Cuong and James have been working together for around 1 year, after Cuong moved to the UK. I met with Cuong and James in Falkirk to find out more about their relationship and to ask them why they think relationships are important.

During the interview, Cuong and James talked about what makes a good relationship between a worker and a young person. Cuong talked about how it makes him feel happy when other people help him out with something that he needs. James told me that it’s important to be open, honest, sincere, compassionate and receptive to young people. He also said “skip the jargon. Explain it to a young person in a way that they understand”.

Cuong and James shared a memory of climbing the Meikle Bin, the highest mountain in the Campsie Fells. They went along with a group of other young people and workers. James described his joy at Cuong’s reaction: how he enjoyed the scenery, took an interest in the wildlife and had a fun day out.

I asked Cuong and James what they do for each other that really makes a difference. Cuong told me that James’ support with language makes a huge difference to him. When he doesn’t understand something, Cuong often feels shy.

James told me that Cuong brings a light into the equation. He described Cuong as a pleasant and polite young man with very healthy routines in his life, including cycling to the gym and his language classes.

I asked James and Cuong why they thought relationships are important. Cuong told me that he is alone and doesn’t have family here, but he has a good relationship with James and some other people in the area. He described feeling loved and said that James was like a dad.

James talked about how “relationships are the whole foundation of any work that we do.” He talked about how the process can be a slow one and that some young people respond quicker than others, but if you be yourself and make the young person feel at ease the relationship can come on quickly. James talked about how, for him, being a father has helped him in his role. “I just apply all the same things. You care for young people naturally, you wouldn’t see a young person struggling or be stuck for anything. And I think our whole team has that view on things as well. That’s what makes the job worthwhile to come into.”