International Women's Day 2024

Today we mark International Women’s Day, a day on which to ‘Celebrate women's achievement. Raise awareness about discrimination. Take action to drive gender parity.’

Women have made a huge contribution to Cyrenians Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution, from the women who run the service to the many women from organisations we’ve partnered with over the years to help reduce youth homelessness caused by relationship breakdown in Scotland.

We’re marking our tenth anniversary this year and I can’t not mention the debt the service owes Diane Marr, SCCR’s original Service Manager, who drove through the creation of the Centre in 2014.

The team counts itself lucky to still have in its ranks two of Diane’s original team, including Caroline Ross, our Events and Marketing Organiser. For IWD, we asked Caroline to reflect on her time at SCCR.

The SCCR was launched ten years ago. What factors led to the creation of SCCR?

In 2011 Cyrenians published ‘Mediation and Homelessness Prevention in Scotland: A Decade of Mediation between Young People and Families’. The report identified that, while available mediation services for young people and families were recognised as valuable and effective in reducing the number of young people becoming homeless, provision across the country was patchy, with many young people and families unaware of services in their area.

The report also highlighted the need for increased national awareness of mediation, and early intervention before family conflict reached crisis. Within its recommendations was the proposal to establish a national centre to support and share ongoing best practice and resources.

In April 2013, Cyrenians received an initial two-year funding grant from Scottish Government to develop its innovative vision of a Centre for best practice in conflict resolution, mediation and early intervention work with young people, parents/carers and those working to support them. Following a year of development, recruitment and planning, SCCR launched in April 2014.

What are your memories of the first year of the SCCR like?

Just the utterly brilliant chaos and unknown of it all. We were a brand-new baby service and didn’t even have a name when we became a team. I think my favourite memories are of all the big conferences and the excitement that came with them. We made such amazing relationships with other organisations and people who took time out of their busy diary to come along to these events and run workshops or be speakers and we’re really grateful for all those connections we made, especially in the early years.

On International Women’s Day, we celebrate the women whose work has inspired us. Were there any women whose work or writing or example fed into the creation of SCCR or who you’ve encountered through your work for SCCR that you’d like to celebrate as part of the blog?

Too many to count! From my colleagues to speakers we’ve had at events. But to pick one – my very first encounter with Cyrenians was when I came to interview. Amber Mediation and Support Service Manager Viki was part of the interview panel. Viki was so passionate about the amazing work of the Amber Service and was part of the two-women team who wrote the initial and successful funding application for an earlier intervention service to support young people and families with family conflict. Having then gone onto work with Viki for a few years until she moved post, I can say she was always so passionate, funny, caring and one of a kind.