Together and apart

About Families evidence supports families through change

About Families is a partnership supporting voluntary and statutory organisations to use evidence to inform their services for parents and families. Through providing evidence and supporting organisations to use this research in practice, we support organisations to develop their services to meet the changing needs of parents and families, including those affected by disability.

In June 2011, we hosted an event to exploring the report Together and apart: supporting families through change. Participants discussed the research and considered the implications and opportunities for developing services for parents and families.  In September, we hosted a second event, in partnership with Capability Scotland, to explore the same research with organisations supporting families affected by disability.

We are now supporting various organisations to use this research in practice.  Here are some examples:

Promoting positive messages

Scottish Marriage Care and Relationship Scotland both provide counselling and mediation support to couples and families experiencing difficult relationships.  We are working with both s on the 'promoting positive messages' project, to develop an online resource for parents and couples experiencing relationship difficulties.  The resource help people understand how to sustain healthy relationships and cope with relationship difficulties as well as increase awareness that it is OK to talk about relationships.

Heart to heart

'Heart to Heart' provides confidential support to men and women affected by divorce or separation.  Through group sessions, it aims to restore self-confidence and help people make positive changes in their lives.  Ithas extended its support through the H2H service, to help young people to recover from their parents' divorce or separation.

We are working with Heart to Heart to explore the needs of parents who have used its support services.   Through working with parents and volunteers, we will be supporting Heart to Heart to develop its services for parents.

Grandparents Apart UK

Grandparents Apart UK is a volunteer-led organisation supporting grandparents who are experiencing difficulties in maintaining, or who have been denied, contact with their grandchildren.

We hosted discussion sessions with members to explore the difference that this support has made and how they could inform service development.  The discussions were used to develop a survey and we are now helping Grandparents Apart UK to analyse the results and to continue to gather the views of members systematically.

Capability Scotland

Capability Scotland campaigns with, and provides education, employment and care services for more than 1,000 disabled children and adults across Scotland.  Capability Scotland recognised the importance of sharing the Together and Apart research with parents of disabled children, as well as providing support for parents experiencing change.

We have recently hosted discussion sessions with parents using Capability Scotland services to explore the unique pressures on relationships, experienced by families affected by disability.  These discussions will inform online support for parents and families to be developed through Capability Scotland's website.

Looking ahead

About Families is launching its third topic, Parenting on a Low Income.  Following an event at the end of March, we will organise a community of practice to explore this topic, in partnership with One Parent Families Scotland.

More information

About Families is a partnership between the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships (CRFR), Parenting across Scotland and Capability Scotland. It is funded by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund.