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Our Story

The Muirhead Outreach Project is an early intervention charity that works with families to keep them together through difficult and challenging times. We aim to minimise the impact trauma has on families and help them to break the trauma cycle. We work with the whole family to support them to build a foundation which helps strengthen their family bonds and to regulate and repair any familial breakdown. We are a self-referral service but also accept referrals from other third sector and statutory services.


Our aims are:
• Parents and children will have improved well-being.
• Parents and children will have improved self-esteem.
• Parents and children will have an increased sense of belonging
• Parents and children will have an increased sense of achievement.
• Families will have more positive experiences.
• Families will have more resilience.
• The impact of trauma will be lessened for families
• Families will be less isolated.
• Families will be alleviated of poverty.
• Children will display fewer concerning behaviours.


Family breakdown can be the result of relationship difficulties, individual problems, interpersonal difficulties, manifestation of earlier trauma or structural factors such as poverty. It is most likely a combination or interaction between these factors over a long period of time that can result in children ending up in care. With stress factors at a high and investment in the public at a low, the Muirhead Outreach Project provide early intervention with the intention of keeping families together, in their own communities, through challenging times. Providing timely support is vital, addressing a child or family's needs early on can reduce risk factors and increase protective factors in a child's life.



History

 

Muirhead was created in 2004 to work alongside social work and children's homes, to help support families to keep their children from being taken into care. Over the years, our services have developed and grown but our core mission is still to 'keep families together through challenging times'.

In the early days Muirhead was run from a 'shoe box' office with all the work being carried out in the communities or family homes. Staff supported social work to work with families. It may have been to do with getting a child back to school, building a parent's confidence or supporting children moving back to their family home. Work at this time was funded by social work or local fundraising. ​ 

As funding became more difficult and with local government experiencing cutbacks, social work was no longer able to fund the project and so we turned solely to applying for grants and fundraising. Workload increased and Muirhead were able to offer respite in the form of youth clubs and holiday clubs.  

In 2017 we completed a review of the work that we did. It was clear that staff were able to build good relationships and that children enjoyed their time at Muirhead. ​ However, staff would often drop children home only to hear how they were still experiencing difficulties at school or with their siblings. The question became, how can a charity, with limited funding, make sustainable changes in the lives of the families they support?  

​The answer, we believed, was in creating a program of work that would teach parents and their children the basics (in communication, emotions and de-escalating) before supporting them to build on this foundation. We had to meet our families where they were and work with them all. As a result, we became the only local organisation to work with the family, as a whole unit. 

In 2019 we changed our working model to become a self-referral service so we can respond to the first cry of help from families. We also accept referrals from other third sector organisations, social work, education and health care.  

Covid has had an enormous impact on the services we run. We went through another period of change, due to the pandemic, and felt our families would benefit more from family days in the holidays, the continuation of our foundation work, parent groups and workshops and counselling support rather than the youth clubs. Whilst we no longer hold the youth clubs, due to time, staff and volunteer restraints, as well as covid restrictions, we have links with another local charity who run youth groups. This means the young people we work with, have access to this important social connection and we provide a support and advice role. 

​In 2022, we worked with a counselling service to launch a pilot project. We now refer on to that project. 

What we do now

 

All newly referred families work through an 8-week foundation period where they learn about family routines, how to communicate in a positive way and how to effectively de-escalate. During this period, we work with the family as a whole – both parents and child (and anyone else that may stay in the home). We realise that sustainability means making changes for everyone in the home and, as a result of our inclusiveness, quality of life improves for all members of the family. ​

Our work currently compromises:


- Family support through our 8-week Foundation Work
- Parent’s peer support Group – Coffee and chat mornings for parents
- Teen Art Well-being group
- After school parent & play group
- Continued family support – additional ongoing family support
- Parents workshops – information nights where staff can support groups with topics such as, ‘Boosting self-esteem in children and teens’, ‘online safety’ or ‘confidence with talking to professionals.
- Charity Fundraising family days – Annual Muirhead Mile – now changing to the Rainbow Run Glenrothes - and Muirhead bake off. These are opportunities for families to participate in fundraising for their own service.
- Pet Therapy – 6 week per child 1-1 project.
- Access to a short break in our Caravan
- Family Fun days (holiday time). During holiday times we will host family fun days for all the family to come along to enjoy together.
- Food bank Referrals
- Referrals to Other Services


After the foundation period of work, additional support and access to groups become available to the family. This gives them a chance to continue their development and for us to maintain a connection with the family. These groups help provide the families with a sense of belonging, important social connections, a sense of achievement and a sense that life can be good! Our support continues throughout the school holidays where families can join us on activity days or take a break at our beach-side caravan.

 

The Future!

Due to the huge increase in referrals from a much wider geographical area, we aim to grow our charity in order to give support where needed. We aim to help families establish, maintain and nurture relationships. We want them to have a sense of belonging and purpose. A sense of belonging is crucial to life satisfaction, happiness, mental and physical health and even longevity. It gives us a sense of purpose and meaning. Research has shown that loss of belonging has been associated with stress,
illness and decreased wellbeing and depression. We want them to have the tools to repair and rebuild their connections and relationships and the resilience to continue that work throughout their lives.


Our vision is that any family who experiences difficulties, can overcome them and go on to have healthy relationships, positive connections and positive experiences.


We want to build partnerships with other organisations and become known as experts in repairing family relationships and helping families to break the trauma cycle. We want to be voice for families, creating change, reducing stigma and building relationships in all sectors.


To do this, we aim to develop our services by adding more staff, volunteers and services and creating hubs in the communities we support. We aim to drive our service forward by increasing the areas we work in and the number of people we can support.


We want to provide a flexible and understanding workplace, paying above the living wage. Our staff will be motivated, skilled and diverse and we will attract the right expertise to deliver our strategic priorities. We aim to help people back into the workforce thereby reducing the number of people relying on benefits. Studies show that employment provides improved self-esteem and better well-being. It provides a sense of purpose and achievement. Having high self-esteem is key to positive mental health and well-being. High self-esteem is also linked to pro-social behaviour and positive familial relationships. A 2014 study found higher self-esteem led to more loving and supportive relationships within families. High self-esteem is considered to be protective against many mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety. Low self-esteem is linked to depression and poor physical health. Low self-esteem is also linked to depression and poor physical health, achievements are central to our self-esteem and sense of self. We need to achieve to feel worthy, achieving something can make you feel on top of the world and boost your mood enhancing brain chemicals. This also links to Scotland, The Promise; where nurturing the workforce is key:


"Supporting the workforce to care must be at the heart of Scotland’s service planning. Supervision and reflective practice is essential for all practitioners, regardless of their professional discipline or role, who are working with children."
 

We want to diversify our income by gaining multi-year funding, creating and delivering workshops to other professionals and providing spaces for community hubs and rental to other organisations. We hope to secure funding for the Charity Development Officer salary in order to ensure our charity is continues to be here for the long-term.
We want to bring communities together through events that not only benefit the charity but the local area and society as a whole. Our Rainbow Run Glenrothes and our Muirhead Bake-off are two examples of events we hold which aims to increase income and participation year on year, bringing fun and a sense of community to the local people and other organisations.


We constantly strive to ensure isolation is reduced and the community has more opportunity for achieving and a stronger sense of belonging. We will work collaboratively to ensure that our community is able to shape their care, based on their needs. We will be reaching out to and forging bonds with local businesses and other organisations to share learning and good practise.

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Shannon Wright Service Manager

Shannon left school at the end of 6th year and went on to study additional needs at Fife college, she began working in Fife council off campus schools and went on to work in Child Residential Care, where she worked for 20 years. She continued to study and gained many qualifications, including HNC Social Care, SVQ level 2 & 3. She is also level 1 trained in Dyadic Development Psychotherapy. She has training in Talking Mats and a sound base on ADHD, ADD and Young People’s mental health.

She is the Child protection officer here at Muirhead and Fife’s first

Wave Trust Ambassador for the 70/30 campaign.

 

She is passionate about childcare and supporting parents’ to do be the best they can. She believes in a trauma informed approach and

enjoys helping others.

 

She is a busy wife and mum and you will find her spending a lot

of her spare time watching and supporting her children playing football. she enjoys reality TV, cooking and long walks with her dog.

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Janine Norris Charity Development Officer

Janine has worked for Mop since 2020, honing her skills through the lockdowns. She has a 1st class in Primary Education and uses those skills to write applications, secure funding and build relationships with funders and supporters. She also organises our events and family days. 

She has a wealth of experience in the charity sector. She volunteered on the committee for Fife Sands for 8 years as chair, treasurer and body and is now the vice-chair for the Sands Scotland steering group. She previously worked for Home-start Dunfermline and Trauma Healing Together. She is passionate about people receiving support for their mental health.

She's an avid reader and nature lover and loves wild swimming and camping with her husband and children.

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Linda Yorke Admin asst. and Secretary of our Trustees

Linda is our P/T Administrator.  She has a PA/administration background in various business sectors including insurance and financial advising;  pharmaceutical and retail. She is Fife born but lived in England for many years and on return to Scotland, found part-time work at Muirhead which provided an insight into the care sector and experience of the difference a small, caring charity can make in the community!  She enjoys assisting the professional team with the task of record-keeping and filing!   Her leisure time involves travel, knitting and eating out. 

 

 

Kris Ross  Family Support Worker  

Kris comes to us with a background of 20 years experience as a family worker. She ran a playgroup, specialising in under fives.

 

For several years she has run a youth club, expanding her understanding of working with older children and their families. Kris was a volunteer with Muirhead, for serval years, before joining the team.

 

Kris is a big fan of adventures! She always has a wee song in her heart,. She loves getting to gigs when she can. She has four kids and dogs... The dogs are better trained!

 

 

 

Louise Ellis  Family Support Worker 

Louise left school at the age of 16 and went to work in a hairdresser, swiftly realising this is not what she wanted to do. She worked in retail for many years then started a family. 

She has worked in care for 8 years, ranging in child residential to home support for vulnerable adults. She decided she wanted to further her career and went to college to study HNC Health and Social Care which was completed in 2021. She would like to study more about mental health in the future.  

In her spare time, she likes to spend time with her 3 kids. She attends football with her son who plays every week. Although they don’t support the same professional team they still have fun. She’s a massive music fan and go to as many gigs as she can. She enjoys spending time with her girls, they like to go shopping and do girlie things or watch movies. She is a huge animal lover and has 3 cats and a fantastic border collie who behaves better than all 3 kids! 

Ainsley Dryburgh  Family Support Worker 

Ainsley left school with no real plan, because she didn’t know what career path to choose. As her friends went off to university and college to pursue their career pathways. She did a few part time jobs, as bills still needed paid. By chance, she found a job in children residential care, and a passion was ignited. Whilst working in her role, relevant qualifications were gained, and she climbed the career ladder, to Senior Care Worker.

 

After 13 years, she moved to community-based work, which she did for 7 years, but the desire to return to family work was always there. Then this opportunity to join the Muirhead team came up, and the leap was made.

In her spare time, she likes spending time with her younger family members, doing fun stuff. She also like spending time in nature, either walking or running.

Carolann Morrison  Family Support Worker 

Carolann completed her HNC in working with communities in 2017 with Fife College. Due to her placement within the College she managed to secure a job with the Inclusion Team and has worked with them for the last 5 years. Carolann has experience professionally and personally of Additional support needs, she hopes to expand on this knowledge and use it within her new role.

Carolann spends a lot of time on adventures with her 8 children, they are often found camping and at theme parks. Always being encouraged onto the scary rides by her older children so they can laugh at her screaming!

In her spare time, Carolann enjoys spending time with her family and friends, cooking, animals, supporting Callum Beattie at his gigs and going on holiday.

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