Case Study November 2022

Voices: Clued Up

In our Voices series, we share the stories and opinions from our funded organisations that are helping to find solutions to poverty and trauma in Scotland. The latest group is our Clued Up, a Kirkcaldy-based charity established to provide substance use support and information service to young people under 25 in Fife.

"We want to see more of whole family approach models, with individual support within it, being delivered across services. We also want to see services working in partnership to deliver this based on their expertise and us not all having to be experts in everything and expecting staff to ‘know it all’."

What is your organisation working to achieve?

Clued Up is working to build relationships, collaborate, co-design their journey/progression and support young people under 25 in Fife who are affected by substance use by providing a comprehensive ‘youth friendly’ service that believes in empowering young people to believe in themselves, have hope, aspirations resilience and strength and confidence to achieve what is important to them.

We provide various interventions to meet the needs of young people we work with which include informal one-to-one support, group work programmes, drop-in provision, street work employability provision, and whole family support.

We work in an outcome-focused way but at the pace of the young person and their family. We have no time constraints on how long we can work with someone. The relationship can often be for life and our door is always open to young people as and when they require it.

We use a co-production model at Clued Up that we are always striving to improve on. Our youth forum plan summer activities, supports recruiting staff, they designed our well-being room, have helped funders review funding applications, designed leaflets, and wrote job descriptions for peer mentors (so far!)

We work at a grassroots level in our communities and this includes working closely with our stakeholders and partners within those communities to reflect on practice and what we offer to allow us to provide the best service we can.

Where are you focusing your support right now?

Over the past few years, we have been working on our Making it Work for Families project. This project moves beyond traditional partnership working and is creating a truly collaborative approach to whole family support. The project brings together staff from Fife Gingerbread (parental support and family learning), Clued Up (youth work, wellbeing, and substance use), FIRST (community rehabilitation), and CARF (income maximisation and poverty). The multi-agency team are not simply referring between agencies, but working together to create an integrated service for vulnerable families affected by substance use. Offering individuals progression pathways and 1:1 support whilst creating a whole family approach that (for families) is seamless and coordinated.

We are involved in a third sector consortium delivering the No One Left Behind strategy, breaking down barriers, and providing employability, training, and learning support for the young people most removed from society. It is a privilege to get to know the young people that engage with Clued Up – to build relationships, hear about their lives, understand their experiences, and walk alongside them as they progress. This comes with responsibility. First to deliver services that enable them to overcome the barriers in their lives. Second to raise awareness of the common challenges affecting their lives – to raise awareness and champion for change.

We are 8 months into developing a Peer support structure within Clued up called Clued Up the Next Generation. This allows young people who have benefited from support, and who are moving on but want to progress with this line of work or just want to give something back can be involved in supporting other young people.

How do poverty and trauma figure in your work?

The majority of young people and families that work with Clued Up are affected by poverty and trauma to some degree either in childhood or later on in life. We see the symptoms of trauma permeate in the form of substance use, homelessness, family breakdown, criminality etc, and we often work with young people who have experienced bereavement due to a drug death. They often experience massive degrees of stigma due to all this which makes them feel not worthy and therefore has an impact on their life chances and well-being. We are currently working with Poverty Alliance to produce a ‘challenging stigma’ toolkit because this is something the families we are working with have voiced as something they have been profoundly affected by when having to engage with services.

How can funders support your work?

  • Co-production with third sector partners when it comes to local authority commissioning;
  • Longer-term funding that allows for stability and consistency and not leaving families and young people without their trusted services because funding has come to an end;
  • Funding for what works and not just new and innovative projects, focus on outcomes and the evidence base to identify if it works and how we build capacity and sustain provision;
  • Building good relationship with the funders so they get a real insight into the organisation and the area of work funded so the long-term relationship can be sustained;
  • Not being driven by outcomes alone and allowing time and space for relationships to be built then the outcomes will take care of themselves.

What changes would you like to see in your area of focus during the next five years?

  • Children’s rights and trauma-informed practice being embedded within service provision alongside #KeepThePromise and services being allowed to work to their ethos of being relationship-based and not being driven by numbers or outcomes alone;
  • Going back to prevention and early intervention being the focus and not a drive to move services to work at the additional or targeted end of the spectrum;
  • Children and Young people who have lost a parent or loved one due to a Drug death being more supported and nurtured;
  • Stigma being challenged in all establishments;
  • Using community-based services to engage with the hardest to reach and not commission statutory service at a higher cost to do what the Third sector does well.

What long-term system changes would best address the issues?

  • Statutory services being more trauma-informed and rights-respecting to be able to reduce stigma and support families to engage;
  • Whole family approach models, with individual support within it, being delivered across services however services working in partnership to deliver this based on their expertise and us not all having to be experts in everything and expecting staff to ‘know it all';
  • Building on our organisational strengths but working together to achieve the best for young people and families;
  • #KeepingThePromise being imbedded in services. Learning from each other and helping smaller organisations to do this.

How Clued Up's work fits with our 2020-2030 strategy

Personal relationships, especially in childhood, play a fundamental role in a person’s physical and mental health.

From our discovery work into our Emotional Wellbeing and Relationships theme so far, we know that there are a number of protective factors for children and young people. This includes having warm and stable relationships that build confidence and self-esteem. 

We are long-term supporters of Clued Up's work and recognise the importance of their co-production approach with young people and the power this brings of building their self-confidence and motivation. Clued Up has a successful track record of supporting and improving the emotional wellbeing of the young people they work with and we are delighted to continue our support with them under our new strategy.

Gillian Morton

Funding Officer