Why Signpost? 

Sometimes people ask "Why should people come to Signpost for help?"

We believe that recent research into the work of small charities helps to answer this question. Lloyds Bank Foundation, in their study 'The Value of Small' (2018), describes the distinctive benefits for families of the approach taken by the best small charities. Signpost has many of these characteristics:

  1. We are‘first responders’ and, unusually, support families even when there is no formal diagnosis of additional support needs  

when no-one would listen Signpost took me seriously… my son was later diagnosed with autism” 

  1. We are a safe space where people can discuss their difficulties with non-judgemental staff who have ‘been there, done that”, and our open door approach means people are never turned away – there is no waiting list to be seen, unlike other services 

no question is too big or small…always helpful, they really understand what you’re going through 

  1. We promote inclusion and belonging by connecting families to one another for mutual support, and to the community e.g by locating suitable sports/leisure activities for children within the wider community 

Signpost’s help was invaluable… now I am helping another mum, happy to pass on my experiences 

  1. We are a stable, embedded, trusted and long-term presence in our communityan anchor in a sea of changing policies and services (we have watched some families grow up during our 19 year history in West Lothian) 

“It can be very daunting at first, wondering what the future holds… Signpost has been there for us at every new stage to offer good advice” 

  1. We create person-centred relationships of trust, which support both small wins initially (e.g. empowering parents to take control or feel less stressed) and long-term engagement with us and with other services to support children to thrive 

always there when you need them, and they stay in touch with you – that’s really important” 

helped us to feel that we are moving forward as a family, helped us to see progress as well as areas for improvement 

  1. We operate in the gaps between services – statutory services are increasingly offered only to the most complex children, leaving many families with no support, & Signpost can respond by rapidly developing new services based on needs expressed  

look, Mum, there’s my friend from Lego club”  (child with autism who previously had no social opportunities) 

  1. We offer advocacy to help families negotiate difficult situations, and to support young people to make their voices heard 

“[without Signpost’s support] my son would have dropped out of school with no alternative in place” 

  1. We help families avert crises by sharing their problems with us at an early stage, and in doing so save other services time and money too, working in partnership to ensure that limited resources are used to maximum effect 

user-friendly and have a deep understanding of the needs of families – I feel confident when I refer families to Signpost” (community practitioner)