Please note that The Robertson Trust has published its new Giving Strategy. This sets out the priorities we will have when awarding funds through our open grants programme. The existing application form and guidelines can still be used until July 31st. In line with our existing procedures, we will aim to assess and present all applications received by this date to our September Board meeting. In the event that we are unable to do so, your application may be held until our November meeting. In such cases a member of staff will contact you and provide any assistance required to realign your application with the new Giving Strategy. Find out all you need to know here.

A charity based in Glasgow’s East End, With Kids provides one-to-one Play Therapy to vulnerable children aged three to eight at risk of experiencing mental health issues due to trauma or neglect in early life. Support is delivered by six full-time Play Therapists – three each in Edinburgh and Glasgow – plus part-time staff who deliver additional sessions in West Lothian. The charity also runs a family support programme for the communities in which they work, including summer holiday sessions, family events and breaks.

The delivery of age-appropriate one-to-one play and supervised social skills groups helps children to develop physically, emotionally and socially. The service has grown rapidly and has now supported more than 260 children in 68 primary schools and nurseries.

Towards the three-year salary costs of the East End Play Therapist (Glasgow). This service supports some of the most vulnerable children in Scotland who have had traumatic experiences as babies and young children. The full-time Play Therapist for the East End of Glasgow supports 21 children each year, delivering an average of 15 sessions per child, as well as separately supporting families and carers to develop their parenting skills in line with the child’s needs. 

Where are you with this particular project?
We are four months into year two of our funding. I am happy to say we met all our outcomes in year one and are on track to achieve our outcomes for year two. To date, we have provided 31 children with Play Therapy support through funding received from The Robertson Trust – all of whom have been given the space to revisit traumatic or adverse experiences and helped to understand feelings that arise. Ultimately, with our support, they have been able to develop their emotional, cognitive and practical resources. We have also worked with parents and caregivers to support them and enhance their understanding of their child’s emotional needs.

And what's still to come?
Seven children have resumed Play Therapy sessions this autumn, while we will take on another 11 new referrals throughout the course of the year. We will monitor changes in each child using qualitative and quantitative methods, with Play Therapy continuing for as long as is beneficial.  

What tips would you give to other organisations seeking funding for this kind of work?
In this kind of work, the numbers of beneficiaries can be low due to the deep-set change it aims to bring about in its participants. It’s important to communicate clearly the quality of that change and to set realistic activities and outcomes. This project was set in work we had previous experience of delivering. Monitoring and evaluation information from previous work helped us state what could realistically be achieved in this project.

What difference does this funding award make to the work you do?
Funding from The Robertson Trust is invaluable to us and the children with whom we work. The fact that funding spans three years enables us to plan our service, creating stability and consistency in our delivery. It also enables us to provide support to those children who need it quickly, without spending time on the waiting list. Overall, this funding helps to improve and empower the lives of children who are at risk of experiencing mental ill health. Play Therapy enables children to build their inner resources, self-esteem, emotion regulation and coping mechanisms – all ultimately improving their long-term mental health outlook.

In order to successfully apply for funding under our Giving Strategy 2016-19, applicants must demonstrate how their work will contribute to one or more of the themes within the Trust's three new funding strands.

This application was eligible as a result of its fit with the following theme:

Funding Strand: Care and Wellbeing Theme 2:  Improving the health and wellbeing of children & young people affected by mental and/or physical ill health


“By supporting this valuable service, the Trust can help ensure that support is provided in an area of significant deprivation, at the earliest possible stage that will have a lasting impact upon not only the children, but their families. Last year, 72% of the children who participated in Play Therapy demonstrated an improved outlook that will develop their self-esteem and confidence from a young age, the value of which cannot be overstated. We also hope that funding from the Trust will help leverage statutory funding and allow the charity to employ additional staff to meet the growing demand for services across the Central Belt.” Lesley Macdonald, Head of Giving