Successful applicants are expected (as a condition of receiving the grant) to provide a written report on their study trip and show how their findings could be of practical benefit to consumers/service users in Scotland.  The following are reports from our successful applicants.

Self Directed Support - A Journey of Discovery, Raymond Brennan

Raymond was awarded a travelling scholarship in 2010 to learn about approaches to Self Directed Support in the US.  His report is an account of one man’s journey to the USA to seek out best practice in supporting independent living and the real difference it can make to individuals and to communities. Scotland is moving towards putting in place legislation to embed self-directed support as the default option for everyone who uses care and support services. The Peter Gibson Memorial Fund Trustees hope that the lessons learned from this study trip will make a unique contribution to shaping success in terms of giving people real choice and control over the support that they have decided they need and want.


Raymond Brennan has spent his recent working life in North Lanarkshire committed to working with people to plan their own person-centred supported living services. With help of a grant from the PGMF, Raymond travelled to New Jersey and Philadelphia. He spent time with two community support organisations, but more importantly, with people who organised their own support and who lived independently with enjoyment and as valued key members of their local community.  You can access Raymond's full report here

Peer Mentoring for Students with Disabilities by Students with Disabilities, Leila Malone

The grant from the Fund enabled Leila Malone the opportunity to travel to the United States of America in 2011 where she spent two weeks researching peer mentor programmes within the disability services of two universities, Lehigh University and Barnard College. The overall aim of this research was to explore ways in which students with disabilities at Scottish universities could become more involved in the support services offered to them. Specifically, she was concerned with discovering how to set up and maintain a peer mentor programme which could be run by, and for, these students.

After graduating from the University of Glasgow with an honours degree in psychology, Leila Malone worked at the University of Strathclyde as a non-medical personal helper within the disability service. She worked closely with a number of students registered with the service on a one-to-one basis and it was during this time that she began to develop an understanding of the needs and wants of students with disabilities. Her main interests lie in education, special educational needs, disability rights and advocacy. You can access Leila's full report here 

The Role of Social Enterprise in Recovery from Drug and Alcohol Addiction: a report on a visit to the San Patrignano community, Mark Bitel

Established over 30 years ago, the community at San Patrignano grew from one man's efforts to provide a place of safety to a woman who was trying to get off drugs.  Mark Bitel visited the San Patrignano community with financial assistance from PGMF and came back inspired by what he had seen.  This report sets out what he found and how he plans to introduce the ideas and the approach in Scotland.  You can access Mark's full report here

Publicly Available Information on the Effectiveness of Third Sector Organisations, Stewart Black

This is the report of research supported by the Peter Gibson Memorial Fund (PGMF) which examined the public availability of information on the effectiveness of third sector bodies. The effectiveness of such bodies is clearly a matter of the greatest importance, as the research confirmed. There is also interest in such information, for example from charities' partners and donors.

The main focus of the research was an examination of practices in the United States, where there has been greater interest in, and practice relating to, increasing the availability of such information than in the UK. The research also took into account the views of several important Scottish bodies on this issue. Consistent with PGMF's Scottish focus, the report's conclusions have been drawn for their relevance to Scotland.  You can access Stewart's full report here