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A blink of an eye…5 years on – a personal perspective

By Duncan Gordon, SCCR Trainer

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Cyrenians’ Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution (SCCR) has now been operating for 5 years. In one respect it seems like a blink of an eye…though when I stop to reflect on the past 5 years, I realise the significance of that period.

Thinking back to day one I fondly recall meeting the other members of the team. Like any new (ad)venture there was an apprehension and nervousness in having to deal with many unknowns; new relationships, gaining knowledge, understanding the remit, and (most importantly!) wondering when the coffee break was.

As SCCR trainer, I have been in the privileged position of meeting individuals who attend our events and I am truly amazed, inspired and humbled. As a parent I understand some of the challenges of that role and also as a young person growing up in what would be regarded as a ‘dysfunctional’ family I have experience of some of the hardships of the ‘behind closed doors’ that young people have to endure. The dedication, compassion and kindness of some of the people I have met has been inspirational as well as humbling. However, I can also see that people come into these events sometimes stressed, tired, fatigued, hurt, lonely and impassioned as for some they have lost partners, homes and friends all because of relationship breakdown. Many individuals attend my sessions as a desperate attempt to ‘make things better’ after years of relationship conflict. There is no magic wand or miracle solution yet they still cling on to the hope that there may be.

The SCCR aim to offer a better understanding of relationship dynamics, an opportunity to reflect and change mind-sets with a better understanding of emotions, so people can engage more effectively with support and apply what they have learnt to transform their relationships to reduce the conflict. The SCCR sessions have developed to allow people to reflect on their situation, and provides knowledge and understanding to facilitate change and to empower individuals to develop more meaningful family relationships.

I could highlight statistics demonstrating the SCCR successes (which you can read more about on our website) however I’d like to share with you some memorable ‘real life’ feedback such as the single dad who managed to control his temper for the first time in many months with his 15 year old son. The shear relief and sense of achievement on the man’s face and his words said it all. Another was a foster carer who was in conflict with their young person. Following attending a session they informed me that they gave their young person ‘space’ by applying some self-care i.e. having coffee with a friend rather than over worrying about the young person. They said the tension in the house immediately dropped and they could see after a long time the possibility of reconnecting as a family. These examples and many more like them underpin the ethos of our work and a key motivator for me.

The last 5 years of working in the SCCR have been meaningful, important and worthwhile. Being able to deliver to such a nationally diverse audience has been innovative, impressive and forward-thinking as an early intervention strategy and I applaud the Scottish Government for continuing to support this. In Scotland today we still have over 4,100 young people presenting as homeless with many more struggling behind closed doors. We fully intend to build on this work to deliver a continuing legacy that allows young people and families to access knowledge, skills, and understanding about science, society and self and to build healthy, safe, secure and loving relationships.

We’d love to invite you to share your own reflections – whether that be memories of any contact you’ve had with us over the last 5 years, or your hopes for the future as we continue to support young people, families and the people that work with them.

You can also read more about the SCCR’s work and its impact here.

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