East Ayrshire Service for Young Care Leavers

Support Model: Psychologically Informed Environment (PIE)


A PIE involves the development of an approach that has consciously been designed to take into account the psychological needs, emotional needs and past experiences of young people;

The PIE model focuses on 5 key areas

1. Relationships

2. Staff support and training

3. The physical environment and social spaces

4. A psychological framework

5. Evidence generating practice


The purpose of this support model is to encourage change within behaviours and emotions by understanding the theory and research around the young person’s past issues, building positive relationships, having realistic person centred support plans, working within Better Futures and through a Development Wheel in which young people identify the areas they feel confident to progress on at any given time.

Giving creative thought to the physical spaces and developing them as a place of wellbeing rather than being led solely by practicality/cost is important. Having young people’s input to the physical environment such as choosing colour schemes and items for their accommodation gives an immediate feeling of investment, comfort and ownership of the space.

Staff receive a bespoke training package covering topics such as; Understanding Complex Trauma, Understanding Relationship Building, Understanding Attachment & Relationships, Understanding Personality Disorders, Managing Relationships and Reflective Practice.

Staff engage in individual and team reflective practice sessions which builds on learning, consistency of support approach and resilience. We are working toward staff having access to regular reflective practice sessions with a Psychologist to discuss current/future psychological needs of the service users.

This model is innovative and an exciting opportunity for young people to build a solid foundation and gradually grow within their own strengths and abilities. Support will be given by staff who are creative and flexible in their approach to assisting with the needs of young people. In addition there is a focus on building support from the existing positive relationships within the young person’s social network.

Throughout the journey of the development of our PIE we would like to acknowledge some organisation and people who have gratefully donated their time to us; St Basils homeless charity in Birmingham and Dr Adam Burley, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Royal Infirmary Edinburgh and several others who are not named including leading University Psychologists in the field.

 Staff and service users from the Whatriggs project

This service is being delivered in partnership with East Ayrshire Council working with care leavers aged 16 to 25. The project will be thoroughly evaluated on the achieved outcomes in 2017 which will have an effect on future delivery models.

The photos below are examples of how the young people have chosen to decorate their rooms.