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Common Thread is a vibrant place to work and over time we have had loads of fun times and events we would like to share with our friends, website visitors and not least our own teams.


13.04.18 Young Inspector Team

We are very excited to show off our Young Inspector Hoodies. We are always trying to strive to better the care we provide and our latest initiative is letting our children be involved with internal audits making sure we are getting the very best from our houses. How exciting we think you will agree!

27.02.18 Magic

We love sharing exciting projects from our Kids. Fiona one of our inspirational Young People lost their mother at a young age. To celebrate her life she wanted to name a star in memory of her. To raise the funds, Fiona asked CT Staff to enter a raffle with any money that they could donate. The winner would receive a homemade cake.

Amazingly £140 was raised, well over the £70 that was needed. Now the extra money will got to marble for her mother's grave and a tree will also be planted in her honour.

A story that hopefully brightens up this snowy day!

(The name of the young person involved has been changed to protect their identity)


15.12.17 Denny Fete

On Friday 15th December the staff and young people of Denny Education and Training had their annual Christmas Fete. Items on sale included many crafts and home baking made by the young people. The students also treated their guests to a beautiful selection of carols and Christmas songs. An astounding £330.00 was raised for the local hospice and visitors from Strathcarron explained how the funds would be used at the centre. Well done to all involved and a big thank you to everyone that visited.

08.12.17 Zoolab

On Friday 8th December the young people at Denny Education and Training enjoyed a visit from Zoolab. They held a variety of creatures including Bearded Dragons, Giant Snails, Snakes and viewed a Tarantula from afar!

06.12.17 Chick Whittington

Today staff and young people of Denny Education and Training enjoyed a trip to the Pantomime, Chick Whittington. A wonderful time was had by all.  "Look - he's behind you"!

03.12.17 Annual Xmas Party

Once again Benreay was transformed in a Winter Wonderland. Lots of fun was had by all. We can't wait for more festive fun next year.

23.10.17 Investor in People Awards

We were incredibly honoured to be nominated for the Investors In People Excellence in Third Sector in this years award show. Though we didn't win we are so proud of the significance of the nomination and everyone who helped us!

26.10.17 Investors In People - Dumfries

It was our final IIP Party last night and what a night it was, lots of laughter and dancing, we loved it.

Gaining our IIP Platinum award was so exciting for us and we feel so lucky that we have been able to share it with all our staff.

12.10.17 Investors In People - Highlands

Our celebrations for our Platinum IIP Award continued today with our Highlands team.  We had amazing food and company, we can't wait for our final party in D&G.

29.09.17 MacMillan Coffee Morning

Our Annual MacMillan Coffee Morning took place today at our Dumfries Education and Training Centre today. All young people got involved and amazing £101.50 was raised. Big thanks to everyone who helped and came along we couldn't of done it without you.

21.09.17 IIP Central Belt Celebrations

Our first Investors In People Celebrations took place yesterday. This year we were awarded Platinum by Investors in People.To celebrate our amazing award we had our first party in the Central Belt which was enjoyed by all.

The award highlights that Common Thread  invests in its staff to the highest level. Fundamentally we believe happy staff=happy children, that is why this award means so much to us.

11.09.17 Mindfulness at Work

Keeping staff healthy mentally is key to quality practice, so in the coming weeks a group of Common Thread staff are attending a 4 week course on Mindfulness. With support work being incredibly pressurized they are hoping to use everday techniques that will help combat stress and enchance both their work and home life. We can't wait for their feedback!

01/09/17 Common Thread Education- Kilmarnock Opening

Today we opened our first Education Provision in Ayrshire, with both our CEO and COO brought up there it only felt fitting to have our third education provision in Kilmarnock. Opening our incredible facility was local Football legend Greg Kiltie from Kilmarnock Football Club. The day was enjoyed by all with everyone agreeing that there is exciting times ahead for Common Thread's Education!

18.08.17 The Common Thread Bake Off

Today, Common Thread's Young People had their first Common Thread Bake Off. Many cakes were made (and eaten)  with three young people winning the top prizes. We can't wait for next year's competition!


13.07.17 Investors in People Finalists

We are incredibly excited to annouce that we have been shortlisted as a finalist in the Excellence in the Third Sector category at the Investors in People Awards 2017.  We just wanted to thank our amazing staff, without their continued efforts throughout the years this nomination would not have been possible.

30.06.17 Shouting it from the Roof Tops

As the Summer Holidays begin our Denny School have finalised its YP Attainments, the results are truly astounding and we just had to share them! Of the 14 Young People who attended the school during August 2016 to June 2017 they achieved:

  • 64 completed levels of the Curriculum for Excellence Broad Education curriculum across all 8 learning areas.  (on levels 2 to 4)

  • 14 units and modules completed on National 3 level

  • 66 units completed on National 4 level

  • 3 units completed at National 5 level

As our school grows in size we continue to be amazed by the incredible results our children continue to gain. The sky is the limit!


22.06.17 Bring it On

On Wednesday our schools joined together to put on an epic school show. Bring it was a musical extravaganza that showcased our kids amazing talents. We want to thank everyone who turned up and showed support and thank all of our education staff who made the day what it was. We can't wait for our next show, Christmas can't come quick enough!

23.05.17 Blu Rad

An innovative new product that was recently installed in our houses has won an international award for innovation.  Blueproof is a fire suppression device designed to release water where and when it is needed most in a fire. The innovative product is attached to a room's radiators to utilise the water supply in the event of a fire.

The Concours Lépine International Competition has been running for 116 years and awarded Blueproof the top award for innovation. Common Thread are proud to be using such a life saving device in our properties.

17.05.17 Big Tea Party

On Wednesday 17th May, Staff and Young People at our Denny Education and Training Centre held 'A Big Tea Party' to help raise money for Strathcarron Hospice. The students served homemade cupcakes, with tea and coffee, to the visitors.

A massive £80 was raised for the charity.  The staff want to thank everyone who donated to such a wonderful cause.

01.05.17 Investors In People Platinum Award

We are proud to announce that Common Thread has been accredited Platinum by Investors in People. The award is a clear sign that we are truly invested in our staff and are the employer of choice.

We are one of only five companies to have been awarded at this level and the first Residential Care Company in the UK to do so.  Celebrations are on there way to truly acknowledge our amazing staff, we couldn't of done it without them.

27.03.17 Red Nose Day

Pupils at our Education and Training Centre in Dumfries were fundraising last week in aid of Red Nose Day. Events included Ice Bucket Challenges, Baking and jumble sales.  An impressive £80 was raised for the charity. Well done to all of those involved.


28.02.17 Sponsored Walk

Students at our Education and Training Centre in Dumfries walked an impressive 3 Miles around Heathhall Forest today.

The Centre was raising funds for their school supplies an ended up making an impressive £480 which will go towards some exciting new equipment!  Well done to all those involved!


30.01.17 Strathcarron Hospice Visit

Pupils at our Education and Training Centre in Denny welcomed Helen from the local Strathcarron Hospice who gave a talk to our Young People in regards to the care that they provide at the hospice. Denny Pupils have been working hard to raise funds for the Hospice with Helen taking away £203.49 to support the needs of those affected by terminal illness.

26.01.17 Burn's Celebrations

On Wednesday 25th January staff and young people of our Denny school celebrated the birth of our National Bard with a full Burns Lunch of Leek and Potato Soup, Haggis, Neeps and Tatties and Ice Cream with Scottish Tablet. The young people learnt Burns poems, performed a Scottish Medley and finished off with ceilidh dancing. A great afternoon was enjoyed by all.


06.01.16 - New Partnership with University of The West Scotland

Common Thread are looking forward to hosting their first student social worker of 2017. The placement will start on 9th January and we welcome the opportunity to work with University of The West Scotland.


05.01.17 - Tartan Explorer Update

Common Thread are pleased to announce that they continue to provide support for Josh Quigley, Tartan Explorer in his aim to cycle around the world on a global mission to raise awareness of mental health and suicide prevention. Our CEO Julie, met Josh earlier this week to hear about the next part of his tour which initially started in 2015.  Josh aims to cover 30 countries in Europe this year and hopes to reach Russia by August. He leaves on 16th January and we wish him all the very best.

You can follow the Tartan Explorer and find out more here


30.12.16 - Looking Forward

Its almost that time when we say goodbye to the year that has just passed and say cheers and welcome to the year to come.

Common Thread wish all those we have touched during 2016  a Happy New Year and all the very best for 2017

Watch this space, for plenty of 2017 news and achievements !

16.12.16 Christmas Fete

On Friday 16th December the staff and young people of  our Denny School opened their doors to welcome family and friends to their first Christmas Fete. The young people worked hard to prepare; making crafts, baking cakes and tuning their musical talents. On the day visitors were treated to coffee,cakes, singing and dancing, led by Nicola, our Expressive Arts tutor. We raised a fantastic £200.41, which will be donated to a local charity, Strathcarron Hospice. Thank you to everyone who was involved and anyone who donated on the day.

15.12.16 - Sahara Trekking for Charity

Jenn, our Highlands House Manager has been touched by cancer with friends and family being affected, including the death of her mother in law. Feeling helpless she wanted to do something to support families and patients being affected by cancer so Jenn and her husband have decided to venture to the Sahara to raise money for charity. Initially Jenn only planned to donate to Cancer Research but after meeting Fernando Ricksen, the former Ranger's Player, she decided she wanted to donate to two other charities - Fernandos own foundation that is helping to fund research to find the cure of Motor Neuron Disease and MND Scotland, Scotland's National Charity supporting those with the condition.  Jenn's fundraising aim was to get to £4000 before her trip next year but already she has hit the £3000 mark with hopes to raising even more than her initial target.

Jenn and her team have been finding varieties of ways to fundraise: quiz nights, hair cutting challenges, selling badges and much much more. We can't wait to see Jenn's final total and we will be supporting her all the way.

10.12.16 - Brave The Shave

One of our amazing therapeutic support workers braved the shave recently!. Sue wanted to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Research and wanted to do something big. She decided she would shave her hair for charity. Initially Sue only expected to raise £40 or so but has now surpassed £1000. In perspective £1020 pays for a nurse to look after a cancer patient.  What an amazing result. Well done Sue for Braving the Shave!

05.12.16 - 2 New Team Members at Common Thread

Alfie and Bubba joined our team this week. At Common Thread, we recognise that interaction with animals and pets can offer many therapeutic benefits and we always encourage this where possible and appropriate. These lovely guys will be around for our young people who like to spend time with dogs. Alfie and Bubba are very excited to be meeting everyone and are getting ready for lots of attention, walks and happy times at our houses!

For more information on Alfie and Bubba see our 'Meet the Team' page!



04.12.16 - Common Thread Annual Christmas Party

This years Christmas Party exceeded all our expectations. With over 150 children and adults attending, Santas Grotto, Creative Arts Corner, Face Painting, Chocolate Fountain and Candy Floss were all busy busy busy! A thank you to all who helped make this a wonderful event - and a special thanks to the young people who contributed with songs and an impromptu Highland Fling accompanied by the bagpipes at the end!


Drivers of cars, vans and HGV's sounded their horns!!


The elves take time out in Santas Grotto for a quick photo call!


01.12.16 - Christmas Party Preparations

With only 2 days to go until the Common Thread annual Christmas Party, preparations are in full swing! The elves are hard at work making sure that Benreay is prepared for all the young people, staff and their children this Sunday - Santa is expected to make a guest appearance too!!

Creative Corner, Face Painting, Party Games, Christmas Carol Singing, and plenty of nibbles!






01.12.16 - New arrival to Ritsona Camp

Irene reports this  morning that Ritsona has a new arrival - Baby Miriam!

We wish Miriam and her family well.




28.11.16 -Wagon Arrives in Ritsona

Great News!

The wagon arrived at the refugee camp on 26th November - with all supplies on board in good order! Irene reports that everyone was very excited and no time was wasted opening the boxes with baby supplies as they were desperate for nappies.

Ritsona Update - Photos

Happy faces with lots of boxes to unpack!

24.11.16 - Syrian refugee support in Ritsona

Common Thread employee Irene, is back in Ritsona Camp in Greece having raised in excess of £2000 to provide a wagon full of supplies including winter clothing as well as funds to purchase much needed essentials during her visit. Common Thread employees gave generously in the form of donations, winter clothing and a big push on new underwear! Everyone, including our young people added a pack of new pants to their shopping lists to help support the cause.

Irene has kept in touch during her visit and we await pictures of the wagon arriving and being unloaded. In the meantime Irene sent a photo (right) of a family she has kept in touch with, who are still at the camp - 'dinner with special friends'. Irene advised that she worked in Athens for 1 day last week with an organisation Safe Passage UK who seek and support unaccompanied minors, helping to ensure they are safely placed with guardians.

Thank you to all who supported!

(Scroll down to see our earlier post on 1st September for more information)


08.11.16 - Common Thread Trial New Fire Suppression Device

Common Thread attended a Parliamentary Reception this week, hosted by Clare Adamson MSP the Convenor of the Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on Accident Prevention and Safety Awareness. The Blueproof™ is a fire suppression device made out of high tech copolymer smart material that is designed to release water where and when it is needed most in a fire. The Common Thread Group have been trialling Blueproof™ in their homes and schools throughout Scotland  and James Lochrie, Chief Operating Officer said "The safety of the young people in our care is our utmost priority and the effectiveness of this device gives us all comfort knowing that an additional fire safety system is in place in our homes". Further information can be found at

04.11.16 - Common Thread Group attend National Conference

Common Thread would like to thank all those who spent time with us at the recent National Children and Adult Services conference in Manchester.

Our new exhibition stand based on an Art Gallery invited visitors to wander around our 'exhibits' which conveyed the work we do and the success of our young people and staff in pictures.


29.10.16 - Our Unsung Hero

...has recently won the Sunday Mail’s Unsung Hero Award 2016. Natalie, who was on her summer holidays to London, bravely put her life at risk while rescuing a woman in the River Thames.

Natalie’s daughter noticed a woman in the water who appeared to be struggling to stay afloat. Without thinking twice Natalie made the decision to enter the water to try to keep her from drowning. Natalie waited until the RNLI arrived where she handed over the next part of the recovery process. Congratulations Natalie on your award!

30.09.16 - Common Thread Schools raise £80 for MacMillan Cancer Support

Our pupils and staff at Dumfries School raised a grand total of £80 this morning at a coffee morning in aid of MacMillan Cancer Support.

Thank you to all who contributed making this a huge success!

26.09.16 - Common Thread links with Croatia

Ana Rukavina and Ana Šimunec study at Zagreb University and were given the opportunity to participate in the Erasmus + Programme which included a student placement in another EU country. This is their reflection on their time at Common Thread:

"We found out about Common Thread through contact with our university professor Lucija Vejmelka. In the beginning we weren’t sure what would wait for us on our 3 months long experience or how the organisation would work in comparison to the Croatian System.

In Croatia we don’t have many private Residential Child Care Organisations and our homes are dramatically bigger. We were very excited but also we had many worries, from paperwork to our flight, but we accepted the challenge for a Scottish adventure.

From the first day we were welcomed with open arms. Even though we don’t have much experience in this sector we couldn’t help but notice the huge variety of professional practices that have been put in place to help the young people. We had the opportunity to talk to many different professionals and everybody was more than happy to share their knowledge with us. Everybody offered us help, we were alone in another country and having people you can rely on was a real support for us.

We traveled around Scotland, met almost every child that Common Thread looked after and experienced being part of the child welfare system in Scotland. We met so many great people who we gained expert knowledge from, information and people that will stay with us forever.

During our stay we noticed how well Common Thread support their Young People and their staff.  When you have people who feel safe and able to do this work you have a really powerful team. You have to be creative and flexible in your work, and that is exactly what Common Thread is.  Although our adventure in Scotland is over (for now), we hope to have other challenges in partnership with Common Thread."



Ana and Ana have just graduated and are both now qualified with MSc Social Policy from Zagreb University. Well done Ana and Ana from Common Thread, we look forward to hearing what the future holds for you!!



29.07.16 - Celebrate and Appreciate Evening 2016

Common Thread is hugely appreciative of the commitment its staff offers so this year we decided to celebrate that! Common Thread's Celebrate and Appreciate Evening was an evening of fun for both staff members and their loved ones, thanking everyone for their amazing efforts over the years. With Celebratory drinks and Entertainment it was memorable evening. It started with our CEO, Julie Joseph welcoming everyone to Benreay and reminding them of why they were coming together, to 'Celebrate and Appreciate' their efforts in Common Thread.

James Lochrie, our Chief Operating Officer, thanked staff for their hard work and commitment which has helped create positive outcomes for our Young People. James also pointed out that without the support of our staff members friends and family that would never be possible, their contribution important and noted.

We were lucky enough to be joined by magician Neil Henry who showed us a sneak peak of his new show. His performance was clever and creative keeping everyone amused. The evening was a great success and we are already planning next year's event!

01.09.16 - Common Thread Employee supports Syrian Refugees - Can You Help?

.......Irene Knox, therapeutic support worker is busy supporting Syrian Refugees in Greece. Earlier this year, Irene went on an independent volunteer visit to Ritsona Refugee Camp near Chalkis (about 1 hour from Athens). While there, Irene spent time helping new arrivals settle in, she helped erect tents, build paths, entertain children and provided plenty of reassuring hugs along the way. More recently Irene found herself drawn back to Greece and has just returned from a further trip to Skala Sykamineas on the small island of Lesvos where there is a transit camp which provides the initial welcome for refugees in the form of dry clothing, food, water and other essentials. Irene had intended to spend some time helping to clean up the beaches on the island as part of a recreational break, but very quickly found herself immersed in supporting refugees first hand. During a presentation to employees of Common Thread this week, Irene said ‘one minute I was sitting having a chat about how things were and how I could help, and the next it was all hands on deck as an unexpected boat arrived’. Boats had stopped coming into this camp so Irene found herself quickly helping to re-establish the camp at short notice for the new arrivals. Irene spoke fondly of the many wonderful families she had met along the way over both her trips, many of whom had lost relatives and friends in their plight to reach Greece and had arrived with nothing more than what they were wearing. Since returning, Irene has been raising funds, donations and supplies for her next trip in November and is currently looking into sending a container or truck ahead of her arrival. She has also been raising funds through several local initiatives and sharing her story and photographic memories with local groups and the children and young people that Common Thread look after. Irene advised us that financial donations are just as important as this allows her to buy supplies both locally on the island and on the mainland - all in direct response to need. This, Irene feels is crucial, as many of the local people have lost their livelihoods in the tourism industry since the refugee crisis and yet still give their time and commitment to helping where they can. Irene said that by sourcing as many supplies locally as she can, the benefits are not limited to refugees but also go some way to supporting the local community. Irene has previously spent some years living in Greece and her knowledge of the local language has been most useful in negotiating much needed supplies and resources for the refugees. If you are reading this and are interested in helping please email advising what you can offer and we will pass your message on to Irene.

The Tartan Explorer

After surviving a suicide attempt in 2015, He is now attempting to cycle around the world on a global mission to raise awareness of mental health and suicide prevention. Common Thread is sponsoring him for some of his expenses and so far he has ridden over 2000 miles. A remarkable effort I'm sure you will all agree.

See here below a video message to our CEO Julie Joseph, logo and a link to his Facebook site here

Common Thread make strategic appointment of Chief Operating Officer

Julie Joseph, CEO and the Board of Common Thread are thrilled to announce the appointment of James Lochrie as Chief Operating Officer and joins the company at the end of October 2015.

James Lochrie, has an impressive commercial background having worked in the retail sector before retraining in social work.

Originally from Ayrshire, James has lived in Dumfries and Galloway for a number of years and will work out of the Head Office at Benreay, in Lockerbie. He will be responsible for the effective management of all the homes and schools from the Highlands to Central Belt and the Lowlands. In addition he will oversee the opening of new homes or schools that are planned for both Scotland and the North of England.

On his appointment James has said, “I am delighted to be joining the Senior Management Team, these are undoubtedly exciting times for Common Thread, with the recent opening of the new Education and Training Centre in Dumfries, this complements both the residential and day care facilities given to young people in the region and throughout Scotland.“

Julie Joseph said, “This strategic appointment further strengthens the Senior Management Team and to have attracted such a high calibre candidate for the post demonstrates that we are recognised for our vision and the quality of care we provide to those in our care.”