We are a group of people who live and work in Falkirk – as well as a little further afield.

We are committed to making change happen so more young people leaving care
can experience relationships that enhance their lives.

Together we make up the project Co-Design and Co-ordination Crews.


Hi, I’m Arek.


Hi I’m Catherine-Rose. I’m the evaluator for this project. For me, evaluation is really all about learning. So I’ll be helping the team to capture the learning they’re doing. By focusing on learning, and by being honest about the challenges, I hope I can help the team to make the impacts they’ve imagined on the care system. I bring a set of values to my work: I am collaborative, I am transparent, I am flexible and I am ethical. Wherever I go, I model the importance of joy, fun and camaraderie as part of all learning. 


Hi, I’m Cathy. I’m a Service Manager in Children’s Services with responsibility for the Leaving Care Service and Residential Children’s houses.  I’m part of the Co-design Crew and I wanted the project to come to Falkirk to help us to work alongside care experienced young people in a different way. The things that get in the way of relationship based practice can be hard for people to get past but I know that amazing things can happen when they do. I want all of us who are involved in this work to lead the way in turning this into the way we do things here.


Hi, I’m Charlotte and I’m a wife, mum, friend and teacher. I feel privileged to teach at Seamab, a unique charity, committed to transforming the lives of children. We help some of the most vulnerable children in Scotland who have experienced significant trauma. Our work gives children back their childhood, making sure they feel safe, loved and happy. I’m taking part in this project as I believe in the benefits of a relational approach for all.  I hope that this project improves the experience for young people leaving care and results in a ripple affect to ensure all care leavers experience love at this time and throughout their lives. 


Hello! My name is Christine Thomson, and I work in Falkirk Council’s Housing Service as a Performance & Information Officer. I got involved in Relationships First as I wanted a different challenge outwith my current role, and I think it gives us a real chance to help make things better for young care leavers. I’m part of the Co-Design Crew and really enjoying taking part in the project. I’m looking forward to what we can achieve!


Hi, I am David, I am a Residential Childcare Worker in a Children’s Home in Falkirk and part of the Co-Design Crew. I have worked in this role for fifteen years in total. I believe strongly that relationship based practice, friendship and long term meaningful relationships are the key to helping to unlock the potential of young people who have experienced a childhood in the care sector. I hope to be better able to help care experienced young people negotiate the worlds difficulties, learning, share happiness and sadness and the milestones reached on their journey, as we would our own children. I want to be a better worker and person and spread my learning and experiences within the organisation and beyond.


Hi! I’m Evelyn, Service Manager for Adult and Children’s Services Social Work, Workforce Development. I Co-Lead the Project and am a member of the Coordination Crew. This Project is providing us with an opportunity to translate transformational change into practice; to get beyond talking about the need to do things differently towards testing out new ways of working together that could support lifelong relationships. It’s been a privilege to be part of a movement involving Care Leavers and Council Corporate Parents learning and growing in confidence together and taking steps to share their research and experiences with the wider workforce.


Hi, I’m Gayle and I run a social research and design agency called Designed by Society. I’m co-leading this project with Evelyn and am part of the Co-ordination Crew. I designed this work because I’ve seen the power positive relationships can have, and I want to enable more care leavers to benefit from this experience. I’m also interested in how relational based practice can be made easier for people to engage in in practice. I’d like this project to inspire and enable more people to work this way with young people leaving care.


Hi, I’m Gemma and I’m currently in continuing care and will be leaving the care system in 2020. I’m part of the Co-Design Crew because I want to help young people in the future be able to keep a relationship they’ve made in the care system. I hope that this project will be the thing that gets things started and cause a domino affect leading to this becoming a reality.


Hi, I’m Hollieann and I am a care leaver. I started Relationships First, because it sounded interesting and also because it was an opportunity to share my story about my experience of leaving care. Also, it gave me the chance to share my ideas and opinions. I want to make leaving care easier for other young people and hope to make and see changes in the care system. This project has taught me so much that I didn’t know about.

Janet McPherson

I am Janet McPherson. I am a mother, a wife and a passionate Early Years Officer. My job is about nurturing love and relationships and recognising that children have unique needs and capabilities. I entered this project as a Co-Design Crew member hoping that I could share my skills and help to change the system for care leavers in a positive way. I believe that this project offers us an opportunity to breakdown barriers, whether these be real or perceived, to allow our workforce to adopt a relational approach to corporate parenting. Some may view this project as a drop in the ocean but what is a an ocean but a multitude of drops.

Janet Weir

Hi, I’m Janet. I’m the Participation Lead on the project, which means it’s my job to support the care leavers to take part in the project. I’m part of the Co-ordination Crew and I am very excited to be part of supporting change in Falkirk Council. I hope to learn more about the service design process, the tools and techniques used from start to finish. Finally,  I hope to learn more about myself and that the projects contributes to both my personal and professional development.



Hello, I’m Jenny, I work with young people who are or have been looked after by Falkirk Council-out team is called the Leaving care team and we support young people aged 15 to 26  to make positive transitions from care to adulthood. I met Gayle before she brought her project to Falkirk and supported her to do so as I recognised the potential huge benefits. The Leaving care team provided input on what was already happening and gaps in provision. I hope that Relationships First means that we all become better corporate parents and are able to say yes when we ask “is this good enough for my child?”.


I’m Kate and I am a service designer and graphic designer. On this project, I’m part of the Co-Design Crew and I’m taking part because I believe we should never design services for people without people and have also seen the power of prioritising relational based practice. I hope to take my experience of facilitating co-design processes focusing on complex challenges to the project and to use my visual design skills in the translation of the process. I would like this project to embed a person-centred design approach in care leaver services at Falkirk Council and inspire other local authorities to adopt similar approaches.


Hi, I’m Kirsty. I’m a Resource Manager in a High School and I’m also part of the Co-Design Crew. I was interested in joining this project as it’s a joint partnership (we are quite diverse), it’s employees from all over the Council working alongside young people looking at ways to improve the experiences of young people when leaving care. I believe that getting more people aware and experienced in using relational based approaches when working with young people will offer them best support and opportunities. We are trying to make a change for others!


Hey, I’m Laura, I’m a Care Experienced Person from Falkirk and am part of the Co-Design Crew. I joined the Relationship First project as I wanted to understand the barriers that professionals face when trying to keep a relationship with a Care Experienced young person, when they are no longer in their care. I’m passionate about finding ways to ensure there are no unwritten rules and that young people can sustain lasting, meaningful relationships.


I’m Leah and I’m a design researcher, service designer and facilitator. On this project I’m part of the Co-Design Crew and I’m taking part in this work because I believe the inclusion and involvement of care leavers and council staff is crucial to changing existing systems to be more relational. I’m also interested in how I can pass on my research and design knowledge to others so they can sustain new ways of making public services compassionate and human centered. I would like this project to be a vanguard demonstrator for all local authorities in Scotland.


Hi, I’m Liam.


Hi I’m Libby McArthur Senior at Falkirk Council leaving care team.
I have been working as part of the leaving care team for 15 plus years and have seen the impact that relationship practice have on care leavers. By building relationships this encourages care leavers to trust, share and develop interdependent skills to manage transitions into adulthood.
I would like this project to education, share practice and empower other corporate parents within Falkirk council to work in this way.


Hi I’m Linda, I work for the Central Matching Team dealing with homecare provisions and financial transactions. I was looking for a new challenge when I saw the email for the Relationship First information day, fast forward 4 months and I am very privileged to be part of the Co-Design Crew. I’m very keen to help try and change the way people perceive young people who are leaving care. I believe in the project aims to promote love and kindness and believe that we can make positive changes for young people who are leaving care.


Hey, I’m Lindsay and I’m a mum of two girls and a care leaver. I am taking part in this project because I believe everyone should have a positive experience leaving care, like I did. Not everyone has had a positive time leaving care and sometimes it’s as simple as having someone there you can turn to, just to help. So, I’m here to break through some barriers so we can make a change for the better.


I am Lisa and I work for Falkirk Community Trust and am a Library Assistant working in Denny Library. I am a lifelong learner and love learning new skills and challenging myself. My favourite things to do are write poetry and go long walks with my dogs. 

My mum had been a Foster carer after she raised her own 13 kids and I was amazed at how rewarding the process was for her. I became involved in Relationships First and part of the Co-design Crew because it’s a project I believe in, and also to encourage other members of the workforce to forge relationships and support their local care leavers as everyone needs to have someone in their corner. 


I’m Mafalda, a design educator and researcher working in the field of design innovation and I’m part of the Co-Design Crew. I’m interested in this project because it focuses on relationships to improve a system that needs more humanity. I hope to contribute with my knowledge on collaborative creativity and learn from my colleagues, young people, and the public servants involved. This project can provide inspiration to public services worldwide for a better society, as relationship are key for care leavers to feel confident to start an independent life.


Hi my name is Morgan and I am part of the Co-Design Crew. When I first started the group it was for the experience and to see how I could make an impact. The group has taught me so much and helped me come out of my comfort zone. It causes me a lot of anxiety meeting new people, but as time went on those people have built great connections with me and are now friends. Relationships First project is no longer a work space but is like a family.


Hi, I’m Marie and I am an Analyst Programmer in People, Technology and Transformation Division of Corporate and Housing Services. I am part of the Co-Design crew. I strongly believe that to create a services that meets the needs of care-experienced young people, it is absolutely necessary to involve them in the design process and I was excited about the prospect of working alongside young people in this innovative way. I have found that when things work well and real change happens, it is built on strong relationships and trust.


I think most people assume they can’t make a positive change in the world they live in and entrust the task on legends like Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, and The Beatles. The truth is each one of us can contribute in a unique way to bring smiles in the lives of others.

I’m Tony a technical assistant in Asset Management and part of the Co-Design Crew. I’m not exceptionally gifted neither am I especially talented, I think of my decision-making skills being like a squirrel crossing the road. I am very curious and I believe in a power to care and to love that can make the biggest difference in relationships.