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CrossReach Week 2016 - Transforming Lives

CrossReach Week 2016 - Transforming Lives

Having recently made the transition from living in the Ballikinrain campus to taking up residency in the 4 bedroom Finniescroft Farm, two of the boys we support were keen to welcome Rt Rev Dr and Mrs Barr to their home today. 


After the guests arrived, it wasn’t long before the enthusiastic welcome translated into a grand tour of the building and grounds.  Tales of the activities the boys enjoy, their achievements and their likes and dislikes flowed as they walked and talked.

The warmth of connection between the hosts and guests was tangible.

Moving from the more traditional school setting for supported children has been an ongoing process for the CrossReach Children and Family services.  Having carefully considered what Getting It Right For Every Child is in terms of looked after children, the decision was made to move towards establishing smaller Home Life Settings.  A smaller house promoting a feel of ‘home’ will by nature provide increased circles of support and a sense of nurture and security.

Finniescroft Farm opened on 5th September 2016 and the benefits of this model of support are already clear.  The children have been freed up to be children.  As they no longer experience the peer pressure often present in traditional large campus settings , they have become freed up to be themselves and are more engaged with their surroundings and the people who support them.

Looking to remove the stigma which so often prevents looked after children thriving and succeeding, the smaller Home Life Settings open the way for the building of responsible citizenship and increased community involvement.   The boys and staff team at Finniescroft Farm were therefore delighted when Rev Jane Denniston, Minister at Campsie Parish Church, also visited today to welcome the home into the community.

Tearing themselves away from what was an incredibly inspirational time of sharing and learning, the party of guests travelled on to visit Her Majesties Young Offenders Institution in Polmont.  With a particular focus on the CrossReach Family Bus, the Rt Rev Dr Barr was keen to hear about the continuing family support offered, even when things go wrong.

Everyone has the ability to make choices – some of those choices can be very beneficial and others less so.  For the young people in HMYOI, they have made choices which have clearly not been the best decisions for them, bringing them into the Criminal Justice system.  

Sue Brooks  the Governor of Polmont talked of the reasons many young people end up in circumstances which lead them to HMYOI Polmont citing trauma, loss, bereavement and abuse as some of the common difficulties these young people have experienced and struggled to deal with in their lives.

CrossReach has built considerable experience in supporting families experiencing the significant impact of both loved one’s imprisonment, and providing wider family support in these circumstances. Visitors Centres are a resource proven to reduce the immediate problems of visiting a relative in prison, and helping maintain relationships in the longer term.

As a Visitors Centre, the Family Bus facilitates maintaining (and often strengthening) the connection of the person who is on the inside with their family on the outside.  This can often bring stability and reduce reoffending on release.

At the conclusion of the visit, The Rt Rev Dr and Mrs Barr indicated they were both moved and enthused by the resourceful way CrossReach uses the converted double decker bus to support the transformation of lives that could easily be devastated by the circumstances experienced, bringing a real sense of hope.

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Charis House, 47 Milton Road East, Edinburgh, EH15 2SR
Tel: 0131 657 2000 Email: info@crossreach.org.uk