I met up with Ryan and Suzanne in Argyll and Bute to talk about the importance of relationships. Ryan and Suzanne have known each other for around four years as Ryan was leaving high school and moving on to college. Ryan’s previous worker was leaving for maternity leave and Ryan and Suzanne began working together.

You can find out Ryan and Suzanne’s responses to our questions below.

What makes a good relationship between a worker and a young person?

Listen to the Audio: 


Ryan: Of course there’s the whole element of trust, honesty, that kind of stuff. I can’t be, like, if I’m lying to Suzanne about something, she can’t do her job properly.

Suzanne: And she knows!

Ryan: And you know, yes. There’s trust, there’s respect. One of the things I like is availability because we’re always – I mean maybe not me because I don’t answer my emails, but we are available to each other. So it’s like if I ever have a problem, as long as it’s a reasonable time of the day, I can phone her or I can email her. Usually, I email her because I’m not good on the phone. Good listening – she’s done enough of it over the last four years! I know she’s good at it because she does everything that I want. And communication. Just keeping up communication. You’re always sending me emails, or phoning in and checking on me and finding out stuff and she’s always got helpful tips and everything. So, I hope I’ve summed that up correctly.

Suzanne: I think so. And sometimes it’s more than that, though, isn’t it?

Ryan: Yea

Suzanne: It’s about how we get on together and the time we spend together.

Ryan: I’m fine with you. I’ve never had any trouble with you. That’s the best way to put it.

Suzanne: No, I can’t say the same thing, right enough.

Ryan: No, yes I could be a bit temperamental at times.

Suzanne: Ryan went into foster care at the age of 8 months and has been in that same placement all that time. He’s now post-21 and he was looked after under the old Act, and his foster carer has insisted that ‘this is Ryan’s home’. Ryan stays at Lorna’s house, Ryan calls Lorna ‘Mum’ and is very much a part of that family. And in a way, and I’m not saying that you do not deserve it, but you’re so lucky to have had that opportunity.

Ryan: I’m very lucky. I’m happy where I am

Suzanne: You are very happy. You are. And you’re very lucky. But it’s a good fit and that’s why it’s worked so well, isn’t it?

Ryan: Yes

What is your most vivid memory of each other?

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Ryan: The one I have of you is the pathways meetings that we used to have.

Suzanne: So one of my most vivid memories of you is your bow-ties.

Ryan: Oh, yeah.

Suzanne: and one of the first times that I actually did meet you was when I went to one of your LAAC reviews and you actually hosted your own LAAC review.

Suzanne: So you pretty much chaired his own LAAC review, you know we’re talking [straightens papers] “Right everybody, listen up”

Ryan: I think it was for the last five or six LAAC reviews that I did. I decided I was going to chair them because, why not? Power trip you could call it, I don’t know, but I wanted to because I was given all the reports and I was looking over them. The first one I did a few years ago and I was like looking at all this writing in front of me. But then as I started to read it I was like “wait, this is about me. I have to be invested in it”, so I was. It was good to chair it because then I was kind of – I had a better understanding of it all.

Suzanne: And it’s great for your confidence as well. And those types of skills that you learn at these types of things you transfer them into other walks of life, and that’s why they’ve been so important to you when you’ve been at college and moving on into employment as well.

What do you do for each other that really makes a difference?

Listen to the audio: 


Ryan: Suzanne goes through, can I say the word ‘hell’ for me? Hell and back for me. She does. You have done in the past, selflessly, without question. She’s just – if something’s not right, she will go through any obstacle to get it corrected. You’ve basically done everything you can – you’ve supported everything. She’s always someone I can turn around and say – like I’m at the moment, if my mother brings up something at home saying “oh you need to get this form filled in” or whatever it is. I’ll say “I don’t know what I’m doing with that” and she’ll say “well, you know who you can contact. Go phone Suzanne”. Or email her and say “I need help with this” and she’s always – she’s just there.

Suzanne: I think you’re very good at listening to advice, you’re very good at reflecting. A couple of times I’ve maybe come out to the house and maybe you’ve not been as pleasant as I’ve been expecting, however, you’ve apologised if you’ve not been very polite or you know when you’ve not done something that perhaps I’ve advised you to do. And you apologise for that. And you always ensure that you do it eventually.

Ryan: I do make amends, yes.

Suzanne: You absolutely do. And you know, you do listen to advice. You know right from wrong. You’ve got great values, you want to get out, you want to find employment, you keep ploughing away. You’ve got that commitment and that resilience to move forward.

Why do you think relationships are important?

Listen to the audio: 


Ryan: Well, to put it bluntly, if I didn’t like you, it wouldn’t work. Like if we didn’t like each other it wouldn’t work.

Suzanne: Well, I know that.

Ryan: You know it’s that kind of…you have to be on the same page. You know, I would never, ever say no to her [laughs]. You know you’re always right. It’s always going to be the same thing. I’m not saying that in a bad way, I’m saying that in a good way. She’s always right – she knows what she’s doing. If the worker and young person aren’t getting on or they’re not communicating properly then nothing can really happen. Because if they don’t know what each other wants, you know if the worker doesn’t know what the young person wants, they can’t implement anything, so it just grinds to a halt.

Suzanne: I think that the young person has got to know that the worker cares. I think that’s fundamental. Because you know I want the best for you.

Ryan: Yes, I do.

Suzanne: and you can see that, right?

Ryan: yup.

Suzanne: so without that, you’re very attuned to how people are and their genuinity and I think you can pick up on that.