Evidence in action

Grandparents Apart UK
Grandparents Apart UK is a volunteer led organisation supporting grandparents who are experiencing difficulties in maintaining, or who have been denied, contact with their grandchildren.  About Families hosted discussion sessions with Grandparents Apart UK self help group members, in Kilmarnock and Glasgow to find out more about the service offered and the difference  it had made to families.  About Families then worked with Grandparents Apart UK to develop a survey for its members and to analyse the results in order to find out more information.  A system for continuing to gather the views of their members was also developed.

Capability Scotland
Capability Scotland campaigns with, and provides services for more than 1,000 disabled children and adults across Scotland. Capability Scotland recognised the importance of sharing the Together and Apart topic report with parents of disabled children, as well as providing support for parents experiencing family change.

During February 2012, About Families hosted discussion sessions with parents of disabled children in Stanmore House School and Corseford School. These discussion sessions explored the unique pressures on relationships experienced by families affected by disability. Along with the topic report, these discussions informed the development of on-line support for parents and families, now available on the Capability Scotland website.

The resource will be monitored by Capability Scotland staff and regularly updated. Leaflets will be distributed to raise awareness of the resource.

“It has given me a true insight into an area of family relationships that I was not aware of and now take into consideration when talking with parents… The parents feel like they were listened to and well represented …[I’ve learnt] the need for new ways to engage parents, the importance of not moulding what parents have to say to fit a desired outcome and the benefits of partnership working.” (Sam Louden, Children’s Services Manager, Capability Scotland)

Heart to Heart
Heart to Heart provide confidential support to men and women who have been affected by divorce or separation. About Families worked with them to help develop services which were more responsive to the needs of parents who have experienced relationship difficulties.

We worked on developing a toolkit for volunteers and staff to support parents. Together, we developed an online survey to gain more understanding about the views and experiences of parents (exploring what areas they want support with) and held a focus group with parents who had used Heart to Heart services. We took the key themes which came out of this work, issues such as anger, communication, forgiveness, anxiety and looking forward, to link them to the key findings from Together and Apart: Supporting families through change, within the toolkit.

Since the toolkit was developed, Heart to Heart has launched a new support project, H2H Parent, which has been specifically designed to support parents to cope better with divorce and separation.

As a result of working with About Families, in the future Heart to Heart will make:
“time to discuss how the research evidence relates to services and to consider how services could be developed to incorporate what the evidence says as well as feedback from parents. For example, the research evidence informed the development of the survey and focus group discussions.” (Ruth Kennedy, Development Co-ordinator, Heart to Heart)

Promoting Positive Messages
Scottish Marriage Care and Relationships Scotland both provide counselling and mediation support to couples and families experiencing difficult relationships.  After both organisations participated in the Together and Apart forum event, About Families worked with them to develop a ‘Promoting Positive Messages’ project which subsequently secured funding. We worked with them to develop an online resource for parents and couples who are experiencing relationship difficulties. The resource will increase understanding around how to sustain healthy relationships and manage relationship difficulties as well as promote the message that it is OK to talk about relationships.
Read the resource here.

“The reports have bridged the gap between academic research and practice. They are easy to read and have been really helpful… both the organisations reported that they were ‘convinced’ of the need to embed ‘evidence’ into any future project development plans… The ‘process’ set up by About Families really gave us an insight and a framework for taking forward future pieces of work.” (Gay Hickey, Head of Public Affairs, Relationships Scotland & Sally McElroy, Relationship Counsellor, Scottish Marriage Care)

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