A story by Support Help & Integration in Perthshire
We provided 7 weeks of holiday playscheme, 8 Saturday sessions and 2 Saturday Christmas respite sessions for children and young people with additional support needs living in Perth and Kinross.
This allowed carers time to themselves and the opportunity for the children and young people to develop skills.
What Splash Playschemes did
Staff Recruitment, we recruited one new member of staff prior to the playschemes. All other staff were sessional staff who have worked a number of years with the service. Volunteer Recruitment, we continuously recruit volunteers throughout the year to support our service. We have recruited approximately 30 volunteers over the last year. They are at the heart of what we do and we would not be able to provide a one-to-one service without them. We have a steady turnover of volunteers as the majority of them are of school age. This means there becomes a point where they leave to find a job or go onto further education.
Advertising and Choosing, we have a number of families who are registered with our service. These families are emailed information regarding the activities. We also advertise on our website and through social media. We receive referrals through social work and through the specialist school within Perth and Kinross. A number of carers hear about our service through word of mouth. We strive to support any child who has any additional support needs, regardless of the complexity. This means at times, we may need to undergo specialist training in order to include the young person.
Type of break, we provided 28 sessions of playscheme for 6 hours per day for up to 25 young people within Perth and Kinross. We provide day trips away for the young people to a variety of venues including: Cairnie Fruit Farm, Active Kids, Five Sisters Zoo and many more. We also provided 8 Saturday respite sessions which include a variety of activities each session. These include cooking, sensory play, outdoor play, arts and crafts and many more. We also provided 2 Saturday Christmas respite sessions. One session was based on a Winter Wonderland sensory theme and the other session was a trip to the pantomime.
Carers, the carers had the opportunity to spend time with their other children, go to work, spend time doing hobbies or tasks such as shopping or simply having some time to relax.
SHIP has provided us with much appreciated time to spend with our other children, trying to ensure their individual needs were met, or sometimes simply a less difficult trip to the supermarket. SHIP has been a massive part of our coping mechanisms in addition to providing a safe place for Neil to spend social time with his peers. Long live SHIP!
Alison & Andrew Pennycook
The time that our son spends at SHIP also allows us to spend time with our other son who does not get as much attention due to our other son's disability. At times, it also allows my husband and I to have time as a couple.
The play scheme during holidays enables our son to attend activities in a supported way and helps him to cope with change to his usual school routine. It also allows us to work during these times as it is extremely difficult to cover all school holidays using annual leave.
As a working parent, I would be lost without the playscheme as it helps me greatly to cover childcare during this long period too. I am extremely grateful and my son is also delighted that he can often now attend the odd Saturday session during term time. This allows us valuable time to spend with his older brother and also lets him have even more fun with SHIP!
They are an amazing local charity which deserves ongoing funding and support to continue their vital services.
What Support Help & Integration in Perthshire has learnedThe fund has made a huge difference to our families and has been crucial in allowing carers to have a break over particularly long and stressful holiday periods. We couldn’t run this service without the fund – a big thank you from us all!
We have attracted new carers by offering home visits when we receive new referrals. This allows us to meet the carers and their children in an environment which they feel comfortable and secure. This gives the carers more confidence in their child attending as they have met at least one staff member prior to coming along for a taster session.
The service has become more personalised by allowing the young people to order their choice of trips by preference. Thus, allowing us to allocate spaces on trips by the young person’s interests and has allowed us to allocate trips more appropriately to meet the young people’s needs.