Holiday Playschemes for Glasgow Children
A story by Buddies Clubs and Services
We provided 25 places for Glasgow children to attend our holiday playschemes over a period of 8 weeks over the year.
This gave families who have children with complex needs the opportunity to have some much needed respite while their young people were looked after in a safe, caring and stimulating environment.
What Holiday Playschemes for Glasgow Children did
As it has been for the past number of years we found that children in Glasgow were not going to receive any financial support to attend our Holiday Club. Prior to our Easter Holiday Club this year we recorded ten people on our waiting list who weren’t already enrolled in our service (from whom we receive over fifty applications per club) and as soon as word got out that we had funding available we received requests from carers centres and social who had no budget to support these families who found themselves in somewhat helpless circumstances.
The club is organised around the needs of the individual children and can only succeed as it has done for the past two decades because the children receive the targeted, personalised support that they need. Almost all of our children required 1-1 support but a few could fit into groups. There were also 8 young people who needed 2-1 support. Unfortunately we could not offer the requested number of places to most people because of the severely high demand we have for each club.
We are only registered to take 35 young people per day and we had applications from over 50 families each time. We predict that the situation will be the same if not more serious as we continue to receive placement requests which include holiday club interest. This is due to the lack of children’s services available in the city. This year we have continued to have been able to work with the local authority to provide transport. Despite the predominantly grim weather throughout the year, the young people were kept very busy attending swimming facilities, soft play areas, farm visits, Blair Drummond Safari Park, the Science Centre, trampoline parks, bowling, mini golf, the Chocolate Factory, Ayr, fundraising walks, Five Sisters Zoo, M&Ds, stadium tours, the SeaLife centre, parks, beaches and cinemas.
These are just a few of the activities we try to accommodate all the request of the children and their families and carers. The children meet everyday at Buddies and they proceed to go in their groups to the pre-arranged activities. Most carers found they were able to spend quality time with other siblings and even opportunities to meet their own friends
Staff had a series of pre meetings with V at school and at Buddies prior to the Holiday club. This helped staff to find appropriate trips and outings which could meet his needs and distract his from situation which might cause him to become more challenging. V's father was initially very apprehensive after discovering which activities his son would be participating in but his fears were alleviated when he saw how happy his son was upon returning home and the positive influence the club has had on him. V has thoroughly enjoyed the trips in play scheme and has made positive relationships, both with the staff and the other children.
D's dad got back in touch with us and we recommended that D attend our holiday clubs and because of Better Breaks funding we were able to fund D two days per week through our Easter, Summer and October Clubs. Dad has said that it had really helped him cope through the holiday periods as it gave him a break and his daughter somewhere to go. He mentioned that the staff "really understood her needs", that D "absolutely loved her days out" and that Buddies is a "perfect place for the kids". High praise and hopefully we can continue to live up to this and continue to positively influence the family unit as a whole.
One mother offered us feedback saying how thrilled and surprised she was that her son went bowling with us as she thought he would never be able to manage with the noise and crowded area. She has now been able to feel more confident and open her horizons to take her son places.
What Buddies Clubs and Services has learnedWe are constantly learning just how paramount the holiday clubs are to families. There are so many similar stories from parents and carers saying that they can just about cope during term time because their young people have school and structure to their day. The same can be said for the evenings as the families put in enormous effort trying to plan out and structure extracurricular activities that would suit the high needs and complexities of their children, which is a tough task indeed at the best of times.
Holiday periods can also seem quite daunting and helpless as if it weren't for the holiday clubs then the young people would be stuck at home with little to no social outlets whatsoever and parents/carers in some cases would have to give up employment to care for the children. This has a marked effect on siblings as they can also suffer as they sometimes end up being carers for their brother(s) or sister(s) and often miss out on having time with their own friends and having their own lives.
For the past number of years the Better Breaks programme has changed the lives of all the families who are lucky enough to benefit. Whilst unexpected challenges always arise, the pre planning and meetings with families help as the children already know the staff before they arrive for days out. New carers/cared for children are year long being referred from a range of carers groups and the special schools as there is precious little other services throughout the city.
Unfortunately we find ourselves in a position where we simply cannot physically accommodate all the new requests we get each and every club. We do however always keep the names we receive on our waiting list. Since most families of young children now receive no services parents often have to be encouraged to let their young people join in and make friends but once they do this they find that their children are happy and love their time with us.