This year has seen the launch of three innovative projects at Staf, and with it coming to a close, we thought we'd take a look back at the highlights of all three, as well as an insight into what to expect in 2020!

From Mapping Relationships to Building Relationships
by Papoula Petri Romão, Learning and Development Project Worker

Relationships are at the heart of everything – we at Staf know that and we know that you do, too. That is why we are creating a resource that collates all the best ways to build lasting and meaningful relationships and can help you identify ways to make your support more relationship-centred.

It has been an incredible year for this project. Starting in January with the extensive consultation and research project ‘Mapping Relationships’ and launching the creation phase ‘Building Relationships’ this autumn...



Mapping Relationships

After 6 months, 22 visits, 100 survey responses and 3 workshops, we have engaged with approximately 150 people (from at least 30 organisations) who have told us what relationships mean in their service, how they build them and what they would look for in this resource. Over the next year we will be sharing the result with our members at events and through our social media – keep an eye out for a notification!


                              (map of the visits)

Building Relationships

The current phase of the project is called ‘Building Relationships’, in which we will focus on bringing people together in an Advisory Group that will guide the design and content of the resource. It is all about building relationships between organisations and between people with work experience and care experience. Most importantly, it is about identifying the building blocks to good relationships and capturing them all in this resource.

How to get involved?

The Advisory Group will be meeting once a month in different locations across Scotland. The first meeting is in Glasgow on the 16th of January. Get in touch with [email protected] for more information.

The project is funded by The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

A Year of Youth Justice Voices
by Ruth Kerracher, Youth Justice Participation Worker

Youth Justice Voices works with young people who are care and justice experienced and is funded by Life Changes Trust 

It’s been a great first year for Youth Justice Voices, and I have really enjoyed worked collaboratively across Staf and the Centre for Youth & Criminal Justice (CYCJ). I have been impressed by the workforce’s support and enthusiasm for the project and I feel we have developed some really good partnerships which I hope will continue in the New Year.

The project simply wouldn’t work, if we didn’t have passionate workers, who believe in their young people and have worked tirelessly to ensure that they can participate in the project. Undoubtedly the real highlight for me, has to be, the work of Youth Just Us. I feel really privileged that I have had the opportunity to work alongside such an amazing group of young people. The group’s commitment and motivation to use their experiences to influence change within the care and justice systems has been truly inspiring. In a matter of months they participated in the Independent Care Review; met the Minister for Children and Young People, Maree Todd, recorded a podcast with Deputy First Minister John Swinney on the care-experienced bursary, shared their views on the Disclosure (Scotland) Bill and submitted a response to the Scottish Government consultation on UNCRC Incorporation.

This year hasn’t been without its struggles, and I have seen first-hand how our young people continue to experience difficult and complex challenges. I have also seen young people go on to achieve incredible things and overcome adversity.

We are keen to ensure that Youth Justice Voices extends its reach and offers creative opportunities for young people to express themselves. So October saw us launch Artivism which is a joint collaboration between Youth Justice Voices and Articulate. Led by Glasweigan artist Scott Lang the group have been working alongside him to express their experiences through photo montage. We will continue this arm of the project in the New Year, as they develop their work further through stencil making and spray paint. Watch this space for the exhibition showcase!

We will also be planning the next steps for Youth Just Us and will be looking for more young people to join our youth-led steering group. I am also excited to announce that we will be collaborating with Barnardo’s Outside In Project within HMYOI Polmont establishing a new Youth Justice Voices Project for care-experienced young people on long term sentences.



Get in touch with [email protected] for further information.


Reflecting on 2019: Project Return
by Jenny Ferguson, Project Return Development Worker

Project Return launched in September this year, with our first steering group meeting, and since then the project has continued to soar: the groups determination and insight has been astounding so far. Collectively they have shared their individual goals and desires for the project and these have been placed as building blocks for setting an overarching goal - to create a resource which supports young people at the throughcare and aftercare stage.

What has also been lovely to see is the role that relationships have played not only in the aims of the project but also within the steering group, with our Tuesday night sessions naturally holding a time and a space for peer support.

Here are my highlights from each of our fantastic sessions:

  • When the group began, a Group Agreement was designed, laying out what they needed as members to feel heard and valued.


  • The group created their very own future Facebook post timeline, outlining the changes they hoped the project would bring   

  • Lego was used creatively to bring together our individual goals and think about the collective aim of the project.


  • The group dressed in different hats in our 5th meeting and used these to think differently about our collective aim and our pathway to making this change a reality.


  • In our last gathering we focused on the groups identity and have pulled together a whole host of ideas for how we would like the to be known… so watch this space come January for our group branding.


  • We also have had three outings, to an escape room where we worked together to recover a long-lost diamond, to Staf’s Celebrating Connection event and the latest to The Experiences Go Karting track. 


Looking ahead to 2020 we have big plans for Project Return, in January the group will start on their planned pathway for change. Beginning by designing a series of workshops across Scotland, this will see the group gain skills and further confidence, whilst also allowing for others with care experience and the care workforce to have their voice heard in this project. This is projected to launch in spring time.

As well as this, the group will begin their Community Achievement Award in January, which given the groups commitment and skills they are set to achieve a level 7, the equivalent of a HNC. January will also see our friends from the Good Shepherd Centre visiting the project, on Tuesday 7th, showcasing their holistic sources of support. More info can be found here.

Additionally a Glasgow based Care Experience Choir is being launched early next year. This will allow relationships and music to take centre stage as a source of support. 

For more information about the projects you can follow Papoula, Ruth and Jenny on twitter, and sign up to our monthly newsletter.