I am good at things, drawing, painting, climbing trees and making and decorating cakes. Lots of people have dyslexia even in my school. We just learn in a different way.

At the start of lockdown my mum found the Arts Award on Dyslexia Scotland’s site and she knows I like arts and crafts and asked if I wanted to give it a go.

I am doing what I am good at, it’s fun and I am learning new things at the same time. It was a much better thing to do for me than sat writing all the time.

I have learned art skills, I will practice more and more and keep getting better, I used the computer to log my work and I am getting good at making PowerPoints and doing a presentation to people.

I have enjoyed trying different kinds of art, learning new things and teaching others my skills. I felt really happy when the post man brought me a certificate and I was excited when family phoned me to say “well done” and tell me that I was amazing, and that they are proud of me.

Since doing Arts Award I am better on the computer and I can make PowerPoints and I have learned about artists’ lives and their work.

Arts Award is good for dyslexic learners because it makes you feel good because you can do new things that you don’t do at school more. I am proud of my work and it teaches you in a better way. It doesn’t feel like I have to do work.

If you have dyslexia I think you should give it a go, it is really fun and I am working on my bronze award and I want to keep going and try silver and gold too.  It is not just art and craft, you can do music, drama acting lots of things that you like.

“Arts Award has had such a positive impact on Sienna’s attitude to learning and her confidence is growing.” It is almost a relief that she has that realisation that not all learning will be so hard for her.” Sienna’s mum, Claire.

Arts Award is a set of unique qualifications open to anyone up to age 25, that develops creativity, leadership and communication skills through arts, cultural or media activities. Arts Award encourages independent learning – building confidence as well as transferable skills.

Dyslexia Scotland recognises that dyslexic learners can thrive when they approach learning from a position of strength and interest. We provide Arts Award as part of our Career Development Service. For more information, visit


Early Years Scotland

Supporting Families during the Pandemic

During lockdown, EYS has delivered themed activity packs to families who normally attend our sessions. This continued interaction, as well as the delivery of weekly food packages, has identified families who would benefit from additional support during this extremely difficult time. Close, trusting relationships with our Early Years Practitioners (EYPs) has enabled parents/carers to share and discuss issues, which has been invaluable when support networks are diminished due to COVID-19.  One of our practitioners, in particular has provided much needed support to a lone parent and her child who have been really struggling. The family have experienced significant loss and trauma, the effects of which have had a real impact on their child. Our experienced, skilled EYP has worked closely with the child, encouraging play and fun, while encouraging them to allow mum to interact with others. EYS has supported partnership working with other agencies (such as Home Start) who have supported mum, thus allowing EYS to focus on the child.


Fast Forward

Resilience in the face of Covid-19

At Fast Forward we’re used to boosting resilience in young people, but now we have to demonstrate organisational resilience in the face of Covid-19.

With Youth Link funding, we have scheduled training in digital youth work approaches through film-making.

We have moved key IT services to the Cloud and moved to MS Teams and SharePoint to ensure business continuity.

An independent audit, by Children in Scotland, exploring our learning from Covid-19, and of how our services align to UNCRC has been carried out, and will inform our work going forward.

We will continue to upskill our operational and strategic teams with an emphasis on evaluation methods and a comprehensive Board development programme for our newly expanded Board.

We know that young people must be at the heart of decision making, and will establish a Shadow Board of young people, to inform our services, ensuring their continued relevance and resilience.



Fathers Network Scotland

A Resilient Network Supports Dads and their Families

2020 has proved to be a year to challenge all of our mental health and now more than ever, new parents need support. When the pandemic took hold, Fathers Network Scotland remodelled our training sessions supporting perinatal health professionals to consider dads’ mental health, which we have been running via Zoom. We produced a leaflet for new dads in lockdown, which has been distributed widely to maternity units across Scotland.

The FNS Facebook group for professionals who work with dads and their families gives participants access to our DADx series of expert Zoom talks. Our regular, virtual meet-up of Directors of dads’ organisations, gives leaders the opportunity to discuss our charities’ challenges and achievements.

Our Comic Relief-funded animation project also continues via video conferencing. The dads’ group has been led by Nemo Arts to share their lived experience of fatherhood by creating storyboards, building armature characters and sets and filming scenes using a mobile app.

To offer direct support to dads while social distancing, we created our Dads’ WhatsApp group and dads’ SMS support service, to complement the help we offer via social media and our website.

All of the resources described above can be accessed here:

For more information about our training, projects or support, please contact



Girlguiding Scotland

Our response to the Coronavirus crisis

Girlguiding Scotland has continued to work alongside our dedicated volunteers to offer exceptional experiences and support for girls and young women. While you’d normally find guiding groups in community halls or exploring the great outdoors, leaders across Scotland been keeping members connected by moving their weekly meetings online, allowing girls to continue to have fun, learn new skills and keep in touch with their friends.

As an organisation we’ve supported this new way of guiding by delivering zoom training sessions – all of which sold out, as well as developing a range of new activities. In May, we launched the Guiding at Hame Challenge – a weekly online challenge with activities for children and adults, complete with badge. We also launched the brand new Tri Sports – Individual Challenge, focused on the 2020 ‘Be Well’ theme from the Girlguiding programme, encouraging girls to get active and boost their physical and mental wellbeing.


John Muir Trust

Connecting with nature during uncertain times

To help share ideas and encourage connections with nature in the fresh air in ways that are safe, we’ve collated examples from various organisations, partners, families and individuals across the UK – showcasing how working towards a John Muir Award is helping people to look after themselves and support the wellbeing of others during these stressful times. There’s a wonderful mix of connections with wild places, capturing how people have been sparking curiosity and learning, keeping active, lifting moods and nurturing wellbeing, improving relationships, and celebrating creativity and resilience:

Looking to get started with youth work outdoors? Watch back our recent webinar delivered in partnership with YouthLink Scotland for ideas and guidance:

For educators, we’ve also summarised how the Award can support restarting schools and help improve equity in education:


Leaning through Landscapes

Learning through Landscapes is delighted to announce the launch of My School, My Planet.

Funded through a Heritage Emergency Fund grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, this £275k pilot project aims to support schools during the COVID-19 crisis by re-engaging pupils with their school environment, supporting their wellbeing and encouraging a greater connection to their natural heritage through the delivery of an outdoor education programme.

The project will initially focus on improving the outcomes of children and young people from disadvantaged ethnic groups and low socioeconomic backgrounds who have the least access to their natural environment. Research shows that children from marginalised households are less likely to frequently visit the natural environment (56%) compared to children from non-marginalised households (74%)*.  The My School, My Planet pilot will support pupils in exploring key environmental issues:  ecosystems – climate change – soil degradation.  Pupils will be encouraged to connect their learning with their own cultural heritage through a series of practical activities and a bespoke set of curriculum-linked resources.


LGBT Youth Scotland

Building resilience and beating isolation with bytes!

LGBT Youth Scotland has been delivering youth work on Pride & Pixels, their digital Discord community since the beginning of lockdown. The team have been focusing on helping young people build resilience and manage isolation.

This digital space for LGBTI young people across the country to meet, chat and take part in youth groups is providing a lifeline for many, especially those living in rural communities:

“I have been able to meet so many new people from all over Scotland that I would not have met if it hadn’t been for the discord server. I’ve also been involved in the development of Pride & Pixels … to help out with improving the server & making it a better place for others to join in. I wouldn’t have really had anyone to talk to or anyone to help me through stuff had LGBT Youth’s digital work not been here.” YP, 17 yrs old


Mellow Parenting

A 2020 vision: taking Mellow online

What a year it has been so far! 2020 has thrown us all a new set of challenges, and with unexpected challenges there is a need for creative solutions.

For us at Mellow, where we design and train a range of attachment-based programmes that traditionally take the form of physical support groups, lockdown and social-distancing was clearly going to be an obstacle. A big obstacle.  Unfortunately, this obstacle also appeared at a time when everybody’s relationships and support networks were more important than ever!

Everybody’s wellbeing has been tested at points during this year, and it was absolutely crucial that we continued to reach and support the most vulnerable in society. It was for this reason that we began to adapt our programmes for online delivery.

Careful consideration took place to ensure that we preserved the core ingredients of what make Mellow Groups so powerful; from the evidence-based session content to the thorough practitioner training and support. We also had the opportunity to incorporate the new possibilities that technologies can offer us, while appreciating their limitations. Listening to the contemporary advice and research around online delivery, we began to transform our programmes from something that previously could only be delivered physically in person to something that was tailor made for a shared video-call.

At this stage we have already designed and piloted our Mellow Babies Online (for mums and dads) and our prenatal Mellow Bumps and Dads-to-be Online programmes, which have seen positive feedback from both the parents and practitioners involved.  Spurred on by these successes, we intend to continue adapting some of our further range of programmes for online delivery and perform subsequent evaluation.

This all also has significance for beyond COVID; despite all of this being born out of an unexpected necessity, these online programmes now have the potential to reach new individuals and families that perhaps would have struggled to engage with the physical groups in the past. Whether this was due to remote locations, time or financial restrictions (both for parents and services), or simply a person feeling more comfortable in their own home environment, we envisage these new Mellow Online programmes making a meaningful difference to a new scope of people. That’s really exciting.


Parent Network Scotland

Parent Network Scotland brought together a group of parents who had been receiving some support during the Covid 19 Pandemic.

Parents shared some of their experiences and feelings about how it was going into Lockdown and beginning to tentatively come out of strict lockdown. Many felt a sense of overwhelm but safety at first.  They were at home and safe as were their children so there was something about being able to look after each other and enjoy the time together. 4 parents have shared that their children’s relationships with each other had strengthened and some who had been waiting on speech therapy felt they no longer needed that support. The Wellbeing Toolkit was developed, and many parents shared about how they used the tools with their kids and had fun doing so.  Some of the feedback was “I really enjoyed spending time with the children and having fun in such dark days”.

Many shared about the how they found they were managing family life better and with the help of vouchers and some play and food supplies it made things a bit more manageable.

Coming out of strict lockdown was very scary.  After being at home safe and then having to mix with others outside was difficult and parents still feel a bit anxious. Joining other groups online gave parents a way of connecting and sharing their fears and listening to others about how to manage family life in this new normal that we still must get used to .

During the Lockdown PNS had to expand to a team of 12 to help with the demand oof the service and this has continued due to the interest of the Wellbeing Toolkit which is free to every parent in Scotland.  Please go to to sign up for our Wellbeing Toolkit or contact to register for our Parenting Matters.


Positive Help

Positive Help Continues Vital Study Buddies Sessions During Lockdown

When schools closed in March due to COVID-19, Positive Help responded swiftly to give support to families affected by HIV/HCV. Our Study Buddies mentors didn’t want their buddies to miss out. “Mystery Boxes” full of activities were sent and they connected virtually with the children, ensuring they were still engaging with their learning, but also just having a regular chat and seeing a familiar face.

Volunteer Michelle explained:

“I am still in weekly contact with David through letters and video calls. He is still doing some maths, but we are mostly focusing on talking, and I have spent some time explaining things he sees in the news. He has learned a little bit about vaccine development and the immune system, to help him put some of the things he hears in context.”

Another Study Buddies volunteer, Kasha, created some fun and educational videos to support learning at home, which you can watch on our Facebook page –

During lockdown Positive Help was busier than ever as adults struggling with their mental health and confusion of the situation required intensive support.

In-person services have now resumed, where safe to do so, for adults and children. Staff and volunteers have attended online and socially–distanced training. This was very important for everyone involved and has been very well received:

COVID-19 guidance for volunteers and service users –


Salvesen Mindroom Centre

Building Resilience for a Brighter Future for Children and Young People With Learning Difficulties

The Salvesen Mindroom Centre is a Scottish charity dedicated to supporting, informing and empowering all those living with learning difficulties. In January 2020, we were in an exciting position, having secured renewed funding and board approval to recruit new staff to help expand our service delivery to Children and Young People with learning difficulties as well as build an all new Fundraising and Marketing team. By March, recruitment was stopped, staff were on furlough and the charity faced the very real possibility of closure.

By pulling together as a team, we now find ourselves at the end of a rollercoaster few months. Our devoted staff team worked tirelessly to keep their doors open to families and young people living with learning difficulties. Today, they have built their teams back up, appointed a new CEO and are investing in a new business plan to diversify our income streams, develop new products such as our Back to School Toolkit and provide a bright and ambitious future for this resilient charity.

If you would like to know more about learning difficulties or how Salvesen Mindroom Centre can support you, visit and follow them on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date.


Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs

Take-Home Naloxone Click & Deliver Service

Due to Covid-19, there has been support from the Lord Advocate to expand the number of services able to distribute take-home naloxone kits.

We were approached by the Scottish Drugs Forum to discuss offering a take-home naloxone service via our national Helpline service. The service went live on 22 May 2020. We are now able to provide our new ‘Click & Deliver’ take-home naloxone service to anyone living in Scotland who is over the age of 16 who may witness an overdose.

For further information and to order a kit visit –

Since May, we have issued 86 kits. 31 of these are replacement kits, with 18 having been used on another person. 9 kits have been issued to people at risk of overdose, 42 to service workers and 35 to family members.

‘Thanks for allowing me to have a kit from your service. I’ve just moved in to student accommodation and last year one of my roommates took an overdose. I never want to experience that again and want to be prepared should it ever be needed. Thanks for the training session and additional information, it’s very much appreciated.’


Scottish Out of School Care Network (SOSCN)

Stories from the Frontline

In April we launched our ‘Stories From The Frontline Project’ seeking stories from out of school care services which were still open and providing critical childcare during the COVID-19 crisis. At that stage only about 16% of out of school services in Scotland were open. We are now pleased to be able to share stories from services across Scotland: Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Dumfries and Galloway, Dundee, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow, Highland, Renfrewshire and Scottish Borders.

Some of the services provided all day care for school-age children, others provided wrap-around care for educational hubs, some additionally provided care for pre-school children, and some provided much-needed specialist care for children with additional support needs.

The one thing in common is that they provided safe and stimulating play, care and learning opportunities for the children and young people.

All are stories of resilience in uncertain times.


Staf (Scottish Throughcare and Aftercare Forum)

Keeping connected online

Our participation groups for care leavers are at the heart of our work, fostering connection and supportive relationships. These have not only continued during COVID but have thrived.

As well as sending out around 90 care packages to young people involved, the participation groups have found new ways to connect online. Project Return has had sing-a-long sessions, pottery sessions, poetry and are now creating a virtual choir.

Youth Justice Voices has created a monthly newsletter for other care and justice experienced young people and Project Return has developed ‘Seeds for Change’ boxes to support wellbeing through growing plants.

One young person involved in Youth Justice Voices said:

“…if I didn’t have this then I would find it really difficult. It’s one of the most important and valuable services in my life, it’s cheesy but people like us don’t have families who are mature and capable…it’s made me realise how much I appreciate Staf and other services.”


The Prince’s Trust

The Prince’s Trust showcase the importance of young people’s mental wellbeing

Working in partnership, The Prince’s Trust and Mindset have adapted their unique Wellbeing Service in Glasgow to ensure no one is left behind as the world takes on a new landscape.

Both regularly come across young people suffering anxiety and panic attacks. For many, this presents a barrier in life if not treated effectively.

More young people will need support going forward. For some, as a result of trauma suffered during the pandemic, for others, the unprecedented disruption to education and decreased employment opportunities, will affect their mental wellbeing.

Throughout lockdown, the Wellbeing Service has ensured education and development remains top of the agenda. Not once has it closed, nor has support wavered – instead it has adapted.

Young people have reaped the benefits, with 75 per cent better able to self-manage their mental health after engaging.

Youth work can play a significant role in supporting young people to successfully transition back into education or take steps into training and employment. Investing in mental wellbeing support is critical.


Who Cares? Scotland

Who Cares? Scotland- Strengthening Our Offer During Lockdown

Without a family network to turn to for support, many Care Experienced people found themselves isolated, confused and in financial difficulty, when the pandemic began. With the support of the Scottish Government Who Cares? Scotland set up a COVID-19 Helpline for Care Experienced people of any age. We offered a friendly voice at the end of a phone, access to advice and information, and practical support when we could, reaching over 850 people in four months. We did all this whilst still offering advocacy and participation support via telephone and across digital platforms.

We ran our COVID-19 Helpline to the end of July. Part of our learning has been that the issues faced by those calling were already there – but the pandemic had shone a light on them. So, in August we launched our new, permanent Advice & Support Line.

Who Cares? Scotland has demonstrated that resilience isn’t just about getting through something difficult, it’s about learning and coming out the other side stronger.


Woodcraft Folk

Dream Big At Home with Woodcraft Folk

Lockdown brought an abrupt end to our face to face group nights. Some groups responded immediately, meeting weekly online, but the demand for our work increased as children and families were faced with isolation from friends, school and community.

In response, a fabulous team of volunteers created a brand new website. Built in less than a month, is Woodcraft Folk’s remote and virtual programme for children and young people both in our groups and beyond.

With over 5,800 visitors since its launch in May, there’s a range of activity ideas, challenges and live workshops for all ages to do at home, as well as activities designed for virtual and socially distanced sessions for groups of young people prompting feedback such as “My children love Woodcraft Folk: it’s given much needed structure, support and fun during lockdown.”

These activities encourage children and young people to continue to dream big dreams, to be active citizens, thinking globally. A sense of community and connection helps to foster resilience; “Woodcraft gave me so much – enduring friendships, love, freedom, a sense of belonging, and a safe place to talk, debate, and frame my own values. We need Woodcraft now, more than ever.”


Youth Scotland

Community-based youth work supporting young people during lockdown

The Youth Scotland Action Fund was created to enable youth groups to purchase essential items to enable them to continue working with young people throughout this period of social distancing and restrictions.

Enabled by the fund, youth groups supported young people in three key ways:

  • Adapting delivery – moving online fast
  • Removing barriers – ensuring young people can access their youth groups activities
  • Caring for wellbeing:

o             Addressing mental health needs

o             Addressing physical health needs

The fund awarded 167 grants to 131 individual youth groups totalling £80,483. These youth groups ensured that 12,019 young people were supported throughout this crisis. For many of the youth groups that applied, the funding made the difference between them being able to operate and support young people or having to close their services. Applications to this fund have reinforced our belief that community-based youth work has an essential role providing immediate support to young people and in helping to prevent further negative outcomes arising in their lives.

You can read the full report on the impact this fund made here.

March 2020

Support and Engagement Programme Jan-Mar

Making fundraising work for your organisations (3-part webinar), 25 and 27 March 2020

Led by Sue Robinson, FInstF, and Pam Shaw, MInstF, our series of three fundraising webinars explored the topics listed below.

Click on the link to access the recording of each 60 minute session. (Note we apologise for the sound quality during the first 15 minutes of ‘Making a great grant application’. It is definitely worth sticking with and listening closely!):

  1. Making a great grant application
  2. Getting your Board on board and Engaging funders
  3. Turning your business strategy into a funding plan and Preparing for success

We’re delighted to also make available the slides, plus a set of useful links; a funding plan template and a ‘recipe for success’ guide (Scotland’s Third Sector Governance Forum, 2019), in the resources section of our website.

The webinars provided a great insight into a range of key areas to explore, including a number of practical tips and tools. There were also excellent Q&A sessions on each webinar, thank you for your involvement!

Making fabulous films on a zero budget, 10 March

Led by Rosie McCulloch of Third Sector Lab, the first webinar covered the basics of making a short film with minimal resources. It covered:

  • Examples of charities that are using video in different styles
  • Simple kit and online tools for great films
  • Interview skills
  • Nuts and bolts of making your first film

Part 1 – webinar recording

Corporate partnerships and what that could mean for your organisation- Network and learning exchange, 6 February 2020

Led by Barry Fisher (Director Scotland) and Alex Hay (Head of Partnerships Corporate Partnerships) the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DoE), this very busy networking session provided insights and vibrant conversations. Using DoE’s experiences, the presentation examined:

  • Understanding brand alignment with Corporates
  • Risks and Challenges
  • Building Relationships
  • Delivering activity
  • Evaluation

Alex was happy to share his team’s “New Business ‘Steps to Success’ – “We reviewed all the new business pitches we had won and lost over a 12-18-month period. We discovered several key ingredients that needed to be in place for a lead to convert into a new supporter.

We consolidated these into our ‘Steps to Success’. Now, when we look at our new business pipeline, we score each lead against these steps. When a lead is ‘stuck’ we refer to the Steps to get it moving again.

From a management perspective, it helps us be honest about how likely it is that lead will come in.”

Materials from the session can be found here:

News from across the Fund Jan-Mar


  • Clan Childlaw
  • Comann nam Pàrant
  • Fathers Network Scotland
  • John Muir Trust
  • Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE)
  • Salvesen Mindroom Centre
  • Sense Scotland
  • Scottish Out of School Care Network (SOSCN) and Care and Learning Alliance (CALA)
  • Stop it Now! Scotland
  • Sleep Scotland
  • Scottish Mentoring Network
  • Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights)


Clan Childlaw

Child Law Network and Street Legal

Clan Childlaw is a unique legal and advocacy service for children and young people and we try to ensure that the law works better for children and young people through our services.

We recently launched our Child Law Network, a free service to provide updates and analysis to those with an interest in Scottish child law. We send members the following:

·         Notification and summaries of child law cases

·         Legislative updates

·         Links to the latest resources, commentary & analysis

·         Updates on Clan Childlaw’s case work, projects, policy work, events and training

At the time of writing almost 300 legal practitioners, advocacy workers, academics and others in the sector are making use of this service. If you wish to sign up, please email

We are pleased to announce that our Street Legal Project is now ready to receive referrals. This is a new partnership between Clan and Shelter Scotland that is aimed at providing free legal representation and information to young people aged 16-25 or families with children up to the age of 18 at risk of homelessness in Edinburgh. During our pilot that ran for three years and assisted solely young people, we noticed the success of making legal representation more accessible to clients who were already engaging in frontline services and we are excited to be able to offer this service to families. We will also be providing housing law training to professionals, through online courses and solicitor-led workshops. If you would like any further information on Street Legal, please contact Parisa Shirazi on

We are now in the second year of running our Care Leavers’ Law Service, which provides legal advice and representation to young people with experience of being in care to ensure that care-leavers are able to realise their rights and challenge decisions which fail to meet legal duties towards them. This service also delivers training to practitioners and professionals on care leavers’ rights and works on a strategic level to improve the care system locally and nationally for young people. If you wish to make a referral or receive training on care leavers’ rights, please email


Comann nam Pàrant

Comann nam Pàrant ‘s Gaelic Early Year’s Group lead the way for first new local authority to offer Gaelic Medium Education in 21 Years.

In August 2020 North Ayrshire Gaelic Baby & Toddler (NAGB&T) group will see some of their little scholars take their first steps towards Gaelic Medium Education (GME).

With the help of the CYPFEIF & ALEC Fund and with support and guidance from Bòrd na Gàidhlig and North Ayrshire Council, volunteer parents and carers started this group in August 2017. The group meet three times weekly, term time in the The Barony Centre in West KIlbride. At present 20 families are registered to the group. They have also produced a standard set of learning resources to support families to continue their learning of Gaelic in their homes. This comes in the form of a set of useful links, learning resources, access to Gaelic Bookbug materials, flashcards and other self-produced take away learning sheets to reinforce basic language topics such as colours, shapes, numbers etc so that they and their little ones can start to use basic Gaelic.

NAGB&T group has enabled parents to engage with their local community and has provided an opportunity for families within North Ayrshire to benefit from learning a new language.  Any family within North Ayrshire with an interest in Gaelic is welcome to attend the group, no prior knowledge of Gaelic is required.

Since the group opened the families involved have worked extremely hard campaigning for Gaelic primary school provision, growing the interest in GME in their area. They are delighted that their efforts have been successful and that a class is due to start in August 2020.

North Ayrshire Council, as the first new local authority to offer GME in 21 years, will see the number of local authorities making provision increase to 15. The parental request in North Ayrshire is the first successful application for GME under the Education Act (Scotland) 2016 and Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s Statutory Guidance on Education. North Ayrshire’s GME primary class will be located within Whitehurst Park Primary School in Kilwinning. The group is one of 36 Gaelic early years groups from across Scotland who have been supported by the CYPFEIF & ALEC fund in 2019/20.


Fathers Network Scotland

Working Together to Support Dads’ Mental Health

Fathers Network Scotland welcomed more than 60 attendees to its recent AGM, which focused on the mental health challenges faced by new parents and the vital support available to them.

This area is often looked upon as a purely clinical issue, but it has a profound social and family impact too. It is often third sector organisations rather than the NHS that first come into contact with a parent who needs support. Around 10% of fathers develop mental health problems during the perinatal period and that this can in turn affect the mother and infant.

Speaking at the AGM was Ross Duns, a participant in Fathers Network Scotland’s ‘How Are You Dad?’ training. Ross is an engineer at Hitachi and a mental health first aider in his workplace. He spoke honestly about his experience of being a new dad with postnatal depression and how the training has enhanced his ability to support his colleagues’ mental health. You can hear him speak here:

Dr Roch Cantwell, Lead Clinician for the Perinatal Mental Health Managed Clinical Network delivered the keynote speech at the AGM. Attendees heard how the network recognises that third sector and peer support is a critical part of the pathway, along with people with lived experience who are setting up self-help groups across Scotland. Michelle Guthrie, Health Improvement Senior at NHSGGC, spoke to the AGM’s attendees about the importance of collaborative working when it comes to perinatal mental health through her involvement in the Healthy Minds Network. Sixty partners from the NHS and third sector share resources, training, best practice and research, translating the national agenda into local, meaningful actions.

Fathers Network Scotland is keen to hear from fund partners if they would like to talk about father inclusion. Please email

You can watch video highlights from the AGM speakers here:


John Muir Trust

Youth social action for nature

The John Muir Trust has pledged to inspire 20,000 young people across Scotland to get involved in social action during 2020 by connecting with, enjoying and caring for wild places through its John Muir Award, as part of the recently launched #iwill4nature campaign.

The John Muir Trust has pledged to inspire 20,000 young people across Scotland to get involved in social action during 2020 by connecting with, enjoying and caring for wild places through its John Muir Award as part of the recently launched #iwill4nature campaign. Launched in November 2019 by YouthLink Scotland, #iwill4nature is set to increase opportunities for young people to act on behalf of our natural environment, and encourage commitment from organisations to embed youth social action into their work and long-term strategies. Read more about the Trust’s pledge here:

2020 is Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters. The Trust has collaborated with organisations including Field Studies Council Scotland, Scottish Seabird Centre, Glasgow Science Centre, Historic Environment Scotland and Cairngorms National Park, to create a free downloadable ‘get involved’ guide sharing ideas, inspiration and initiatives to help people and organisations make more connections with coasts and waters during the year. Dive in!

Following the Trust signing a new five-year Memorandum of Understanding with Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn (Galson Estate Trust) last autumn, the community land trust has been supporting P7 pupils from four schools to get outdoors together as part of a transition project before they start secondary school in Stornoway next autumn. Working together towards their John Muir Awards has been creating opportunities for hands-on peer learning experiences – such as the creation of a new fishing platform:

You can see what other Award participants across Scotland are doing to take action for wild places via #JohnMuirAward


Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE)

ALLIANCE revised GIRFEC materials now published

Information on revised resources to help children, young people and parents get to know about Getting It Right For Every Child.

The ALLIANCE Getting to know GIRFEC team have co-produced revised GIRFEC resources to take account of the Scottish Government announcement that, while GIRFEC remains the key approach to supporting children in Scotland, the Scottish Government no longer intends to introduce the Named Person or the Child’s Plans aspects of GIRFEC through legislation but that these aspects will continue to be supported through strong policy and guidance.

Our new plain English and easy read resources are freely available on the Getting it right for Every Child – Resources section of our website.

These resources take a rights-based approach and set out what children, young people and their parents should expect. They are informative for children, young people, families and practitioners alike.

If your organisation would like to discuss these materials or to arrange free GIRFEC training, please contact us at or 0141 404 0231.


Salvesen Mindroom Centre

Building Effective Relationships

The last quarter of 2019 was a busy period for Salvesen Mindroom Centre, we delivered our third “Train the Trainer” workshop to participants from a range of backgrounds.  Feedback from the workshop was again overwhelmingly positive, including “I have a greater understanding as a result of viewing the films (again) today and the discussions we have had. As a result, I will be more aware of the conditions and the way they may present, and how to support, advise, encourage and empower our service users”.

Places are now open for our next Train the Trainer workshop in April, to book your place, just get in touch.

A further highlight in the last quarter was the production of our new resource, Building Effective Relationships which aims to help young people, families and teachers work together so children with learning difficulties can thrive at school.  Our resource was endorsed by the General Teaching Council for Scotland and was distributed to almost 69,000 registered teachers in Scotland.

We are looking forward to a busy 2020!


Sense Scotland

New film highlights play at home and parenting support.

Families talk about the impact the early years support has had on their lives.

It’s not just the tea that our Early Years team are good at providing – their programme of events helps families with children with additional support needs access advice, support, activities and friendship to help the whole family thrive.

Last year, at any one time, Sense Scotland provided support to 200 people across Scotland through early years and family support projects. One key part of that is our Early Years Programme, funded by the Scottish Government.

As many as 50 percent of the families engaged with the Sense Scotland Early Years Programme haven’t previously been in touch with others for support, so for the communities in which it operates, it has become a real lifeline. Our ambition is to work with partners and funders to make it a truly nationwide family network and when you watch our short film [], you’ll see why.

Mum Gillian remembers taking her daughter to one of the programme’s ‘Stay and Play’ sessions for the first time. She explains: “We were so surprised because Olivia absolutely loved having the music session, she really came alive during it. She was communicating through music – the first time we’d ever experienced, or seen, anything like that.”

For Tracey the atmosphere and support from staff made Early Years activities a “safe space” in which to take her son Ben and meet other parents facing the same challenges.

She says: “We’re all in the same territory, but it’s OK. Sometimes it’s just nice to come in and you don’t need to worry for that hour to two hours. And you always get a nice cup of tea!”

To find out more please watch the film and get in touch by calling the Early Years team on 0300 330 9292 or emailing


Scottish Out of School Care Network (SOSCN) and Care and Learning Alliance (CALA)

Working Together to Promote Physical Activity and Wellbeing with Children and Young People

The Scottish Out of School Care Network (SOSCN) and Care and Learning Alliance (CALA) have joined forces to develop and deliver a free online training course: “Supporting Activity and Wellbeing”.

The Scottish Out of School Care Network (SOSCN) and Care and Learning Alliance (CALA) have joined forces to develop and deliver a free online training course: “Supporting Activity and Wellbeing”. With CALA’s technical expertise and experience in delivering online learning, the course was adapted from SOSCN’s successful “Introduction to Physical Activity and Wellbeing” training session. Since its launch in January 2020, the e-module has proved to be a hit with 139 users registered across 18 local authorities in under 4 weeks.

“This is my first module with SOSCN/CALA and I am very impressed. Have looked into further modules and will be sharing this with my staff.” (Aberdeen)

SOSCN and CALA hope to continue this successful partnership through the development of other modules and projects.

To access the promotional video, click here

Access the module through CALA’s E-Learning Zone: Click here


Stop it Now! Scotland

Upstream website launched

Stop It Now! Scotland have launched a new online resource aimed at preventing child sexual abuse in Scotland. The website, named Upstream, provides practical, real world solutions are crucial in preventing child sexual abuse.  Funded by the Scottish Government and developed by Stop It Now! Scotland, Upstream is the newest online resource for anyone worried about child sexual abuse.

The launch was held in Edinburgh and we were delighted to welcome Maree Todd MSP who is the Minister for Children and Young People. We also heard from Professor Kieran McCartan from the University of West of England and Sue Hampson from Safe to Say, a survivor organisation based here in Scotland.

The new resource is broken down into five sections. These are Learn, Identify, Prevent, Act and Engaging Communities. There is also a Get Help section for anyone in a situation that needs immediate action. The resource gives practical advice based on a wide range of scenarios and frequently asked questions that often come up during our work. “What if I don’t like the way my uncle is playing with my daughter?” or “What are the warning signs that a child is being abused” or “How do I make my church group safer for children?”. We have tried to make the language as accessible as possible without losing some of the detail and nuances of the complex world that we live in.

A big part of protecting children from harm is strengthening the capacity of adults but also building the resilience of communities. We wanted to look at bystander theory and why people who see things occurring in front of them do not have the confidence to intervene. Upstream aims to be able to give anyone who is worried about child sexual abuse some basic skills to ask the right questions, and have the right conversations at the right time. There are also some resources for professionals about how to talk to others about prevention with some myth busting, who by and how child sexual abuse occurs but also what contribution you can make to tackling it.

As always anyone, including professionals, concerned members of the public, or family and friends, can phone us at Stop It Now! Scotland directly for advice either via 0131 556 3535 for those based in Scotland or on our UK Helpline on 0808 1000 900. We are willing to talk, anonymously and confidentially, through any concerns you have about child sexual abuse, the behaviour of a loved one or even if you are worried about your own sexual thoughts, feelings and behaviours towards children.

During the next 12 months the Stop It Now! Scotland team are going out to meet organisations who are interested in how they can help prevent child sexual abuse in their local area. If you would like to know more about Upstream or Stop It Now! Scotland please contact

We are hoping that everyone will find Upstream and our wider services useful not only to build their own knowledge but also to share with colleagues, friends, family members or the people they work with. Basically anyone who is worried about child sexual abuse! Upstream will only be successful if people know about it, use it, consult it, share it and ultimately act on any concerns that they have.


Sleep Scotland

Launch of review into screen time, sleep and mental health.

Sleep Scotland was delighted host the launch of a systematic literature review of the relationship between adolescents’ screen time, sleep and mental health on 20th February by Minister for Mental Health, Clare Haughey, MSP.

Sleep Scotland was delighted host the launch of a systematic literature review of the relationship between adolescents’ screen time, sleep and mental health on 20th February by Minister for Mental Health, Clare Haughey, MSP.

The research draws conclusions that sleep quality is negatively influenced by mobile phone use around bedtime. As more children are being given a mobile phone earlier – polls show one in four children under the age of six has access to a smartphone in the UK – it is essential that all children and young people should be aware of the effect mobile phone use can have on their sleep, and the devastating impact that poor sleep can have on their health and wellbeing, particularly when it comes to their mental health.

For example:

  • Teenagers sleeping less than 5hrs per night are 71% more likely to suffer from depression1
  • The risk of self-harming was 4 times higher among the 16-19 years old adolescents with insomnia2
  • Young people sleeping less than 6 hours per night are 3 times more likely to attempt to take their own lives3

However, the work of Sleep Scotland in improving sleep can be part of the solution, in particular in relation to the prevention of mental health problems. As part of the launch, we hosted a session with a group of adolescent pupils from the Edinburgh Montessori Arts School from our Sound Sleep lessons, designed for schools. They learned about the importance of sleep for their health and wellbeing, as well as how they can improve their own sleep, such as what they can do in the hour before bed to prepare their body and brain for sleep.

Any school or organisation working directly with young people who are interested in bringing our Sound Sleep Education resources to their pupils should get in touch for upcoming training dates. For more information on the work we are doing to promote good sleep for our children and young people, visit our website, or contact Alyson O’Brien, Sleep Services Manager –

Sleep Scotland work is supported by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery Community Fund Scotland.


1) Gangwisch JE; Babiss LA; Malaspina D; Turner JB; Zammit GK; Posner K Earlier parental set bedtimes as a protective factor against depression and suicidal ideation. SLEEP 2010;33(1):97-106.

2) Hysing et al 2015 Sleep problems and self-harm in adolescence

3) Matthew D. Weaver, PhD1,2; Laura K. Barger, PhD1,2; Susan Kohl Malone, PhD, RN, NCSN3; et al 2018 Dose-Dependent Associations Between Sleep Duration and Unsafe Behaviors Among US High School Students 


Scottish Mentoring Network

Quality Standards Across Mentoring for Children and Young People show dedication to Quality Mentoring Practices

Scottish Mentoring Network has recently re-launched the Project Quality Award to give projects who are working to achieve it a year of intensive support

This re-launch gave us at SMN the opportunity to reflect on the projects who have applied for the Quality Award across the 8 years it has been available.

It has been heartening to see that nationally there are over 30 projects who have integrated our Quality Practice Indicators into their working routines.  The QPI’s are 6 elements of mentoring practice, which we know are key to running a successful mentoring programme.  These indicators enable projects to demonstrate that they have thoroughly planned how they will implement their mentoring programme.  This has the trickle-down effect of benefitting mentees by ensuring that the mentors will be supported, so they can do their very best in their mentoring role.

We have found that the vast majority of award holders have been projects which work with children and young people.  SMN worked closely with Inspiring Scotland to design the Intandem mentoring programme, which provides mentoring to care experienced young people who are looked after at home.  This allowed SMN to recommend that each of these projects undertake the Quality Award as a way of demonstrating their commitment to quality mentoring practices.  SMN has also partnered with YMCA Scotland with their nationwide Plusone mentoring programme to embed the Quality Award within their working model.

Colin McFarlane of YMCA said,

“At YMCA Scotland we have used the Quality Award to develop our mentoring practices within the Plusone programme, allowing us to promote a consistently high standard of delivery across Scotland. In addition the Quality Award was a key factor in enabling us to replicate the Plusone programme in Canada with YMCA Quebec.

The Quality Award system is an efficient way for a National programme to achieve continuity and understanding of good practice within all our regional services.”

The quality practice indicators can also be used as a way for mentoring projects to develop their programmes.  At SMN, we hope that mentoring projects who are just starting up can use the Quality Award as a structure when they are starting their journey with mentoring.

At a time when we are just digesting the results of the Care Review, it is heartening to read ‘The Promise’, and see that people are a key component in the recommendations for a better care system. Of course, ‘people’ includes the mentors who give their time to help children and young people who may be entering the care system.  Mentors who can be someone to talk to, (someone who listens), a positive role model, and someone who can give practical help.

At SMN, we hope that mentors continue to be valued as part of the long-term strategy for supporting children and young people.  We also hope that mentors will also be supported in their mentoring journey by quality mentoring practices.


Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights)

Together launches its State of Children’s Rights Report

Together was joined by Maree Todd MSP Minister for Children and Young People, the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland, and members of the Children’s Parliament and Scottish Youth Parliament to celebrate the launch on 28th February 2020.

More than 50 children’s charities and experts contributed to the report which considers the extent to which children in Scotland are able to exercise their human rights as set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The report calls for urgent action to ensure that incorporation of the UNCRC into Scots law is accompanied by a real change in the way children and young people experience their rights.

The State of Children’s Rights report plays an essential role in enabling the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child to hold the Scottish and UK governments to account regarding implementation of the UNCRC. It details a number of areas where substantial progress has been made in recent years, while also drawing attention to areas in which Scotland currently falls short of ensuring children’s rights are being met.

In particular, the report highlights the importance of delivering a key government pledge to incorporate the UNCRC into Scots law by 2021. The Scottish Government has promised children and young people that a Bill that directly incorporates the UNCRC provisions that fall within devolved powers will be passed before early 2021. For this promise to be kept, the Bill must be introduced to the Scottish Parliament within a matter of months.

Additionally, the report points to the UK’s exit from the European Union and the subsequent loss of human rights protections as a further reason for Scotland to incorporate the UNCRC into Scots law. It also highlights child poverty as the main indicator of Scotland’s long way to go to ensure children’s human rights are protected and enforced.

The event on 28th February 2020 jointly celebrated the launch of the Observatory of Children’s Human Rights Scotland of which Together is part and for which the newly published report will serve as a roadmap for action.

Speaking ahead of the launch of the State of Children’s Rights report and the Observatory, Juliet Harris, Director of Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights) said:

“Over the past three years, real progress has been made in Scotland to further protections of children’s human rights. In making a commitment to incorporate the UNCRC into Scots law by 2021, the Scottish Government is setting out its ambition to be world leading. Likewise, the Scottish Parliament has been taking steps to bring Scotland up to scratch with international human rights standards by passing legislation to give children protection from assault.

“However, our State of Children’s Rights report 2019 shows how much more needs to be done. From increasing concerns about child poverty and mental health through to food insecurity and bullying, many children still experience breaches of their rights on a day-to-day basis. Through the publication of our report, and partnering with the new Observatory, we hope our roadmap for action will support Scotland to realise its potential and become a country where the rights of all children are realised all of the time.”

December 2019

Support and Engagement Programme Oct-Dec

Improving your Fundraising from Trusts, Foundations and other Grantmakers, 22 November 2019


“Everything begins with a strategy – have a clear fundraising strategy and ensure it’s integrated into your overall strategic planning.”

The advanced level fundraising workshop at Atlantic Quay in Glasgow was fully subscribed. Leading a lively interactive session were Sue Robinson (CVS Inverclyde), Carolyn Sawers (Deputy Chief Executive, Corra Foundation) and Pam Shaw (CVS Inverclyde) who focused on three key areas –

  • What’s happening in the grant-making environment? Regulation and best practice, research on trusts’ spend.
  • What does the future look like? The funder’s perspective, Scotland Funders’ Forum, post-Brexit landscape, what are Funders worrying about?
  • What now… Next steps? Getting your Board on board, turning business strategy into a fundraising plan.

Presentation slides and a short video by Carolyn can be found here.

Useful resources and links:

News from across the Fund Oct-Dec


  • Care and Learning Alliance
  • Cyrenians’ Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution (SCCR)
  • Down’s Syndrome Scotland
  • Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs
  • Scottish Mentoring Network
  • Shared Parenting Scotland
  • Sleep Scotland


Care and Learning Alliance

Spreading the word: The CALA learning, development and quality team have been getting out and about again.

We have recently provided learning opportunities for enthusiastic Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) Practitioners in Glasgow, Renfrewshire and Haddington.

A real highlight for us was a day spent promoting the launch of the latest additions to our e-learning modules with colleagues in Argyll & Bute at their Inspiring ELC Conference in November. There was lots of interest in our tried and tested e-learning any time anywhere for practitioners, parents, students, professionals and those considering a career in ELC.


Cyrenians’ Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution (SCCR)

Cyrenians’ Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution’s 10th national annual conference ‘The Faces of Transition’

In January 2020, we’ll hold our 10th national annual conference. ‘The Faces of Transition’ explores the themes of transitions, time, duality, the beginning and ending of conflict and how our past can impact our future but does not define us.

To coincide with this event and to celebrate our work under Scottish Government’s Children, Young People and Families Early Intervention Fund, the SCCR will publish a new report detailing the impact of our work over the last four years plus the findings from new SCCR 2019 National Surveys. The conference will highlight the legacy of the SCCR and look to the future regarding our ambition, purpose and strategic work in relation to earlier intervention and prevention for young people and families across Scotland.

We’ll also be celebrating the launch of our new online Resource Hub and Resource Booklet – – which will help us reach remote parts of Scotland. Part of our ambition for the coming year is to ensure those in remote rural communities have as much access to resources to help young people and families – and our digital offerings support this. Our new Resource Hub allows professionals working in 1-2-1, groups or classrooms settings access to high quality resources.

We’re keen to build on partnerships in the coming year too – so if you work in a remote, rural area, or deprived community and are keen to link with us, please get in touch at

To book the last few remaining spaces for the national conference on 29 January 2020, please register here.


Down’s Syndrome Scotland

Jobs for people with Down’s syndrome

We know that many people with Down’s syndrome (Ds) would like to have a paid job but find it hard to get into work. We had a discussion with the team at StartScotland who are one of the delivery partners for the national employability programme, Fair Start Scotland. They were keen to learn more about how they could support people with Ds. We decided to run an awareness training session in October, for 12 of the StartScotland team. This was co-facilitated by two trainers who have Ds. We followed up with an information session in November, for our members with Ds and their supporters. Two of the Start Scotland team from Lothian came along to our Edinburgh office to provide information about the programme and answer any questions. The StartScotland team produced an accessible presentation and are developing an easy read poster to provide more information. We made some good connections and look forward to continuing to work together in the future.

If you want to find out more please contact Vivien Jayne, Policy Officer at .


Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs

Podcasts for Alcohol Awareness Week 2019

For Alcohol Awareness Week 2019, Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs have launched new podcasts. These include:

  • A conversation about CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training) with CRAFT Guru George Charlton
  • Personal experiences on alcohol use from Jim Cassidy and Colin McIntosh
  • Lived experience of a parent’s alcohol use from Heather in our young person’s group Routes
  • A discussion about alcohol in our society with Nicola Merrin of Alcohol Focus Scotland and Rowan Anderson from Corra Foundation
  • Our CEO Justina had a conversation about alcohol with Gary Meek from Glasgow Council on Alcohol

You can listen to the series of podcasts on The Scottish Recovery Show SoundCloud page:

The Scottish Recovery Show is a podcast collaboration between Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs and the Scottish Recovery Consortium.


Scottish Mentoring Network

SMN National Event and Recognition Awards

Scottish Mentoring Network held its National Event and Recognition Awards on Wednesday 13th November 2019 at St. Paul’s & St. George’s Church in Edinburgh. The event was attended by over 80 delegates from 45 organisations, and was opened by Scottish Mentoring Network’s Chief Executive, Maureen Watson, along with SMN’s Chair, Allison Calder.

Mark Ballard, the co-author of the Public Affairs Guide to Scotland: Influencing Policy and Legislation, commenced the day with a keynote speech sharing his key ingredients to engaging with politicians and decision makers. After this an interactive session called ‘Find your Match’ brought together delegates, after which it was time to move to the first round of SMN Recognition Awards for 2019. They were presented to the winning projects. Scottish Mentoring Network then invited the winners of the category awards to participate in a Q&A session where they discussed the successes and challenges that the co-ordinators had experienced whilst running their mentoring programmes.  After this, SMN Board Director, Fiona Ellis introduced by the Network & Learning Discussions which focused on messaging for decision makers.

During the AGM, Allison Calder from Rock Trust, was re-elected as a General Member Director, along with Alastair MacGregor from SSERC and Melanie Armstrong from Glasgow Caledonian University. The day concluded with the presentation of SMN Project Quality Award certificates to the projects that had achieved this over the past year. In addition to these, an additional project has been reaccredited in the Project Quality Award, demonstrating a continued commitment to embedding good practice in all aspects of their mentoring work.

Following the presentation of the Quality Award certificates we then presented the final Recognition Awards which included Mentor of the Year which was presented to Ashley King of Kirkcaldy YMCA and Project of the Year which was presented to University of Edinburgh Edinburgh Cares Staff Mentoring Programme.  There were two final presentations to recognise the contributions of Morag Cassidy, whose involvement in Scottish Mentoring Network and Glasgow Mentoring Network has been invaluable to the development of both these organisations.  We also recognised the 10 Years of Distinguished Service given to Scottish Mentoring Network by Sarah Barr.  SMN Director, Marie Duncan closed the day.


Shared Parenting Scotland

New name for Families Need Fathers Scotland

Shared Parenting Scotland is our new name, emphasising the fact that we have always been at the forefront of encouraging shared parenting after separation because of its benefits to children.

Even though separated fathers will remain as the majority of our clients because of the difficulties some face in seeing their children after separation, we also take many enquiries from new partners, grannies, sisters and also some mothers who are faced with similar issues.  We promote shared parenting because of the mass of evidence that children will usually benefit from both parents remaining fully involved and taking an equal share in their lives after separation.

The charity will continue in its support work, answering around 300 individual enquiries and holding evening meetings in six locations across Scotland every month.  We also link people up through local WhatsApp groups and support self-help volunteers to help other parents.  Our new web site will be launched in December and we can still be contacted on 0131 557 2440 or


Sleep Scotland

Mental Health and Sleep for Children and Young People

“Children and young people in the UK and across the world are increasingly at a significant risk of suffering from mental health difficulties. This is particularly noticeable in young adults between the ages of 15 and 24; research has shown that suicide is the second leading cause of death for 15-24 year olds worldwide (World Health Organisation, 2018) and the rates of suicide, particularly among 10-24 year old females has increased significantly in recent years (Office for National Statistic, Suicides in the UK: 2018 registrations). It is upwards trends such as these that prove that mental health awareness and good mental health practices are more important now than ever before.

Sleep is one of the three pillars of good physical and mental health, alongside diet and exercise.  We need all three to be standing strong in order to be at our best both physically and mentally. Now widely recognised as fundamental to our general health and wellbeing, research into sleep has also linked poor quality sleep and deprivation to various mental health symptoms and conditions. Children with insomnia at ages 4-9 showed higher levels of anxiety symptoms at age 18 (Armstrong et al. 2014), and 88% of youth aged 6-17 years with an anxiety disorder reported one or more sleep related problems (Alfano et al., 2007). This shows a worrying correlation between a lack of sleep and a decrease in general mental wellbeing. In addition, the risk of self-harming was 4 times higher among 16-19 year olds with insomnia (Hysing et al., 2015). The relationship between poor mental health and a lack of sleep has also been show to operate in the opposite direction; with mental ill health causing a lack of sleep. In a study of 553 children with depression, it was found that 72.7% reported sleep disturbances (Liu, et al., 2007),

Sleep allows our bodies to carry out functions that are vital to our physical and mental wellbeing. It allows the brain and body to relax, thereby improving overall mood and energy levels. It helps to balance the production of leptin and ghrelin hormones that, when out of balance, causes us to crave foods high in sugar and fat. Most notably, sleep helps us to store our positive memories. Happy memories are stored in the hippocampus, a part of the brain more directly affected by a lack of sleep. An effect of sleep deprivation is a failure to recall our pleasant memories as easily as the negatives.

Lack of sleep therefore leads to problems such as higher anxiety and depression levels, poor concentration and social interactions, and a decrease in physical health. As pointed out in a 2011 report by the Mental Health Foundation, “sleep is not a lifestyle choice; just like breathing, eating or drinking, it is a necessity.”

With research showing links between sleep and mental health, Sleep Scotland is an invaluable tool for confronting Scotland’s child and adolescent mental health crisis. Sleep Scotland aims to support and improve the quality of life for families with children and young people between the ages of 18 months to 18 years. We connect families with trained sleep counsellors, run training courses for professionals and an education programme to raise awareness about the importance of sleep in schools as well as a support line to assist families and young people with sleep issues. We receive a great deal of positive feedback from those who have used our services and whose lives have improved since our support, with one parent saying “we were in the midst of a very emotionally challenging time and the help that came will never be forgotten. It was like a light in the darkness at that time.”

For more information about our services, please visit

September 2019

Support and Engagement Programme Jul-Sept

Cyber Fundamentals for the Third Sector, 27 August 2019


“It’s not all hackers in hoodies!” 

We had a full house for our recent workshop on cyber security at Victoria Quay in Edinburgh. The session was led by Dan Waddell from Scottish Government’s Cyber Resilience team, and Alison Stone, SCVO’s newly appointed Cyber Resilience Coordinator, and covered the key cyber risks faced by third sector organisations, and what we can do to improve cyber security.

With nearly half of all cyber breaches caused by staff or contractor negligence, staff training is key to building cyber resilience. And there are some great, free-to-access resources available:

If you’d like further information of advice on improving your organisation’s cyber resilience, you can contact Alison ( or the Cyber Resilience team (

News from across the Fund Jul-Sept


  • Carers Trust Scotland
  • Youth Scotland
  • Includem
  • Care and Learning Alliance
  • Families Need Fathers
  • National Deaf Children’s Society
  • Parent Network Scotland
  • Peeple
  • Scottish Childminders Association
  • Salveson Mindroom
  • Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs
  • Scottish Out of School Care Network
  • Starcatchers
  • Stepping Stones for Families
  • Zero Tolerance


Celebrating the Scottish Young Carers Festival

By Carers Trust Scotland

Nearly 400 young carers from across Scotland came together at the Scottish Young Carers Festival. The Scottish Young Carers Festival took place between 31 July – 2 August. Organised by Carers Trust Scotland, for the last 12 years the event has provided a national celebration for young carers to share their experiences, the impact that caring has on them and to suggest changes that could make their lives better. An equally vital aspect of the Scottish Young Carers Festival is to provide young carers with a much-needed break from their caring responsibilities. It also gives them an opportunity to meet other young people in similar situations, share new experiences and of course have fun.

Throughout the festival there were dozens of opportunities for young carers to take part in activities including circus skills, inflatables, abseiling, art workshops, and relaxation sessions. The full programme of entertainment in the evening included amazing live music performances, a quiz and a silent disco to get everyone dancing.

This year’s Scottish Young Carers Festival took place against a busy time of positive changes for young carers in Scotland. Already this year we have seen the launch of non-cash entitlements for young carers being introduced through the Young Scot National Entitlement Card and in the autumn the Scottish Government will launch the Young Carer Grant, the first of its kind in the UK.

By visiting our Consultation Space, Young Carers were able to give their feedback on these developments, as well as other issues important them. There was the option for young people to answer anonymously, or share their thoughts with the Media Ambassador crew, who filmed pieces to camera. Local and national decision makers attended the Festival as part of the invited guests section of the event. Taking part in a speed chat event, young people were given the chance to put their questions directly to those who can influence policy and decision making to improve the lives of young carers. The Festival was again this year, a place for fun as well as reflection. A place for young people to have a break from their caring role, and for decision makers to listen to their voices.


Return of the Youth Scotland Rural Action Fund

By Youth Scotland

Youth Scotland is pleased to announce that the Youth Scotland Rural Action Fund is returning for the second year. Supported again by The Robertson Trust and new partners The Gannochy Trust, this fund aims to enhance and develop community-based youth work in Scotland’s rural communities.

Youth Scotland is pleased to announce that the Youth Scotland Rural Action Fund is returning for the second year. Supported again by The Robertson Trust and new partners The Gannochy Trust, this fund aims to enhance and develop community-based youth work in Scotland’s rural communities.

The £60,000 fund will focus on overcoming the barriers to youth work opportunities in rural areas and build on the success of year one. The micro grant scheme offers awards of between £100-£750 for small, volunteer-led youth projects and clubs to enhance existing provision for young people or increase capacity to deliver a specific project or programme.

Carol Downie, Chief Executive, at The Gannochy Trust, said:

“Young people and youth work have a major role to play in society and in the development of vibrant communities. Youth work settings provide a safe place for young people to go: reducing isolation; creating a sense of belonging and providing new experiences and opportunities. However, youth work in Scotland has been going through a challenging time with the sector facing a significant reduction in resources.

“This unique collaboration between The Robertson Trust, The Gannochy Trust and Youth Scotland aims to support youth clubs and groups in rural and remote areas to deliver effective provision that inspires and supports young people.”

Ian McLaughlan, Chief Executive of Youth Scotland, said:

“With around a third of our membership groups in rural or remote areas, the Rural Action Fund is a great way for us to support rural groups who may be disproportionally affected by reductions in funding for universal youth work.

“We’re extremely encouraged by the tremendous impact that year one has already made in supporting groups in sustaining and increasing the provision of youth work opportunities in rural communities.”

To read more about year one of the Rural Action Fund, click here

To read the criteria and make an application, visit


Includem’s annual Fun Day proves a hit with young people & families

By Includem

Our annual Fun Day for young people and families is always a fantastic event, and this year was no exception.

We welcomed more than 300 young people from all over the country to The Peak in Stirling for a day full of activities, food and, of course, fun!

Young people and their families enjoyed a range of activities across the course of the day including football, sand art, henna tattoos, face and nail painting, hair styling, ice skating and go-kart racing. Not forgetting the bouncy castle, petting zoo and chocolate fountain!

The day was designed to bring together the young people and families we work with in an informal setting and give them the opportunity to enjoy a fun-filled day together which, unfortunately, they might not often get to do.

Stirling’s Provost, Christine Simpson, was there to greet young people, along with her fellow Stirling Councillor and Convener of the Children and Young People Committee, Susan McGill. We were also thrilled to have two local community police officers join us for the day, mingling with families and even volunteering to take part in the ‘Soak the (police!) Worker’ event!

In other news, we have teamed up with Glasgow Guarantee and People Plus to hire a Modern Apprentice Finance Assistant. The successful applicant will be supported to achieve a Level 2 Foundation Certificate in Accounting (AAT).

Finally, a number of Includem staff are taking on the Great Scottish Run to raise money for our Young Person’s Fund. You can read more about that here.


Care and Learning Alliance Engaging with Communities

The CALA Chief Executive Jaci Douglas, the training team, CALA staff members and their young volunteer helpers have been very busy over the recent months getting out and about.

The CALA Chief Executive Jaci Douglas, the training team, CALA staff members and their young volunteer helpers have been very busy over the recent months getting out and about at community events promoting awareness of the importance of play to support children’s all round development and opportunities for adults and young people to access our Corra supported free /low cost child care, health and wellbeing and child protection related e-learning at time, place and pace to suit themselves.

Events included the The Gathering, Inverness Highland Games, Beauly Fair and the three-day Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival where we provided sensory play for young children with their parents. Lots of learning gained from our interactions with the wonderful children and families we came into contact with for us to inform our future training development.


Families Need Fathers Scotland: Glasgow office space available

Families Need Fathers Scotland have spare office space in central Glasgow which could be sublet to another charity on a cost-sharing basis. For further details contact Ian or Alastair on 0131 557 2440 or email


National Deaf Children’s Society: Summer Holiday fun for deaf young people

The National Deaf Children’s Society Summer Holiday Scotland saw 30 deaf young people aged 8-18 come together for a fantastic week thanks to funding from Corra.

The National Deaf Children’s Society Summer Holiday Scotland saw 30 deaf young people aged 8-18 come together for a fantastic week thanks to funding from Corra. The young people from 17 different local authority areas took part in exciting outdoor activities including gorge walking, kayaking, canoeing, abseiling, climbing and hiking. In addition, all 30 young people learnt more about enjoying and caring for the natural environment and achieved a John Muir award.

At the end of the event, every young person said they felt part of the group and they all described the event as ‘good’ or ‘brilliant’. Every young person identified something they had achieved from attending the event and these things included making new friends; doing something new; feeling more confident; improving communication; and doing things for myself.

One parent said following the event their child was ‘more confident’. Another said their daughter ‘loved the camp’. Another parent said following the event, their child was ‘doing more things on her own’.

The National Deaf Children’s Society runs free events for deaf young people throughout the year. Events are open to young people with all levels of hearing loss from mild to profound and full communication support is provided. The service is registered with the Care Inspectorate and was considered ‘very good’ at the most recent inspection.

To find out more about National Deaf Children’s Society events, click here:


Parent Network Scotland Launches Trauma Training Programme

Parent Network Scotland have successfully launched a trauma training programme to support practitioners in engaging with parents through a trauma-informed lens.

The programme, currently consisting of 5 introductory sessions on issues that the organisation has identified through parent, staff, and practitioner feedback, will encourage practitioners to make Scotland the best place to grow up by supporting the family as a whole. Parent Network Scotland have supported families for nearly three decades, with groups and workshops often becoming a therapeutic space for parents and carers. The management team felt it important to not only make their own staff trauma-informed and skilled, but to spread the team’s expertise in parenting support to other front-line staff, in line with the Scottish Government’s drive to become a trauma-informed country. The organisation’s lead on trauma training and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) recovery work, Rachael Benson, developed the sessions to incorporate knowledge-building activities with media clips, focusing on understanding trauma and parental engagement. The feedback from session 1 was that it was very well-received, with one participant saying it was “the best ACEs training I have been on, by far”. The programme will be scheduled for a second lot of dates, and full days are going to be developed moving forward.

The programme will also be rolled out to the organisation’s Parent Group Leaders to upskill parents supporting others in their communities.

The full programme can be found here.


Peeple: From a Peep group to employment – a parent’s experience

“A friend told me about Peep and I started taking my little boy along to a group. We both really enjoyed the activities and I know that Peep made a positive difference to our lives. I’m a mum to three and have always enjoyed playing with them but at the group I learned so much about how important I am as my child’s first educator and the importance of play at home. I am more in tune with my little boy and what helps him learn. Since going to Peep everyone at home takes it in turn to read a bedtime story to our youngest child.

The Peep Learning Together Programme training was suggested to me by my Peep leader. I undertook the training and have been voluntarily delivering Peep groups to build my confidence and experience in working with children and families. Attending the training was a fantastic experience for me. I found a new enthusiasm for learning which motivated me to complete a National Certificate in Childhood Practice and am currently working towards my Higher National Certificate in Childhood Practice.

When I graduate, I would like to work as a Childcare and Development Worker and would possibly like to continue studying to complete the Level 8 course. I feel really proud of myself and what I have achieved through attending Peep. I’m on my way to starting a new career and making a real difference to children’s lives, enhancing and supporting their learning experiences.”

Kim has now graduated and successfully gained employment as a Childcare and Development Worker in an early learning and childcare setting in Midlothian. Another wonderful achievement and we wish Kim so very well on her new adventure.


Salveson Mindroom have written a film production guide based on their experience of making films with young people

With funding we received from the CYPFEIF and ALEC Fund to make five short films on ADHD, autism, dyslexia, DCD and Tourette syndrome, we collaborated with the film company (Daysix) to produce a film production guide. The filmmakers drew from their first-hand experience of working with young people who need extra support to participate in the creative process of film making. Full of tips for filmmakers about ways to work with children and young people who have learning difficulties, this resource covers commissioning, pre- and post-production as well as the production itself and advice on how to reach your audience.

For inspiration on how to work creatively with children and young people, read the guide and watch our films here.


Roaring success of Scottish Childminding Association’s Childminding Week 2019

Uniting childminders across Scotland, Childminding Week 2019 enabled the #CheerforChildminding message to reach over 30,000 people.

Now in its third year of inception, Childminding Week 2019 (6-12 May) from SCMA is a nationwide event that engages with childminders to raise the profile and gain recognition of the true value of childminding in Scotland.

Celebrating the vital contribution that childminders make to the lives of children in Scotland every day, hundreds of stories and photos from childminders took social media by storm during Childminding Week reaching more than 30,000 people.

Childminders are helping to build Scots of the future. Their dedication to children, families and their community is at the heart of Childminding Week, showcasing the true nature of childminding and its wide-reaching benefits.

Chief Executive of SCMA, Graeme McAlister, said: “Families who use childminders are fully aware of just how valuable a service they provide for children, families and communities.

“Our Childminding Week event presents another great opportunity to showcase the value of childminding to a much wider audience, many of whom may be less aware of its positive impact and benefits.

“Childminding enables children of different ages to learn together, enhance their social skills, build on their learning and development, and benefit from low adult-to-child ratios, thereby heightening the increased one-to-one attention that each child receives from their childminder.

Speaking on the first day of Childminding Week 2019, the Minister for Children and Young People, Maree Todd MSP, threw her support behind the event and championed the high-quality care that childminders provide to families across Scotland. She said: “I am delighted to support Childminding Week.

“Childminders provide a nurturing setting for young children where they can provide creative, personalised care and learning, particularly through play.”

The climax of Childminding Week was Childminding Day; a fun family day out at Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park near Stirling. More than 1,250 SCMA childminder members, their friends and family were VIPs for the day and enjoyed a host of activities, music and games in the VIP Marquee hosted by SCMA.

Childminding Week is an all-encompassing event that celebrates the fantastic work of childminders, recognising that everyday childminders make a substantial contribution to the learning, development and wellbeing of Scotland’s children, yet remain relatively unrecognised.

Take a look back at Childminding Week 2019 on SCMA’s YouTube channel here.


Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs: #BehindTheNumbers

The latest rise in drug-related deaths in Scotland was widely predicted, but it is always upsetting to hear about these deaths which could have been prevented. Behind these numbers are families. Whole families who continue to be devastated, left heartbroken, frustrated and angry that they first lost their loved ones to addiction, and then ultimately to death.

Each year Scottish Families marks the day the statistics are released with a response (previous years has seen support outreach days and Naloxone training). This year our response is our new campaign #BehindTheNumbers. Our main aim for the campaign is to focus on how there is a very high number of deaths, but also to highlight that there is an even larger group of people at high risk of serious harm and death from drugs but are alive thanks to the tireless, unrecognised and unsupported efforts of their families. Families often share their experiences with us, how they feel frustrated and angry at services who actively exclude them from their loved one’s treatment, and who do not see their contribution in saving their loved one’s lives, as well as the impact it has on their own lives.

#BehindTheNumbers is a campaign which highlights and champions the hidden and unrecognised contribution of families in saving and preserving life. It shares examples of system failures from treatment services and tells powerful stories of how involving families can improve outcomes for both individuals and services.

The official launch of the campaign was July 2nd where we screened the first two films along with a Q&A session with the two family members involved in the films to 42 attendees. The two family members were also interviewed for STV News and Channel 4 news respectively on the day the statistics were released.

Karen McLeod who shared her experiences in #BehindTheNumbers says:

“The reason I did #BehindTheNumbers was to highlight the fact that people are not numbers. They are our loved ones and it has encouraged me to keep fighting for a change in services. It has been a fab experience, so much so that the positive feedback has been amazing from family, friends, newspapers, TV and radio. The campaign has highlighted that we as families are the forgotten people doing everything in our power to keep our loved ones alive.”

To watch the first two films in the campaign visit our website –


Scottish Out of School Care Network: Success for STEM Champions in Out of School Care

Two years ago we started a pilot training and research project which aimed to address the gender and disadvantage gap in STEM.

We wanted to find out if we trained and equipped staff in out of school care with new STEM skills in playful creative activities if that could make a positive difference for children. This was funded through the Scottish Government Children, Young People and Families Early Intervention Project Fund.

Headline results:

  • 51% girls 49% boys completed 430 surveys.
  • 76% aged 8 or over.
  • A shift from 62% of children to 84% of children agreeing they know what STEM means before and after the STEM activities.
  • Children’s confidence in doing STEM activities increased from 70% pre-activity to 83% post activity.
  • Children’s confidence in sharing STEM skills increased from 56% to 72% pre and post STEM Activity.
  • Overall 91% of children taking part agreed that they want to do more STEM activities.
  • 86% of children agreed that they have gained new skills doing the STEM activities; significantly this goes up to 89% of girls taking part compared to 83% of boys.

For more information, see here.


Starcatchers launches Making My Mark campaign

Starcatchers is delighted to launch Making My Mark, a new campaign celebrating the role that arts and creative experiences can play in helping our youngest citizens learn about their rights.

Watch our short filmdownload our information resource and get involved by joining us @StarcatchersUK on social media #MakingMyMark.

We want to inspire grown-ups to put arts and creative experiences at the heart of interactions with babies and young children.

Rhona Matheson, Chief Executive of Starcatchers, said: “The inspiration for this campaign came from Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018, which showed the positive and powerful impact older children can have when they are empowered to participate meaningfully and influence decisions that affect their own lives.

“However, it is during a child’s earliest years that they begin to develop the self-belief, confidence and skills that will help ensure they can participate effectively later on.

“The arts and creative experiences like music, storytelling, theatre, movement, mark-making, painting, drawing and craft all provide fantastic opportunities for very young children to learn about their rights.

“For example, closely observe a baby’s facial expressions, gaze, movement and sounds as they engage with music, singing, storytelling. These are moments of self-expression. When others respond positively and sensitively babies are learning that they are listened to and valued – that they have a voice.

“As a child grows they can be supported to engage with all kinds of arts and creative experiences. When a young child creates something – a sound, a new movement, or even just a splodge on a page – they are developing a sense of their own agency, that sense that they are independent, have choice and can make a difference. Again, they are learning that they have a voice.

“Through this campaign we want to celebrate those magical moments when children are developing that all-important sense of agency. We want adults to create as many opportunities as possible for babies and young children to explore, experiment, concentrate, persevere, make choices and express themselves through the arts and creative activities.”


Stepping Stones for Families: Family Wellbeing Service-A Qualitative Evaluation 2019

The evaluation found that the service provides clear added value to statutory pre-five provision – overall feedback on the service was excellent.

What was the Evaluation about?

We know that young children’s life chances are improved by positive family relationships, good parenting and access to high quality, accessible, affordable early learning and childcare (ELC). The evaluation explored the impact of the ‘Family Wellbeing Service’ (FWS)on parental and child wellbeing.

What did we find out?

Parents were happier, and to some extent, healthier, as a result of engaging with the FWS. They were less anxious, less stressed and in some cases, less depressed. Parents had a greater range of skills and techniques for managing their children’s behaviour and were more confident as parents. Relationships and attachment between parents and children had improved, in some cases, markedly.

What does this mean?

Overall feedback was excellent. At one level, the model is simple-do what works to help parents in their lives. But it is also sophisticated, reflecting learning over time, and delivered by highly skilled staff making nuanced and difficult judgements about how to support people in complex situations and undertaking multiple tasks as they do so.

The full report is available on the website or contact to request a copy.


Zero Tolerance: Re-launch of Under Pressure Training

Zero Tolerance have revised their Under Pressure training and are relaunching the program this September.

The programme aims to support professionals working with young people to open discussions with them about some of the challenges and pressures they may be facing. Those challenges include risks of grooming and sexual exploitation, negotiating online safety, engaging in healthy consent-based relationships, and dealing with the pressures to conform to idealised models of ‘how to be’ men and women.

The programme is three tiered.

  • Tier One – Train the trainer: aimed at trainers who work with practitioners working with young people. The training days are run by Zero Tolerance. They are free and take participants through a robust introduction to gender and gender based abuse, including exploration of the potential risks of grooming, porn culture and social media pressures.
  • Tier Two – Train the practitioners: direct to youth workers, residential care staff, and other practitioners working with young people. This training day is run by Zero Tolerance and by trainers trained by Zero Tolerance. This free one day training course is focused on how to engage young people in discussions about the subjects outlined above.
  • Tier Three – Practitioners use materials in their work: a suite of activities and exercises for use with young people to support practitioners working with young people. It includes exercises and discussion prompts designed to support both early intervention and prevention.

The programme has been substantially reviewed over the last few months and we will be relaunching in September 2019.

Zero Tolerance are looking for organisations and Violence against Women Partnerships to partner with to deliver this training. Please get in touch if you’d like to know more –