Wednesday, 11 March 2015


In the book MAKING CUSTTAD there are several references to the toys and materials which are required in a CUSTTAD facility. However somewhere along the way we have apparently lost the chapter entitled TOYS AND MATERIALS

This was discovered recently and we intend to remedy the situation by posting the chapter on this site and providing links to further information on the subject

Until then the photograph below is of some very special hand made wooden toys which I used when I started out on this project. I wanted to post photograph of the artist who made them but have so far failed to make contact

Rather adding the TOYS AND MATERIAL chapter on this page it is being given a post of its own

Tuesday, 3 March 2015


In August 2013 we received an email from one of the four main Custtad workers in South Lanarkshire. I inadvertently saw it this morning and its content has prompted the following comments.

In the email we were being informed about some recent changes which had been made to the Custtad facilities within the Authority And that information is being presented here to illustrate one of the main reasons why Custtad in South Lanarkshire has been able to grow and develop over the past, approximately, twenty years.

But before explaining more about the email it is important to say something about the 'top down' support which the approach has received. Apart from those about to be mentioned there may have been other genuine supporters  - at the top - that we have not been aware of And if some do exist we would like to hear about them and include mention of them here.

Those we do know about and who have been strategically important have been Anne Rooney and Frances Swinburne And providing more recent support and essential funding has been Kathleen Colvan Without the three of them Custtad would have probably faded out of sight And we are very appreciative of all that they have done to help keep Custtad trucking.

There have also been a number of Head Teachers (too many to mention here) who, with no pressure from us, have willingly and enthusiastically set up facilities in their own schools and helped out with the Custtad Training Programme by hosting Custtad trainees for their practice sessions We acknowledge their vital support.

And having got this far I now realise that I have been drawn into saying more than was initially intended. 

While we feel that the approach has grown and continues to grow organically from the bottom up it could be argued that the process has been remarkably slow However for us that is acceptable Our preference has always been to have it used by several people who are intent on maintaining its integrity and (as we see it) effectiveness And if, in doing so, only a few children benefit, that would acceptable

But back to the email.

Four trained Custtad workers have made an essential contribution to Custtad's maintenance and progress. They are (using first names in alphabetical order) Anne Johnston, Fiona Smith, Liz McMenamin and Margaret Leitch And what they describe in the email illustrates what they have brought to the work throughout their association with it And we are convinced, from our knowledge and experience of them, that the qualities which have been evident in the practical maintenance of the facilities will have informed their sessions and interactions with children

Described as an update, the email informed us that the Custtad facility in 
Beckford Primary School had been closed The space had been needed to create a class area for the whole school This was declared to be sad for all

However, the email went on to say that in June of that year, Frances (Swinburne) had contacted someone in 'resources' to let them know there was now no Custtad facility in that area of South Lanarkshire And this had resulted in St John's Primary School in Hamilton being identified as a possible alternative location

Arrangements were then made to get the room painted during the holidays; Anne, Liz and Margaret packed up the Beckford room and transported the furniture and materials to St John's, where they washed prepared and unpacked everything A large sand tray, which was surplus to needs in the 'old Spittal Custtad room' was moved to St John's in a Ford people carrier which they borrowed

With the main items now in place, sand was added to the trays and the room was made ready for use Everyone in St John's had apparently been very welcoming and members of staff passing by, as the facility was being set up, seemed to be delighted

The second part of the email referred to a Custtad facility which had been recently set up in St Charles Primary School, Cambuslang. There were fewer details about where and how they had acquired the necessary furniture and materials but the name Helen Deeney was mentioned The email concluded with Custtad workers expressing delight that the St Charles room was also now 'up and running'.

So, on discovering that old email this morning, it felt important to share the above information And as it was being written a hope did begin to emerge from the process The hope is that this post might be of interest to those in South Lanarkshire who are not familiar with Custtad or who are unaware of the splendid work which is being quietly carried out by some of the Authority's very dedicated employees

And perhaps some of those with the influence to do so will have a closer look at what Custtad is providing and choose to support its future use and implementation