A story by Aberlour Child Care Trust
Our project increases inclusion for children with multiple disabilities especially complex physical disabilities and raises awareness in mainstream adventure provision about the needs to be inclusive.
Options Adventures is a national short breaks service enabling disabled children across Scotland to access mainstream adventures and experiences while their parents and carers enjoy a short break.
What Options Adventures did
A core team of Aberlour support workers has been established. There are 12 staff who are experienced and willing to work on adventure breaks across Scotland with young people that they’ve not worked with before. A volunteer has attended 2 residential breaks in 2016.
There have been 6x2 night residential breaks in Aviemore, Ratho, Edinburgh, Fife and Ayrshire. There have been 5x1 day activities in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Blair Drummond, Aviemore and Fife.
Carers do not participate on residential breaks but through questionnaires and phone conversations I know that carers have been able to spend quality time with their other children, they have been away on short breaks themselves, they’ve been able to complete DIY work on their homes and also go out with friends on an evening.
1 parent has come along to a day activity at Blair Drummond Safari Park. She said that it was really nice to see her children participate in activities that she doesn’t get the chance to take them along to herself.
The accommodation was provided by one of Aberlour's Options respite houses which allowed us to confidently take care of all moving and handling and personal care needs in a safe and familiar environment. The activities undertaken on this trip were kayaking, sailing, adapted cycling, bowling and archery.
For 3 of the 4 young people it was their first experience of being out on open water and riding a bike which made for a really enjoyable experience for all involved. For one young person the trip allowed her to re-engage with her love of sailing which she had done in the past but hadn’t been for a while.
The parent/carer feedback was unanimously positive with 2 of 4 parents getting physically emotional during the post trip phone call I made to them. They all said how happy they were that their children were given the opportunity to do adventurous activities that they never thought they’d ever be able to do.
The carer was able to go out with her friends to the pub and not worry about having to get home early to relieve her mother of babysitting duties. She said that having the opportunity to do this a few times a year really help her to feel supported in her caring role. She also was really happy to know what her children are capable of activity wise and also how they took part in the core group responsibilities like cooking, cleaning and making their beds.
What Aberlour Child Care Trust has learnedAn unexpected benefit from the fund has been that it has allowed Aberlour to offer an opportunity for last minute emergency referrals to take place on Adventure Breaks and it has allowed the Options Adventures Activity coordinators activity skills to be used for Aberlour services that are in need of extra support. For example a new Aberlour care home in Fort William was in need of extra support and a summer holidays activity plan which I as coordinator was able to provide as part of the Options Adventures Service.
The wider organisation has benefited by being able to advertise the opportunity for Adventure breaks for young people when going up for tender bids. It adds an extra dynamic for respite opportunities. The Options Adventures Facebook page has brought in some new carers who have been desperate for some extra support that their local authority is currently unable to provide. The social media platform has opened up doors to new carers.