In the last year the Relationships Scotland Network received over 30,000 calls from people across the country, an increase of 50% from the year before.
Many went on to receive face-to-face support through relationship counselling, family mediation, child contact services and many other forms of related family support, whilst others will have received information, advice and referrals to other agencies. Our network of 22 Local Services have helped families cope with relationship problems, separation and divorce, and have helped to reduce conflict, improve communication and ensure that children are supported to manage changing family circumstances.
Our recent survey in partnership with Relate, The Way We Are Now 2014, found that even in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing world, relationships still act as shock absorbers when times are hard as well as helping us to achieve our goals. Crucially, the study found that people who enjoy good quality relationships also have higher levels of wellbeing, whilst relationships of poor quality are detrimental to wellbeing, health and how we feel about ourselves.
We are again grateful to the Scottish Government for their ongoing support of the Relationships Scotland Network as one of their Strategic Partners. Our Network involves over 1,000 people, including around 400 volunteers, across all of mainland and island Scotland, who all show tremendous commitment and dedication to supporting individuals, couples, children and families.
We warmly welcome the £2.3m in new funding from the Big Lottery in Scotland over the next five years for the work of our child contact centres. This new investment, shared across eight of our Local Services, will ensure that vulnerable children and their families will receive the additional support they need to help navigate the very difficult process of divorce and separation.
This past year has also seen over 130 people undertake new training as counsellors or mediators on one of our Diploma or other courses. We are also very pleased to have launched a new course focusing on sex addiction, which will enable Local Services to offer a new and unique specialist support service in many areas across the country.
The work of our Network supports the Scottish Government’s vision for Scotland and is rooted in the fundamental principles of prevention and early intervention. We fully support the aspirations of the new National Parenting Strategy and The Early Years Framework. Our work operates within the guiding principles of Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) and also supports several of the 15 National Outcomes which underpin the Single Outcome Agreement between the Scottish Government and every Local Authority in Scotland.
We would like to express our thanks to the 22 Local Services affiliated to Relationships Scotland who provide vital care and support to individuals, couples and families across the country. We would also like to pay particular thanks to the staff team at the Relationships Scotland National Office for their commitment to supporting our Local Services and the people they serve, and also to the National Board of Directors.
Finally we would again wish to thank the Scottish Government and the Big Lottery in Scotland for their ongoing support and we look forward to continuing to work together with them to enable our vision to become reality – Positive and Respectful Relationships at the Heart of Scotland.
Chief Executive – Stuart Valentine
Chair – Pamela Gordon