As I prepare to move on from Staf and start my new journey as a university student, I would like to reflect on the past few years of my involvement with Staf as someone with lived experience and thank all those who have supported and inspired me over the last 4 years.

I first joined Staf as a volunteer with project return when I was 17. I learned a lot through the project and had opportunities to meet with lots of people, including the First Minister, and speak about the importance of mental health and trauma awareness and resources for people with lived experience. Through this project I met Cheryle who is now leading on delivering mental health and wellbeing hubs in Glasgow in Edinburgh for Care experienced week in October. I am really proud of the contributions I have made to this project and happy to see the important work we started continue with the support of Staf.

Shaun third from right with Nicola Sturgeon and members of Project Return

Covid-19 was a long 2 years of adjusting with priorities changing for everyone. Although Covid-19 shut things down and changed the way we lived, it also further highlighted the importance of mental health and wellbeing support, especially for those who are care experienced who may have already been isolated before the pandemic. This is why we decided to host our first mental health and wellbeing hub in Glasgow in 2022 for those with lived experience to engage with the services and resources that are available.


I have also had the opportunity to sit on interview panels and interviewed our amazing Communications Officer, Marion. I have worked closely with Marion on projects and have learned a lot from her from my time here, which I hope to take into my Multimedia course at university. 

I also got to work with IFCO (International Foster Care Organisation) and meet lots of great people, including – Donya, Iris and Wee John. Through my work with Staf and IFCO I got to go abroad to Malta and made so many great connections and the opportunity to try lots of new experiences. 

I have even co-hosted Staf’s Summit alongside Jo, which was a highlight. I was really nervous, but I really enjoyed it and would be happy to come back again to co-host and treat you all to my amazing banter again.

Shaun and Staf CEO at Staf Summit 2023 

More recently, while supporting the evaluation of the Scottish mentoring and leadership programme, I had the opportunity to visit and stay in Skye with Columba 1400’s residential leadership academy. We spent 4 days in Skye, partaking in the leadership academy and met so many brilliant people there. At times, I was completely out of my comfort zone and struggled with some elements of the residential, but I am glad I did it and learned a lot from it and got an experience of a lifetime.

Shaun and Katrina on sunny Skye as part of the Scottish Mentoring and Leadership Programme Evaluation of Columba 1400

I am grateful for all the opportunities I have had at Staf, all the people I have met along the way and everything I have learned. There is too many people to thank but I want to give thanks to the team at Staf who made me feel part of a team so easily.

It’s been a great journey to be on and I know as I embark on my new chapter of university life (woohoo) I know I am always welcome at Staf and will keep in touch with those I have worked with over the last 4 years and will continue to keep an eye on the great things Staf are doing.

Special shout out to – Thomas Carlton. Sound guy.