Page 1

ISSUE 2 2017


• Adult Care Services spotlight • Volunteers Week • Me and My Job: Natalie Moran

• Darren’s Journey • Focus on...homelessness • Caring Across Scotland

Building Bridges Befriending can help build bridges See story on page 7

After 25 years with CrossReach, Chief Executive Peter Bailey retires and says ‘Thank You’. Pages 4 & 5


• • • •

Children and Family Counselling and Support Criminal Justice Homeless People

• • • •

Learning Disabilities Mental Health Older People Substance Misuse

DID YOU KNOW? 29% of homelessness is due to relationship breakdown, and 42% of people who become homeless need support (source: Scottish Government)

FEATURES Beechwood extension


Beechwood House in Inverness has a new meeting space. Page 6 Darren’s Journey

Darren was abusing drugs and alcohol. Read how he turned his life around with the help of CrossReach

Pages 8 & 9 Me and My Job

Natalie Moran is a support worker at Threshold Glasgow. She tells us about why her job is never the same 2 days in a row Page 11

Balmedie House near Aberdeen has taken delivery of a new minibus. Service Manager Ann Reid says it will be a huge boost to the home’s residents as they will now be able to enjoy day trips.


Cumnor Hall in Ayr recently had a visit from John Scott MSP who came to the home to see the work of The Little Art School which runs a weekly art class for the residents.

SCOTLAND With the new pound coin in circulation, why not save up your old pound coins and send them to CrossReach to help our Children and Family Services? To receive a collecting box for your old pound coins, please contact Supporter Relations on: 0131 454 4374.

Editorial In January 1992, three months after I started working for the then Board of Social Responsibility as Public Relations Officer, I got a new boss. He came as the new manager for Human Resources and was also given me to line manage. His name was Peter Bailey. I find it hard to believe that 25 years later we are about to say goodbye to Peter as he retires at the end of May. Both of us have watched the organisation change hugely over those years, including the launch of its new name CrossReach in June 2005. Peter became Chief Executive Officer 8 years ago and has led CrossReach through a difficult financial period. On a personal note, I will miss him and I’m sure that will be echoed throughout CrossReach. We wish Peter well in his retirement and thank him for all his work over the past quarter of a century. If you would like to get in touch with any feedback about CrossReach News, please e-mail me at: Hugh Brown, Editor

Published three times a year by CrossReach. Please feel free to use any material or articles contained in this magazine, with an appropriate credit. CrossReach, Charis House, 47 Milton Road East, Edinburgh. EH15 2SR. Telephone: 0131 657 2000, Fax: 0131 657 5000, Email:

Social Care Council


Operating as CrossReach Scottish Charity number: SC011353

Adult Care Services

‘Story Hoosie’ yurt opens at The Bungalow On 4th March, service users, family and staff enjoyed sensory storytelling in the ‘Story Hoosie’ yurt in the garden of The Bungalow in Stonehaven to mark its official opening. Stories from Bag Books were read with story specific props. These simple stories are told through voice and emotion rather than words and pictures. Bag Books provide multi-sensory books and storytelling for people with severe or profound and multiple learning disabilities. The Story Hoosie has an area where families of service users can spend quality time together in a private

‘New’ Allarton

Allarton Supported Accommodation Service in Partick has recently moved into new purpose built accommodation, only a few minutes’ walk from the old location. Allarton had opened in June 1990, originally to accommodate 10 patients who were being discharged from Gartnavel Royal Psychiatric Hospital into a community setting. Katie Mazzoncini, the current manager was appointed in November 1993 as deputy manager and became service manager the following April. At that time the unit was very ‘institutional’ and Katie’s aim was to move it to a place where people using the service regarded it as home. By 1995 the service was providing support to 19 people - 10 in the core unit and 9 living in flats in the community. In addition to this, there was a day service run from a local church supporting people in the community plus some of those in the core service. In 1996 the building at 32 Laurel Street was refurbished to provide improved accommodation for those using the core service. There were 14 single bedrooms with improved bathroom and kitchen/ lounge facilities and a single studio flat, providing an opportunity for one service user to have greater independence and prepare for a move into the community. However, given the age and style of the building, it still fell below the required standard. In 2010 Glasgow City Council Mental Health Services carried out a citywide review which resulted in the day services and community flats being discontinued and Allarton remained

and peaceful area. It’s also another sensory environment which enhances the facilities for our service users with PMLD (Profound and Multiple Learning

specialising in residential services for 12 people with long term mental illness. In 2012, the then Head of Service, Viv Dickenson, started discussions with Partick Housing Association to explore alternative accommodation for the residents in Laurel Street. After negotiation with stakeholders it was agreed that CrossReach could enter into a lease for a new building provided by Partick Housing Association as part of a social housing development. Work began in mid-2015 with an anticipated completion date of summer 2016. However, there were a number of delays in the project and the building was eventually ready for occupation on 14th February this year. The new building provides core accommodation for 10 people over two floors and 4 bedsits where service users can be supported to develop the skills required for when they move to their own tenancies in the community. Katie explained the philosophy of the service to CrossReach News: “Allarton accepts individuals for their personal worth, not looking at the label they are given but at who they truly are. We work together with them to cope with the challenges of daily living, offering support with their behaviours and emotional responses to stress and we celebrate their unique recovery journey. We are known for delivering a service which is respected and valued within the field of mental health in Glasgow, and the new building provides much improved accommodation within a modern, mixed tenure housing estate. Despite concern that residents might be upset by such a change, the staff are delighted that they have settled well into their new environment and are enjoying the bright new accommodation and appreciate having en-suite facilities within a discreet building in a thriving community.”

Difficulties). So grab a cushion or a seat in the elegant leaf chair which cradles the body and gently swings for relaxation and make yourself at home!

Tenders Framework In recent years, an increasing amount of social care, commissioned by Integrated Health and Social Care Partnerships, has been arranged through a tendering mechanism. This is where providers who wish to be considered for a certain ‘workstream’ submit a bid to do so, at a certain price. This, then, gains them entry on a list of providers – sometimes referred to as a ‘framework – from which the commissioners or service users can select a provider. Between December 2016 and January 2017, CrossReach bid for three of these in Learning Disabilities alone. There is a lot of paperwork to be submitted for each bid and many people have to write a lot of information describing not only how we would support service users but also what experience have we in the type of work, how can we assure the quality of our service and at what cost could we do it. In March, we learned that we had been successful in our bids to East Lothian and South Lanarkshire Councils; this mainly affects the work at Eskmills and Threshold Support Services Learning Disabilities services. So, this is good news! My thanks to everyone within the operational teams, Business Development, Finance and Human Resources sections who all pulled together to contribute to this success. Two down, another one to go…. Calum Murray, Director of Adult Care Services


Thank You I couldn’t have done it without you! As Peter Bailey retires as Chief Executive Officer, he reflects on his 25 years with CrossReach I remember the thoughts that went through my mind when I was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of CrossReach, mainly thoughts of inadequacy wondering how I would manage to lead the organisation and carry on the great traditions of those who had gone before me. Nearly eight years on I realise now that it was somewhat arrogant to believe that any one person can do it on their own. I have relied so heavily on so many people, hence the title of this my last article for CrossReach News prior to my retirement ‘Thank you, I couldn’t have done it without you’. As a charitable organisation, we rely heavily on strong governance. This is the role of the 31 members of the Social Care Council who give of their time voluntarily to ensure that we meet all our financial, quality and regulatory requirements. I have been so very well supported by the Social Care Council who have given


generously of their time at meetings and events – Thank you, I couldn’t have done it without you! Over the years I have been surrounded by hugely skilled and dedicated Directors in the form of the Corporate Management Team. They have been to me close and supportive colleagues who have run their own areas so well that at times I have felt as though I have simply been a conductor of a hugely talented orchestra – Thank you, I couldn’t have done it without you! Of course beyond the Corporate Management Team there have been so many managers across the organisation who have ensured that their own areas have run smoothly to the extent that I have had no sleepless nights – Thank you, I couldn’t have done it without you! CrossReach is blessed with a staff group who are committed and hugely devoted to the people that they support. As an organisation we are operating in a difficult financial environment and one of the challenges of my role over the years has been

the need to achieve cost efficiencies. Many of these have been achieved as a result of the goodwill of staff who have continued to provide high quality support whilst putting the needs of the people who use our services before their own. And it does not go unnoticed by the people who use our services - 99.1% surveyed agreed that the Service accept and respect them, 98% surveyed agreed the Service treat them fairly and consistently whilst 95.3% agreed the service helps them feel safe and secure. To each and every CrossReach employee – Thank you, I couldn’t have done it without you! Over the years it has been a privilege to meet many of the people who use our services. I have found them all to be resilient, and inspirational. Many have shared their positive experiences of the support they have received from CrossReach and reflected on where they might be without it. At times when I have been facing organisational and financial challenges with seemingly little respite they will never know how their stories have

encouraged me to keep going – Thank you, I couldn’t have done it without you. One of the most important things for me over many years is that we have delivered our care services ‘in Christ’s name’ and in the name of the Church of Scotland as part of its Social Care Council. It is important to be part of something bigger than ourselves and we have a long and proud heritage of supporting the people of Scotland whilst ourselves being supported by the Church. I have felt this support in so many ways during my leadership of the organisation. Primarily I have felt that we have been so tremendously supported by prayer. I have seen so many situations work out miraculously as a result of the prayers of the Saints. Add to this the practical support through volunteering, fundraising, the work of Congregational Supporters, Guild members and congregations, and I can only in response say one final: THANK YOU, I COULD N’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT YOU!


Adult Care Services

Beechwood House extends its facilities Beechwood House in Inverness provides residential rehabilitation for drug and alcohol misuse problems. A new extension has increased the range of meetings that can be held, both for those who use the service and also external agencies, as deputy manager Caroline Robertson explains: “The core part of the work we do at Beechwood is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) based groupwork to help people understand the nature of their addictive behaviours. Our programme varies from a short two week programme to longer programmes of up to 14 weeks; these programmes are personcentred and we aim to meet the needs of each individual who is looking to address their substance misuse with abstinence as their long term goal.” “In past years, groups have been facilitated in a small room that was neither designed to accommodate the numbers nor give the flexibility of activities in a groupwork setting. Several service users felt that the room was unhelpful to them being able to engage properly within the group. As a direct consequence of this

feedback, CrossReach has invested in providing a more adequate space that will have an overall positive impact on the service users. In consultation with CrossReach Estates section, a local business was contracted to carry out the work. Renovations started in November 2016 and were completed in January 2017. This has seen our once small groupwork room extended into a large general purpose room, enabling staff to expand the variety of groupwork delivered. We are now able to include videos and presentations in our residential programme for our service users, ensuring we offer an up to date and more versatile approach to group facilitation.” “But it’s not only the service users who benefit from the new room; with the larger space, staff are now able to have meetings in a more comfortable setting and, if required, any training sourced can be done on site whereas before we required an alternative venue. The general purpose room has also afforded external agencies the opportunity to deliver much needed support for

people in the Inverness area who are looking to overcome their substance misuse through mutual support. We are therefore happy to offer our facilities to Alcoholics Anonymous and also Family Support Services.”

Lewis Church Fundraising The congregation of a remote church community on the beautiful Isle of Lewis has been busy fundraising for two of CrossReach’s local services on the island. Led by their minister, Rev. Hugh M. Stewart, the charge of Bernera linked with Uig Church of Scotland have raised £400 to support the great work done at both CrossReach’s Housing Support

the needs of around 18 people at Dochas – whether that be getting them to re-connect with family, pay bills on time or attend essential medical or social appointments. Both Calum and Iain have recently visited the church and spoken about their work and were able to thank the congregation for their kindness and answer questions about what they do in Christ’s name on behalf of the Church of Scotland.

service at Lewis Street and Dochas in Stornoway.


Lewis Street supports people with mainly mental health-related challenges. In collaboration with the local housing agency, Hebridean Housing Partnership, staff provide the necessary support from within five flats, to assist them get ‘back on their feet’ which can take up to two years. In a similar way, Dochas (which is Gaelic

for ‘hope’) provides vital communitybased housing support to people with drug and/or alcohol problems, with the intention of preventing further problems including becoming homeless. Both services are overseen by Calum MacKay, Service Manager of Lewis Street. Project Worker at Dochas, Iain Douglas, strives to meet

Calum Murray, Director of Adult Care Services, told CrossReach News: “We are extremely grateful to the Rev. Hugh M. Stewart, for his continued support for and promotion of, the islands’ services and, most recently, in this particularly tangible way.” Moran taing airson ar caoimhneas.

Cover Feature

Building Bridges Alastair Cameron, Chief Executive, Scottish Churches Housing Agency “I used to be a bit of a wild child,” says Cathy. “It’s taken me time to see how important it is to think things through, and Sheila has helped me with that.” Cathy has been in and out of homelessness since her late teens. Sheila has been her befriender for the last few months. She’s helped Cathy settle down, and even to build bridges with her family, who she had cut herself off from. Befriending is an important element of tackling Scotland’s homelessness problem. The problem isn’t just about putting roofs over people’s heads - it’s also about developing the stability someone needs to make use of a house or flat. That’s the approach that CrossReach is taking in Inverness, in a new partnership with Scottish Churches Housing Action (SCHA). SCHA has spent the last year building a case for adding a befriending project to the range of facilities in Inverness to address homelessness: talking to local agencies, listening to people who are affected by homelessness, working out costs. In February, an agreement was reached with CrossReach that Cale House, the local supported accommodation project, will host a befriending scheme, if we can get it up and running. My colleague Diane Beckett explains further: “This development builds on the support we received from the Guild a few years ago. With the help of the fantastic Guild fundraising, we were able to take the befriending approach to Perth, Paisley and elsewhere - but we always wanted to keep up the momentum. It’s great to be working in a new area with another Church of Scotland partner.”

Local organisations, including Highland Council, recognise the immense added value a befriending scheme will bring. And local homeless people said: “It would be really good to have someone to meet with’’ and: “I don’t have any family here – nobody. It’s hard going”.

is only the beginning. Support is the crucial part in making a fresh start. We believe that the churches will lead the way here, demonstrating the value of this approach.”

“Navigating a path out of homelessness can be so difficult for so many. Having a befriender can help to bring stability, make positive connections locally. That can make all the difference in the world,” says Diane. But it won’t all be plain sailing. SCHA will need to seek

Homelessness has had a big focus this year, particularly because the Moderator of the General Assembly, Rt. Rev. Dr. Russell Barr, has made it one of the themes of his time in office. He believes that a national collective endeavour is needed, to go beyond just managing our problems of homelessness, and actually to eliminate them. Along with Dr. Barr, we have met with

financial support from many sources to establish the new project. Diane adds: “In the long term, befriending saves money, because it helps people stay in a new tenancy. If a tenancy breaks down, there are far-reaching consequences to individuals’ mental health and well-being. That’s really costly to them and to the raft of agencies involved, especially to the statutory bodies, who have a responsibility to get it right first time. As we all know, the key to a house

the Scottish Government Housing Minister Kevin Stewart MSP, who has listened carefully. He points out that the government has set a target of building 50,000 new affordable homes in the current 5-year period. That is a positive step, and will make a real difference. But support measures like befriending are vital too. With 34,000 families and individuals coming to their local council for help each year, there is still a way to go.


Darren’s Journey At the age of just 15, Darren and his peer group - some even younger than him - were experimenting with alcohol, cannabis, ecstasy, speed and magic mushrooms. Darren left school at 16 and went straight into an apprenticeship as a joiner working with his Dad. He completed the apprenticeship and stayed at home, even though he was using alcohol and substances: “I was good at hiding things.” he confesses. Life carried on in this way until he was 22 when sadly his Mum passed away. By then he was using hard drugs – cocaine and heroin and consuming alcohol daily: “it was legal, easy to get and always available.” He was put out of the family home and was in temporary accommodation for 6 months before being offered a tenancy of his own. However, Darren was smoking heroin and started committing crimes to feed his habit and landed in trouble with the police. He also no longer had a job. He tried to self-detox several times but never managed more than 5 days, by which time the pain was too much and he couldn’t resist the temptation when others offered him alcohol and drugs. Darren finally admitted to himself that he was an addict. In 2005, he started on a methadone programme which lasted for 2 years, but was still drinking heavily. He was offered a job, but due to his alcohol consumption his prescribers insisted he got his methadone daily and was supervised whilst taking it. Darren didn’t want his future employer knowing he was on methadone so he stopped his prescription. At that point, things got rapidly worse. Within three weeks he was unable to attend work; he was back drinking heavily and injecting heroin. This was his daily routine for the next two years. Darren was also in a chaotic relationship which - not surprisingly - ended.


His doctor and Community Psychiatric Nurse arranged for him to have a fortnight’s detox in hospital, after which he went to Osprey House in Inverness for a two week residential programme. It went well and Darren returned to his tenancy. He managed to remain sober and stable on his methadone prescription for a short while, then it started falling apart again. Over the next six years he had three hospital detoxes. He was ‘trying to grab recovery’ but failing quickly after each stay in hospital. He did have periods of sobriety - bzut not long enough. The CPN suggested the 14-week residential programme at Beechwood House, run by CrossReach. He knew he would have to be alcohol and drug free to be admitted and began to detox himself slowly. He found it helpful and reassuring that staff kept in contact with him during this time. Finally on 15th February 2015, Darren walked into Beechwood House. He was apprehensive but was made welcome by staff and found there was also a group of services users who got on well together. In the unit Darren felt protected and had no worries about the outside world: “it was like being in a safety bubble.” He learned a lot about himself plus the effects of alcohol and substances. He enjoyed the group work and grasped the opportunity to make changes, although it wasn’t easy. He felt that he benefited hugely from the programme but became anxious as the time drew near for him to leave. He realised that he still had a lot of work to do – he couldn’t afford to stand still. Going back to his tenancy would not be good for him so his keyworker suggested Cale House for a period of time as it would provide support in a dry and substance free environment. On admission in May 2015 he took up the offer of twice daily breath testing for 28 days as a means of support.

He was also aware that he would be drug screened on a regular basis. Darren engaged well with his keyworker, attended 6 support meetings every week and became involved with Apex Scotland where he still does voluntary work and is a peer mentor to others which has helped him with his self-esteem and confidence. Darren regained his driving licence, saved hard and bought a car. Service manager Zandra Kinnaird says: “During his time in Cale House Darren never lost focus or motivation. He’s now ready to take the next step on his recovery journey and to face the challenge of moving on from Cale House into his own tenancy – a new one bedroom flat. He’s looking forward to it, but is realistic about remaining focused and he will continue to attend his support groups. Keeping busy is also high on his agenda. In the longer term, Darren wants to get back to his trade as a joiner. We wish him well.”


In the unit Darren felt protected and had no worries about the outside world: “it was like being in a safety bubble.”

Top Ten Tips for Churches responding to homelessness • Be prepared! Have a supply of non-perishable foodstuffs and basic toiletries. If you have space consider holding a stock of warm clothes. •

Do some research into existing services and facilities in your local area, such as Foodbanks, Charities carrying out street services, contact details at local authority. There is probably a lot already going on.

• Be warm and welcoming. Ask if there is anything you can help with. • Offer a hot drink and something to eat if practicable. • Avoid giving out money. • Be a good listener - don’t assume you know what someone needs. • Invite them to come back – trust and genuine friendships take time to build. •

Ask them if they would like any spiritual support – anything they would like you to pray about for them. Let them know that they are welcome to come to your church services.

• Remember that we all have a life history so don’t make presumptions about people.

Cale House

Consider how your church might make a more organised response to homelessness – there are some great examples of churches who offer food, shelter and starter packs, or who work in partnership with homeless organisations.


News in brief

Prayer Points


For those who wish to pray, please consider • • • • • • •

Convener of the Social Care Council Bill Steele when he presents the CrossReach report to the General Assembly on Monday 22nd May Homeless people across the country and for the agencies who try to help them such as CrossReach and Scottish Churches Housing Action New Chief Executive Officer of CrossReach Viv Dickenson as she takes up her post on 1st June All those who are taking part in the Forth Bridge abseil on 28th May to raise funds for CrossReach Children and Family Services The thousands of volunteers across Scotland who give up their time and talents to help CrossReach continue to offer help and support ‘in Christ’s name’ The new members of the Social Care Council (CrossReach) as they meet together for the first time in June Staff and those who use the service at Allarton in Glasgow as they settle into their new building

If you would like to receive our free Prayer Diary three times a year, please call: 0131 657 2000, or download a PDF version from:


Our Mission Statement In Christ’s name we seek to retain and regain the highest quality of life which each individual is capable of experiencing at any given time

Viv Dickenson has been appointed as the new Chief Executive of CrossReach and will take over from Peter Bailey who retires at the end of May. Viv has worked for CrossReach for over 20 years, most recently as Director of Children and Family services. Prior to CrossReach, Viv worked in the Scottish Prison Service and has been a member of the Prison Visitors Centres Steering Group for a number of years. Viv officially takes up the post of Chief Executive on 1st June, but in the meantime is acting as Deputy Chief Executive to allow for a smooth transition when Peter steps down. Collecting stamps and other treasures is an easy and fun way to change lives in Scotland. Many of the CrossReach projects you support depend on donations. Stamps and collectibles can be an exciting and sustainable way of supporting these projects. The sale of a large bag of stamps can raise enough money to cover the cost of a counselling session for a parent in need, or an interactive play session between a parent and a child. Here’s how to collect and prepare UK and foreign stamps, both current and past issue: trim to between 4mm and 8mm thickness of border around each stamp; don’t soak stamps off paper; separate foreign and UK stamps. Please post your items to: CrossReach, Charis House, 47 Milton Road East, Edinburgh. EH15 2SR. Thank you. Head of Service George McNeilly retired in April after 22 years with CrossReach. He joined the Board of Social Responsibility as Practice Teacher in 1995 based at the Tom Allan Centre. In 2001, he became Assistant Divisional Manager (Operations), working with Archie Henderson in Central and South West Scotland. In 2008, George moved to Adult Care Services as Head of Service and worked across almost all elements of adult care. From May last year he reduced his hours, concentrating on Mental Health services. Director of Adult Care Services Calum Murray paid tribute: “While we will find a successor, we will not find a replacement. Thanks George for everything. Have a long, happy and healthy retirement.”

For those involved in the life of the Church of Scotland, the day after the General Assembly in Edinburgh in May is usually a day of relaxation. But a team of key figures who are retiring or completing their service with the Church will swap the sofa for safety gear – and a 150 foot abseil down the iconic Forth Bridge! They will be part of a team of staff and supporters who will be raising money for CrossReach’s Children and Family Services. The Principal Clerk and former Moderator, Very Rev. Dr. John Chalmers said he was tempted by the thrill of abseiling down the side of the iconic 127 year-old rail bridge on Saturday May 28th. He will be joined by the outgoing Moderator, Rt. Rev. Dr. Russell Barr and the retiring Chief Executive of CrossReach Peter Bailey. Collectively, they are known as ‘The 3 Formers’. Dr. Chalmers said: “I care passionately about the work that CrossReach is doing in Christ’s name across the whole of Scotland and I’d be thrilled if you would support our team with a donation.” The abseil, organised by the Rotary Club of South Queensferry, raised over £103,000 last year and CrossReach hopes the money raised will make a difference to the lives of many people using services such as the Daisy Chain Early Years Project and CrossReach’s range of counselling services. Donations for the team can be made at: https:// John-Chalmers3

Me and My Job Natalie Moran has been a Support Worker at Threshold Glasgow for almost 6 years, helping people with learning disabilities

What made you decide to work for CrossReach? I was a student at the Nautical College and this was my placement. I wasn’t too ecstatic at first – I was very nervous about it, but now I absolutely love it. Service Leader John Duncanson said to me to apply for a job but I was still nervous as a student in case I didn’t get the job, but I did and I’ve been here ever since! What is it about the job that excites you? I think it’s because the service users are real people and you’re in their life. Every day is different and you can have such a positive impact on someone’s life by doing things with them, so at night you go home and feel good about yourself. I would like to think that I make a difference to their quality of life.

You must make very close relationships with the clients you work with? Yes. I don’t think you can help that, even if you have a heart of stone. I think that’s what drives me to come into work more than the wages – to want to know they’re all right and how they’re getting on. Now that I’m part-time I find myself thinking ‘I wonder how that person is? I’ve not seen them in a long time’. I’m doing Learning Disability Nursing at University which was an outcome of working here, because it made me think that I wanted to go further and help more here than I currently do. Do you think CrossReach gives you opportunities to further your career? Definitely. And not just the training but also the support you get from management. At my supervision for example I’m constantly being pushed to do more things in such an encouraging way that I felt I had the confidence to go to University. I feel that I’ve been given a good base and knowledge to push myself further. What’s been the most rewarding thing? We had a customer who was really unwell and I thought he was never going to bounce back but he did. I got to go on

a service user holiday with him and a year later he passed away, but the time that we spent on that holiday was great – just the fact that he was so poorly and he got himself better than he was and that’s probably the thing I treasure the most. People with learning disabilities can have a lot of needs. Does that make it more difficult to work with them? When I first started at age 20 it was very challenging, but you get so much training and support that when something does happen you can phone on call and they help you and before you know it you’re normal again and able to cope. Everyone is very supportive. The door is always open to come in and discuss something, no matter when it is, or if you have a problem your manager will phone you to make sure you’re all right – they notice a difference in you and you don’t get that in a lot of places. Do you see yourself still being here in a few years even when you get your new qualification? I would like to stay here. I think there’s a lot of things that I could bring to Threshold Glasgow with the qualifications that I really would like to be still working here.

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Jim offers a warm welcome

Jim Dick volunteers at the Polmont Prison Visitors Centre Family Hub & Bus. One afternoon a week, Jim boards the CrossReach bus which is parked at the entrance area of Polmont Young Offenders Institution. The brightly painted double decker bus had its paintwork, design and name created by the young people in Polmont and has been refurbished inside to provide a welcoming and supportive space where visitors can relax before and after visits. There’s a play area for children with toys and books. Jim volunteers to greet visitors, provide refreshments and tell them what practical support is available. He says he gets a lot out of the role: “It’s local to me and I feel I make a difference by being here. Bus volunteers need to be friendly, nonjudgemental and welcoming towards visitors.” Jim volunteers with a staff team who really value what he does. There are always trained staff on board, but having volunteers to ‘meet and greet’ visitors can free up valuable staff time for individual appointments. Manager of the service Marie Cairns believes that recruiting, training and supporting volunteers is time well spent: “We could do with more ‘Jims’ so that every day the bus is open, we have a volunteer on board.” If you would like to get on the bus and start your volunteer journey, please contact Marie on: 01324 722330 or e-mail:


CrossReach Volunteers diversity is our strength!

CrossReach has over 500 volunteers in its services in Scotland with a huge diversity of volunteer roles ranging from befrienders who bring ‘therapets’ into care homes; to art therapy volunteers in our counselling services; to garden and maintenance volunteers; to play volunteers in our Children and Family services; to name just a few! We also have experience in supporting some service users into volunteering, giving them valuable experience and skills. In October 2016, Lindsey Gray joined CrossReach as the Volunteer Development Officer, working in the ConneXions team with Tanya Anderson and Richa Chaudry. Since starting Lindsey has been working on developing a new Service Volunteer Plan for the organisation. Lindsey explained more to CrossReach News: “Volunteering is already a key component within the organisation, which I immediately became aware of after helping carry out a volunteer auditing review for Volunteer Scotland in December 2016. It then became clear that the development of a corporate volunteer plan would assist every service in CrossReach in building the brand image of volunteering for CrossReach, whilst also adding clarity and an agreed pathway for service volunteers from first enquiry to getting settled in a volunteer role. The aim is to launch a re-designed volunteer page on the CrossReach website (www. at the Heart & Soul event on Sunday 21st May in Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh. Please come and visit us on the day! We will also be promoting the page during the UK Volunteers’ Week 2017 - a national event which takes place from 1st to 7th June: Going forward, we will be using social media to promote our volunteering opportunities and to attract people into volunteering with CrossReach. The ConneXions team are already thinking ahead to The Year of Young People (YOYP) in 2018 as it presents an opportunity for CrossReach to recruit younger volunteers into our services. All in all, it’s an exciting time to be a volunteer!”

CrossReach News, May 2017  

CrossReach News May 2017, Issue 2 Catch up on news from CrossReach

CrossReach News, May 2017  

CrossReach News May 2017, Issue 2 Catch up on news from CrossReach