Signpost began as a volunteer project in September 2000, run by a group of parents who started a help-line in a back room of founder Lesley Mount’s house, supported by a grant from the Millennium Commission.
Telephone callers were offered information about local services and a chance to chat to parents who had been through similar experiences. The volunteers used the knowledge they had gained from looking after their own children, and the information they had collected about local services in West Lothian.
After a successful year, Signpost became a charity funded by the National Lottery, Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland and Children in Need. Lesley Mount and Lindy Ling became the first co-managers, and in time the charity grew to 5 staff. They had their work cut out to keep up with demand as word spread about Signpost and it was contacted by more and more families, until hundreds were receiving both practical and emotional support each year.
During Signpost’s two decades, it won several awards. The DSC Social Change Award was given for work with families of young people moving on from school, and an NHS ‘Health Heroes’ award was presented for autism services. However, our pioneering offer of free family passes to local attractions, for families whose children’s uncertain health often meant day trips were an expensive gamble, was by far the favourite innovation among the many that Signpost tried out, and has been widely copied. The charity’s exclusive 10th anniversary party at Five Sisters’ Zoo was a night to remember for all who attended.
Signpost’s mission was always to support children from 0-18 to overcome the challenges caused by their disability. With the help of highly experienced and long-serving staff like Elizabeth Stevenson and Amanda Young, a whole generation of young people in West Lothian, from toddlerhood to adulthood, were helped to make the most of life and fulfil their potential.
Although Signpost closed its doors on 31 March 2023, the staff worked hard to ensure that all the knowledge and skills built up over the years were not lost to the community, by creating this website, and by passing on knowledge and resources to Carers of West Lothian. The website will remain online until at least March 2025.
Founder and Chief Executive Lesley Mount says
“We would like to thank all of the staff, trustees and supporters who have contributed to Signpost’s success over the years – I am proud to have been part of such a great team of people and to have made a difference to so many children’s lives”.
“It has been a privilege to work with such dedicated people and see Signpost go from strength to strength”