A story by Fabb Scotland
We provided an exciting multi-activity themed programme for 110 children and young people who have a range of complex needs, this providing invaluable respite for families.
Themes ranged from Weird Science, Music Live, Fab Food, Academy Awards, Art Attack,Wild Camping, Bushcraft and Superheroes.
What Fabb-i-do Weekends did
We recruited 10 new volunteers and provided continuity of care with experienced staff leading the programme. The young people who participated were referred by the Local Authority, NHS or other third sector organisation. An increasing number of young people and their families/carers self-referred following the positive feedback from others. We encouraged more families to access self-directed support.
We provided 11 themed weekends and two longer 4 day breaks, one to Belfast and the other to Alton Towers. Each themed weekend provides 48 hours respite for families. We supported 132 young people and their carers/families over the year.
Feedback from parents and carers described what they did with their time. For some it was a chance to spend time with other siblings who they felt were neglected due to the demands of caring for a disabled child. For others the weekend provided a chance to have quality time with their partner and friends.
Parents/carers enjoyed much-needed trips away, meals out, exercising, shopping something few felt able to tackle with a disabled child and for others the weekends provided an opportunity to decorate the house or enjoy some gardening! For the young people the programme was full, every themed weekend provided something for everyone. Young people were involved in the planning of activities and the programme offered choice. Popular themes included, Fab Food, Murder Mystery, Movie Making, Music Live, Outdoor Adventure, Art Attack, Weird Science, Valentines Easter and Halloween.
Six of the young people were progressed as peer leaders, provided with training and have "buddied up" younger or new participants. Young people enjoyed the longer trips away, particularly to Belfast. The trip included visits to the Giants Causeway, the Titanic Museum and the Science Museum. We stayed in the beautiful Mourne Mountains in a lodge once owned by Fabb Northern Ireland. From this to staying in Alton Castle for the very popular trip to Alton Castle.
In feedback about the Fabb- i do Weekends she said, "My son has grown in confidence, made great friends and has so much fun at Fabb. He relies on the structure of the day and Fabb are the only service who has provided the continuity and support to me over the past 15 years, they are a wonderful organisation and without them continuing to provide the services I and my son would be lost. "
"The Fabb staff have been flexible and patient, supporting our daughter until she could come to weekends on her own. E enjoys the breaks and has made great friends. It has been a lifeline for our family, particularly over the past 6 months when we lost our parents. The weekends gave us time to deal with our loss."
KP attended the next movie making weekend and it was the first time her parents had been able to go away together. The plan for the parents was to stay in a local hotel instead they felt confident to return home and chose to decorate their house instead!
What Fabb Scotland has learnedThis Project has been one of the most successful we have delivered and has led to the development of other services for the charity. The range of activities and the themes have been very well received with feedback from carers and participants extremely positive.
Carers comments include “the length of the weekend break is just right and gives real respite.” “I know I can trust X is in good hands and is having fun. ”
"It's the only time I can plan to do things for myself as the breaks are well planned and dates set in well in advance." "I can switch off and recharge my batteries!" For the majority of carers/parents it is the first time they have had a break outwith family members support.
We have met all of the targets set, however the challenge has been excessive demand and requests from families across Scotland, particularly from those that have children with more complex needs. We have attracted new carers and families less likely to ask for support by engaging directly with community groups and local authorities working with hard to reach families.