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Case Studies

Here are some illustrative examples "straight from the horse's mouth".


Small Steps

Mother - Sue*, Daughter - Gemma *


Sue and Gemma started attending a part-time centre after being referred by their Health Visitor.


Sue used to work full time before Gemma was born and had always worked since leaving school. She found the transition from working full time to being at home all day quite hard. She says "being a mother certainly opens your eyes, your life is completely changed almost overnight".


Like most new Project Users Sue felt strange and awkward about meeting new people, but both Sue and Gemma settled in quite quickly. As well as her own group the centre offered courses such as Anger Management, First Aid for the under 5's, computer courses etc which Sue has attended. Apart from learning new skills it gave her the opportunity to meet other Project Users from other groups within the centre. She also uses the food co-op and is a member of the Milk Token Initiative scheme, which comes to Greenhall on a weekly basis


Sue likes being in the playroom with Gemma, the other children and the Play Workers. Sue and other members of her group like the routine the children have. If the Centre is closed for holidays, training, etc, the group will meet up elsewhere.


Apart from gaining from the service, Sue also gives a lot back in her commitment, participation and appreciation of what is offered. Sue feels that both she and Gemma have benefited from Midlothian Sure Start - the only downside is that there is not enough of it.


For Sue


The chance to become involved and be part of something, meeting new people and making new friends with other people who have small children. She finds the time in her group, relaxing and enjoys the time out. She feels that after she has been to her group she is more relaxed at home. She likes the fact that when she talks to the Play Workers about Gemma's progress they always have positive things to say.


For Gemma


Sue feels that Gemma has benefited the most from the service; she has come on leaps and bounds in her speech, drawing and interaction with the other children. The quality of care from the Play Workers allows Sue to feel totally relaxed and comfortable leaving Gemma in their care. Gemma definitely has a "sure start" before she begins pre-school.

My Time At A Part-Time Centre By A Project User


I am a mother of two boys and I also have a husband who suffers from manic depression. I, myself, have been fighting depression since my first son was five months old. I have been on various anti-depressants and I am still trying to find one that works.


Coming to the centre has been a godsend for me as there have been times when I have not wanted to leave the house, but through support from staff and fellow members there is always encouragement to come along. It has to be said that generally once you get here you feel so much better. It does help to see friendly faces who give you the support that you need and to have someone who is there to listen to you. This can be something so simple as just letting out a wee cry now and then or, if needed, counselling is available.


During my time at the centre the Co-ordinator informed us of a computer course that was starting up. It was free and also provided childcare if we needed it - this was a starting point for me. I gained a lot of confidence from doing the course; the tutor was excellent and gave us a lot of praise and encouragement. I then went on to do a Community Education course also introduced by my Co-ordinator, this too gave me more confidence. My tutor on this course advised me that she was pleased with my essays that I handed in, she said that there were very good organisational skills showing and that it was very clear to follow.


At a public meeting all course work was on display and we, as students, presented our results of surveys and mapping exercises and we also demonstrated some of our communication skills. After the presentation I had a chat with the tutor who asked if I had given thought to Mi-Tech in Dalkeith, a computer-training course where I can learn word processing, spreadsheets and job interview skills. So I am delighted to say I was successful in getting a place!


This was a big change in my life and for me a step forward towards better employment and job opportunities. I could not have done all this without the staff and fellow Project User members. The support has been fantastic and the centre has opened up opportunities for me I would never have had. Words cannot say how grateful I am to all the staff at the Centre.


I have to say that the pampering sessions at the centre have not only been fun but educational and very relaxing. I've learned how to give hand massage, do edible facials and tolerate toddler tantrums too! However it is sadly time for me to move on now and I will miss everyone so much but will still be popping in when I can and will help out with odd jobs.

Moving On From One Centre This Project User Wrote This Letter:


To all staff and members at Woodburn Family Learning Center


It has been so good sharing my time at the centre with you all, there is nothing better than a problem shared. As the saying goes, it is a problem halved. Thank you all for being there for me and supporting me through the good times and the bad.


Most importantly, please, please remember me for future nights out: you all know I'm good for a laugh!


I am so glad to have made some new friends and I will pop in for a wee chat whenever I can. I will miss you all and good luck to you all. Things can only get better if you make them and please take advantage of the opportunities that coming to the centre can give you!!


Love, hugs and kisses all round

Susan and Family

My Time At A Full Time Centre From A Dad's Perspective


I began coming to the centre when our daughter was around 18 months old. I had recently changed jobs and I found I had more time at home during the day. As my partner and I now have a job-share and work from home have found Stepping Forward very helpful in being able to come and have some quality time with my daughter.


We particularly enjoy making things at the 'Lets Play Together' times which involve getting stuck in and enjoying whatever activity is on offer. Sometimes we bake or play with messy stuff like playdough or paint. We enjoyed making flags for the Hunter & Lass Parade which we then took part in.


I also attend PEEP (Parenting Early Education Programme) sessions with our little girl every fortnight and although I found this a bit daunting at first I soon discovered it was enjoyable for me as well as the children.


Stepping Forward is a good source of information. Since attending I have joined a computer course run by Newbattle Community Learning and I am now in the process of enrolling for an Internet course as a follow on to this. This in turn will help me with my new job as well as meeting new folk while my daughter is being cared for in the playroom. I am usually the only dad who attends the groups but have not really found it a problem. I enjoy the company and am sometimes able to help out with odd jobs in the building.


The staff have made me welcome and I have enjoyed the variety of things to do within Stepping Forward.


Peter Brown*

My Time At A Part-time Centre


Sarah* is 21 years of age and a single parent.


Sarah* had her baby on Christmas Day after a traumatic labour, with very little support. Whilst attending antenatal checks with her midwife at Bonnyrigg Health Centre she saw a poster advertising Positive Steps. Sarah* asked her Health Visitor about us whilst she was attending the baby clinic. From there her health visitor referred her to us and she joined our Young People's Group. This group meets on a Monday afternoon and it is a group of young parents and their children supporting each other. Sarah has taken part in various other groups offered at Positive Steps including baby massage, relaxation and support groups. She says:


"I really enjoy being able to talk about my baby and my concerns with people who know how I feel, I like the fact that I feel safe in the Centre and that all that I have to say is confidential"


Sarah continues to use the centre and her confidence and self-esteem increases as she continues to attend.

From a Local Centre Client


I started at the local Surestart centre because I had just left my husband and felt very low. I saw a poster for the cente at the doctors and gave the co-ordinator a call. She came out to my house to visit me because I didn't feel ready to walk into the centre and have everyone turn and look at me.


When I did go into the centre my fears were for nothing because everyone was lovely and welcoming. I was offered a coffee before I even sat down and the women who go there are lovely.


My daughter goes into the playroom where the play workers are lovely and always chat away to my child. My daughter talks about when she is going to the play room even on the days that we don't go. I feel confident in leaving her to play.


In the centre I also got to meet other people in the same situation as me.


With help and support, I no longer feel like "JUST A MUM."



From a Local Centre Client


"I was feeling depressed and isolated and had no pals."


My health visitor mentioned Sure Start at one of my appointments. She also introduced me to a client who goes there.


I went along to one of the local centres the next day with the other client. I felt scared and anxious.

Everyone spoke to me immediately and made me feel really welcome.


I join in with all the courses that were running and have say at what courses we would like during our User Group Meetings.


When my Son goes into the playroom I feel confident that he is cared for and it also gives me a break.


I feel supported when I come to the local centre and it also gives me something to do rather than sit in my house wondering what to do with myself. I feel that no one in the centre judges me and have had supportive one to ones with my co-ordinator.


After attending at the Surestart local centre I feel that "I have pals and people that I can turn too".

* Names have been changed to protect the privacy of the Project User.

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