Choosing to put families first

Based in Ruchazie in the east end of Glasgow, Quarriers Family Resource Centre offers flexible support for families with children aged 0-12 years.

Taking a holistic approach to family health and wellbeing, the service works with around 100 families from the local community, providing integrated early childhood education and care, outreach support, and direct work with families, groups and individuals.

Every facet of the service shares one common goal: encouraging nurturing and bonding within families. Deputy Manager Rhonda McKinney explains that many of the parents who attend the centre may have been affected by trauma, abuse or gang culture when they were children, and as a result, they feel isolated and have low self-esteem.

The service offers a range of group work, drop-in sessions and one-to-one support options, giving families choice and control over their support. There is no waiting list, and in addition to referrals from health care organisations and social work, families can self-refer by coming along to the centre.

One particularly successful initiative at the centre is Funday Monday, an after-school session where children and parents can simply enjoy playing together. The activities, which include games and crafts, can be easily replicated at home: for example, homemade play dough can be made with a few lost-cost ingredients, and is a fun learning experience for both parents and children. Funday Monday has become so popular that the centre has also started running Wacky Wednesday sessions to meet demand.

The centre has been running a fathers’ group for over ten years, which gives fathers the chance to take time out from their caring role. While fathers’ groups can be difficult to sustain, Quarriers has seen this group grow from strength to strength by ensuring that the service responds to their needs and giving group members choice over what activities they do.

Through funding from grants including The Albert Hunt Trust and The RKT Harris Charitable Trust, the group has been able to try speed boating and abseiling in addition to activities such as making bread, and even simply having a chat within the group. These activities help to address poor mental and physical health and improve wellbeing, which in turn helps to improve relationships between the fathers and their children.

For some fathers, the group is the only time they have to themselves, and this can be a lifeline. John, who has been attending the group for six years, suffers from depression, and says the group has been a breath of fresh air. He has made real friends through the sessions and appreciates the support that the group members give each other.

Coming to the group has made a huge difference for father of two Willie. Willie has an acquired brain injury, and when he first began coming to the group, his confidence was very low and he rarely spoke up. At one of these early sessions, Rhonda noticed that Willie always carried a camera with him, and starting a conversation about this led to Willie taking on the role of the group’s official photographer. Through this, his confidence has soared, and he now happily contributes to discussions. For Willie, the group has given him freedom to develop his own interests, and reminded him that he has other roles than being a dad.

Quarriers believes that this model of service delivery is so successful because it creates a place where families feel safe and accepted, regardless of their individual situation. By giving families choice about the support they receive, the service is helping them to develop confidence in their parenting abilities, thereby strengthening family relationships and ensuring that their children look forward to a brighter future.

The service is successful because it is a place where families feel safe and accepted, regardless of their situation.

  • Rhonda McKinney, Depute Project Manager