Navigating over the wall

Ballikinrain and children's houses collage

Paul Gilroy has worked in the Children and Young People’s residential care sector for 35 years, joining CrossReach in 1990 as a PE teacher and becoming Head of Service, Residential Care & Education in 2007. In the recently published article, "The Other Side of the Wall", Paul reflects on the changes that have taken place within CrossReach Residential Child Care and the driving factors behind them.

Paul Gilroy

Below are a few highlights from the article that can be read fully in the Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care.

Post war to present day
CrossReach began opening large residential schools, like Ballikinrain,  following World War II and has subsequently evolved in to family-style living in local communities for its children and young people. The first of these houses, Millmuir Farm in Gargunnock, opened in 2007 and following its success, and that of other houses that followed, led to a service-wide restructuring in 2014 and – ultimately – to the closing of Ballikinrain’s doors at the start of 2021.

Seeds of love
Despite the grandiose setting of Ballikinrain Castle, there was certainly good relationships built between staff and pupils. One former pupil, Darren, spoke of the ‘seeds of love planted’ there and whose lasting impact finally emerged after 15 years of a chaotic lifestyle. Darren is now a priest and coffee entrepreneur.

The rally car principle
Claymore's keyworker describes that  being ‘more like family’ is like being in a rally car, with the pupil being the driver and them being the navigator, giving directions and plotting the route of the road ahead that would get them to the destination.  Listen to "Claymore's story - my kind of community"

Evolving legislation
From Angus Skinner’s report in 1992 to the findings of the Independent Care Reviews: The Promise in 2020, the changes in Scotland’s legislation has challenged CrossReach to think and deliver care differently.

CrossReach have sought to build resilience in children and young people in their care and by supporting the young people into local communities, the purpose is to create a greater connection with society and the word at large.

Listen to Paul Gilroy and Lawrence Wareing discuss their article with Sarah Deeley:

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