Our journey to Glasgow: a photo essay

Early in 2020, the inspiring group of young people who formed the Youth-Led Commission on Separated Children, travelled to Scotland to find out more about their guardianship scheme for unaccompanied children and young people. Here's how they got on.

Our journey to Glasgow

four young people standing smiling at camera

Our journey to Glasgow

29 January 2020

It was a long journey to Glasgow. Some of us got the train all the way from London Euston, and others in the group from Birmingham. We had a race to see which train would get to Glasgow first.

leaving england

It was my first time to get out of England. That was nice.

On the train, we came up with a few ways to pass the time: we played card games and read out riddles for each other to guess – some of them were really hard!

card games

Here is one of them: What comes once in a minute, twice in a moment, but never in a thousand years? The letter "m". 

Jas, the filmmaker, lent us a couple of professional cameras to use to document our trip. She gave us a lesson on how to use them. Some of us were shown how to use professional cameras which was exciting because we could document our trip from our own point of view. It also meant we all could participate in the trip even if we didn’t want to be in the documentary. 

We arrived in Glasgow after 9pm, we had a little walk in the city, got food and went back to the hotel so we could all eat together. 

playing cards

Sightseeing

2 boys conversing

Sightseeing

30 January 2020

We got up early and had a quick breakfast because we had lots of work to do.  We revisited our plan for the day. We decided as a group what questions we wanted to ask the guardians and the young people. We wrote them down and decided who would ask what.

Teejay kept us entertained by playing the piano.

playing the piano

In the afternoon, we made our ways to Aberlour’s offices to meet the guardians. They were really lovely, and they even bought us donuts! We were really impressed with how they supported young people. 

It was very inspiring what the guardians are achieving, especially getting the Home Office to interview young people at the guardians’ offices and how they don’t sound like social workers or any other workers but that they’re really there for the young people.

We met some of the young people who told us what it was like to have a guardian. Hearing from the young people showed us how much of a difference the guardians make.  

I wished that I could have arrived in Scotland, to be able to get the support.

I remember the words of the young person who said, ‘when they changed my guardian my heart was broken’ and that really shows the need and how important it is to have a guardian.

I think they were really shocked by the fact that we don’t have guardians as well in England, they asked us how the process was in England and what it was like, and then I asked if anyone would prefer that system and no one said yes.

After the interview with the young people, they invited us to join their youth group. There were about forty members. It was nice to be part of their drop-in. we chatted to them, listened to music, played games and we watched a film that some members had created.  

Question time

Question time

31 January 2020

In the morning we prepared some questions for our interview with Andy. 

On the way to our appointment, we saw beautiful buildings and we found some really cool street art. 

We took it in turns to ask questions.

We had a great time interviewing Andy, he was so passionate about the work he does and obviously really believes in the guardianship scheme. 

guardians with andy

Changes

We didn’t have long before we had to catch our train, so some of us waited with the bags while the others popped to the shop to pick up essential supplies for the journey home – including some Scottish shortbread! 

On our way back, we were all on the same train which was exciting as we played magic tricks with the cards, and discussed how we thought the trip had gone. We all got off the train at our various stops looking forward to our next meeting in March 2020. 

I came for this trip to see what guardians are all about. I am surprised about the changes they make. You can see how the young people speak and how happy they are even though they have only been in the country for four months.