Through our Investing in Communities programme families and individuals in greatest need from across Scotland have this week benefited from funding worth £9 million. Amongst the 13 successful projects is Stepping Stones for Families which will provide additional support for 180 parents across early years centres in Glasgow and Kilmarnock. Their support will help more young people like mum of three Kellie Flanagan, 26, of Lambhill, Glasgow to cope with issues faced in their everyday family life.
Lone parent Kellie is a full time mum to Kara, nine, Kerris, five and two year-old Kaseea. She’s been supported by Stepping Stones for the last 15 months.
She says: “When I came here I was very depressed and low. I didn’t have much confidence and I suppose I was struggling to cope, but I didn’t initially think it was me who needed help, I came here as my youngest daughter Kaseea was really shy and I was looking to get some help with her.”
But Stepping Stones have done much more than simply help with Kaseea’s shyness, Kellie explains:
“Things couldn’t be more different now. Before Kaseea just seemed to be retreating into her shell. Now she’s still wary of strangers but with her cousins and friends she can just get on and play which could never have happened before. But that’s just one way my key worker Steph has helped me to be a better mum to my girls and to look after myself.
“Steph has helped me to deal with my depression, to get it sorted. She has also supported me as I’ve been seeking treatment and an autism assessment for Kerris.”
In fact alongside Kaseea’s shyness Kerris’ behaviour was one of Kellie’s biggest worries. In the past Kellie found herself isolated when she tried to push for an autism assessment and the lack of belief from professionals was a key factor her own mental health deterioration.
Kellie says, “From the start Steph has been brilliant. She’s been really supportive when I’ve been trying to get Kerris sorted out and been the person who has encouraged me to believe in my instincts and not to take no for an answer. Now Kerris is due for this assessment we will start to get the correct help for her.
“Steph has also arranged parenting classes for me so I now understand why the girls behave as they do sometimes and gives me strategies to try and deal with them. Stepping Stones are helping me to be the best mum I can be so my girls will get the best start I can give them. I know they’ll be here as long as I need them and it’s that bit of support that makes all the difference to people in the same position as me.”
Welcoming the funding Isobel Lawson, CEO, Stepping Stones for Families, said: “This funding will make a significant difference to the lives of families and young children in Glasgow and the Onthank community in Kilmarnock. Stepping Stones for Families has been building an innovative family health and wellbeing approach to early intervention work and this funding will allow us to sustain the work for another five years. Parents who engage with the service will be very relieved and excited to hear the news.”