Hello to all our supporters and welcome to my Spring update.

The longer days, and vaccination programme, have combined to create a more optimistic outlook for Circle and the families we support.  The phased return to school and the resumption of some activities for children and young people have helped to take some of the pressure off families that have been through a very difficult winter.

The Spring period is one of the most active and interesting for Circle.  It is the time when we look back at, and evaluate, the positive difference we have made for families in the year just passed as well as making plans for what we want to achieve in the coming year.  Part of this process is to consult with families, children, and young people about our services and how we can best meet their needs. To this end we have been involved in two really interesting pieces of work.

  • The first was a consultation with our families as part of a wider Scottish Government Working Group on the Whole Family Approach to supporting families. You can read the wealth of family feedback plus the findings of our research here
  • The second was an evaluation of our Children Affected by Parental Substance Use (CAPSU) service in East Lothian. To be published shortly.

The feedback across both consultations was consistent and highlighted that families facing challenges most value trust, relationships, a non-judgmental approach, sustainability, and solidarity in the services designed to support them.  We are now using this valuable feedback to design and update our services moving forward.

Spring also means we are asking supporters to once again sign up to The DARED Challenge. This is the fourth year of our annual virtual running event which appeals to both new and experienced runners with the choice of a 1 mile or a 5 kilometre walk every day in June. So far hundreds of runners have raised over £60,000 to provide vital support for local children and families. I took part myself last year with some of my family and I am not surprised that the feedback we get from runners is really positive, as it gives a lift to both physical and mental health.

If you are looking to get active this Summer as the world opens up a little more then this is perfect for you. You can sign up here

“The best achievements in life are those you thought you couldn’t do. Doing DARED for the third year and knowing I wasn’t in any sort of running condition was a challenge just to sign up. As always, I’m glad I did but this year was different, this year it helped my mental and physical health and I am truly grateful for the community. The challenge also got me back in touch with an old friend that also signed up. It’s been great being back in touch and doing things together. Thank you to mark for all his hard work and dedication. Good luck to whoever takes on the challenge!”

I am delighted to announce that Circle will be a sponsor of the first ever Care Experienced History Month delivered by ‘Who Cares Scotland’. As I am sure you know much of Circle’s work involves supporting care experienced individuals and we are committed to helping give them a voice and driving societal change. In 2018 we were delighted to host Fiona Duncan, then Chair of the Independent Review into Scotland’s care system and now Chair of the Promise Oversight Board, at our Annual Lecture focussed on the support that care experienced young people need in the home, at school and in the wider community. That was an important step towards The Promise and the Care Experienced History Month will seek to raise awareness of the long (4000 years and counting…) history and context of the state’s involvement in the lives of care experienced children. Resources include a chronology of key events in Scotland’s history that have led us to where we are now and some interesting case studies and videos. For more information click here.

Our Spring Newsletter also features input from our Social Work Student placements:

“I have always known I wanted to do social work since I was young. Most kids want to be a teacher or an actor, but I wanted to be a social worker. As I started high school, I started to notice all of the inequalities and differences that people were facing, which only made me want to do this job even more. I have always been passionate about helping people and noticing the deeper issues that people are facing.” Keira

The exciting news about a brand-new Children’s Resilience Project in East Lothian with Jen recently appointed to lead this exciting development

“The Children’s Resilience Worker is a newly funded post for Circle’s East Lothian team, and I am really excited to be part of this project. I will be working one-on-one and in group environments with children and young people in East Lothian who are affected by their family’s substance use.” Jen 

We also have some reports on our successful online groups for parents and children in our Harbour and Families Affected By Imprisonment (FABI) services.

“I have always been a person who likes 1 to 1 meetings and always found groups a struggle but as I want to better myself I have been loving the group’s I don’t feel to be shying away, I can speak my mind without anyone judging me, and we can all trust each other and help whenever we can, with a small group we all bond well as a family, and in time I would love to help others like circle has helped me.” Mother

So if aren’t on our mailing list then you can sign up here and get Circle’s quarterly newsletter straight to your inbox. You can also keep up to date with Circle’s activities on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Wishing you all the best

Mark Kennedy