I met Diarmid and Bobby in Argyll and Bute and interviewed them to find out their thoughts in the importance of relationships in the lives of care-experienced young people.

Diarmid and Bobby have known each other, on and off, for around eight years. Bobby, in a previous role, used to work in the house Diarmid lived in. Years later, their paths crossed again when Bobby changed jobs.

You can read the responses to our questions below.

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

Diarmid: Trust. That’s all I can say, trust. There’s nothing else really. As long as you can trust them, then you’re fine. Well, in my head anyway.

Bobby: I think its trust and I think listening to young people and being honest with them. I think sometimes people are too quick to judge care-experienced young people and I think sometimes, when you’re trying to build a relationship as an adult with a young person, it’s difficult. It’s hard because they’ve maybe been let down quite a few times by adults in their lives. So, as Diarmid says, I think trust is that kind of underpinning value there. If you’ve got trust, if you trust each other, you build on that and you get respect.

What are your most vivid memories of each other?

Diarmid: I don’t know. I see him and I think of golf.


Cheryl: Why do you think of golf, if you don’t mind me asking?

Diarmid: Because years ago when I was in care, Bobby’s partner actually used to be my support worker in the care home, and I knew you liked golf. And when I was going through a tough time she used to try to get me to go to golf.

Cheryl: And what about you Bobby? What’s your most vivid memory?

Bobby: Oh you’re going to love me for this Diarmid.

Diarmid: Oh no…

Bobby: My most vivid memory – Diarmid was standing on the kitchen table and I was trying to talk him down, to get him to come off the table. He wasn’t having it. That wasn’t even the kitchen table, it was the breakfast bar. Diarmid do you remember that?

Diarmid: I forgot about that. I forgot you were there before I left. He also used to work in the care home that I stayed in. I wasn’t on my best behaviour at that point. I was only 14.

Bobby: You had good days and you had days you were a bit off. And that’s my most vivid memory with Diarmid because, it’s funny in these situations because you think “is this a crisis?” and you think “no, it’s just a young person standing on the table. It’s not a crisis.”


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

Diarmid: Every time I phone, if I explain something, the last thing he says, and he says it at the end of every, actually every phone call, every conversation that we have. If I need anything I’m just to phone him straight up and he’ll try to help me as much as he can. I was staying down in Dumfries for six months and I had to get a letter to the homeless to try and get accommodation. I literally phoned Bobby up that day and by the end of the day there was already a letter there explaining my circumstances and that, which helped me actually get a house.

Bobby: I think Diarmid is incredibly resourceful, and he’s grown up tremendously since he was a young teenager. The young man that I’ve come back into contact with is kind of…if he wants something, he’ll go and do it. Diarmid was going for potentially quite a difficult interview with homeless, and I just couldn’t be there. I said “Why don’t you try and maybe put it off and I’ll come and support you?” He recognised that he maybe needed support, someone to give him some emotional encouragement, but he went and did it himself.

Why do you think relationships are important?

Bobby: I think with Diarmid, working in the children’s house was at times a different relationship that I had with Diarmid. In that kind of environment, there were a lot of rules and boundaries. But I think the important thing is that I think I always felt that I respected Diarmid. You know there were things we had and we might not have laughed about it at the time.

Diarmid: I can’t say the feeling was mutual at the time.

Bobby: Aye, at the time. But you know, years later when we’ve got back in touch, I think it’s been that experience we’ve had then has given us the basis of rekindling that relationship, and helping Diarmid now, either trying to do things with him or signposting him to things that will help him. That he still feels he can come back and say “Bobby, I need a wee bit of help, can you help me?” and it’s an honour to feel that Diarmid feels that we’ve got that kind of relationship. Because there’s a big gap of years between when I first met him and when we got back in contact.

Diarmid: Can I just say something? That was a good answer! It is right though, because it makes more sense. It’s easier having a relationship with someone that you’ve had a past relationship with, instead of someone random that doesn’t know you at all. There’s things that certain people don’t know about me that social work know about me which makes it easier. But aye, it makes it easier if you’ve had a past relationship with them. It makes it easier with him. I can talk to him. He knows everything anyway, so it’s just easier to talk to him about it. It really doesn’t matter. He doesn’t judge me, so I’m not caring what I tell him. I just tell him it.