A team originally of 8 young people, but dropping to 7 got together to learn navigation, wild camp craft, (including outdoor cooking skills), videography and canoeing skills. The events occurred in East Dunbartonshire, Glasgow, Ayrshire, Lochgoilhead and on Loch Goil and Loch Lomond.
The team canoed on open water, took part in self-rescue skills, (capsize drill) and camped on remote islands on the Loch. In addition a water sports based residential opportunity for 10 young people lasting 5 days was provided in Lochgoilhead. They then worked together to produce a video summary and have spoken at events to promote their activities.
Every year we organise special breaks for our families. The children and young people we support have cancer or leukaemia – a long term or incurable disease. Many of our families are on low incomes because they are carers and have had to give up paid employment.
We have been able to offer new and additional holidays to the families who come to us for support. Holidays have included to Torquay in Devon and Donnas Dreamhouse in Blackpool.
To date we have delivered respite services to 2 young people and 3 carers, a 5 week arts club and an 8 week photography club.
Young people have gone out for dinner, gone to the pantomime, visited local fetes, had walks along the beach, massage/girly pampering sessions, visited local parks, taken lots of photographs, made lots of art works and held an exhibition.
We have delivered three Fun and Friendship Youth Clubs every week enabling 37 young people aged 12-18 with additional support needs to attend a weekly social club.
The Clubs ran Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings as planned and enabled young people to attend a weekly social experience independently of their parents/carers and enjoy building friendships and new fun activities.
At the same time, their parents enjoyed the regular break from their caring responsibilities and had the opportunity to spend quality time with their partners, friends, or with their other children.
To date we have held four events: a night out bowling, a DVD & pizza night at our main base in Edinburgh, a bonfire and BBQ within a community garden, and a Festive Fun party to celebrate the holidays coming. 35 young folk have attended between 1 and 4 events of their choosing, with each attending an average of 2 so far.
We set up two local cycling hubs in each of the geographic areas at the venues identified following consultation with parents/carers,providers and young people, the third is progressing as planned.
We arranged school visits linking into the local cycling hub, targeting specific schools. We organised weekly after school cycling sessions, for example 24 weekly sessions have been organised as Open bike nights at the Fife hub and a 16 weekly programme at the Edinburgh hub. Organised 10 cycle out days and events engaging 260 young people.
Trained one Blazing Saddles’ volunteer as a professional Bike Mechanic (Velotech Gold Award) thus providing a full service and repair check of the bikes. Provided recognised Cycling Scotland Bike Leader Training but adapted the course to focus on leading disabled children on adapted bikes.
We worked with Scottish Disability Sport, Scottish Cycling and Cycling Scotland to identify and map mainstream cycling clubs who support cycling for disabled people.
We have delivered mainly short breaks of 3 – 6 hours in the evenings or weekends. Students go with a befriender on a 1:1 basis or in small social groups. We encourage age appropriate activities that the students select e.g.
• Day trips using public transport.
• Folk clubs, circus, café, restaurants.
• Swimming with trips to try out different pools.
• Walks around Edinburgh; Arthur’s Seat, Botanic Gardens.
• Pub meals hopefully preceded by some shopping for that latest glittery nail varnish or must-have magazine!
• Arts and Crafts events e.g. painting ceramic birds.
• Weekend in Glasgow with a packed schedule of concerts and meals.
To date we have delivered 2, two night/three day activity breaks / respite trips for 20 individuals from Edinburgh, Lothians and the Borders. The activities on each trip were selected by the individuals and we covered hill walking, mountain biking, canoeing, map reading and orienteering over the two trips away.
In addition, we also focused on essential life skills (cooking, cleaning, planning, social skills and essential relaxation) whilst staying at the Cromdale Centre. Individual feedback as well as feedback from parents/carers has been excellent.
West of Scotland Sailing adventure – In July 2013 10 blind and partially sighted CYP sailed from Oban aboard Alba Volunteer for a 5 day/4 night sailing adventure. Promoting Independence Summer Camp – Broomlee – This 5 day/4 night residential was attended by 15 YP aged 14-18. The focus was on independent living and transition.
It included workshops on developing confidence, assistive technology, cooking skills, independent travel, personal care, employability, preparation for post-16 transition, outdoor activities and loads of fun!
5 weekly Out of School Clubs :- These have been delivered at Knowetop Primary in North Lanarkshire; Uddingston Grammar School, South Lanarkshire; Aberdeen Visual Impairment Service, Aberdeen City; Darnley Primary School, Glasgow; Eyebeez Club, Hamilton. Each club is regularly attended by 10-15 children.
Family Fun Day (Borders) :- We had an Outdoor Adventure Activity Day for all the family on 2nd November 2013. Attended by 20 children and young people with 15 parents and 8 volunteers. The emphasis was on team building and confidence development. Despite torrential rain all the families had an excellent experience.
The service delivers a dedicated short break service to young people aged between 5 and 20 years old affected by epilepsy combined with profound and multiple disabilities, and their carers.
Support hours are offered to the young person and parent/carer, and it’s entirely their decision how regularly they would like to use this allowance. Many families have expressed a preference for a little and often, this means a regular and reliable respite from the caring role but also an opportunity for the young person to routinely attend a group or take part in an activity.