Stay and Play Moray
A story by Quarriers
Quarriers provided fun activities at weekends, evenings and during school holidays for children with multiple additional needs at multiple community venues across Moray.
Carers, parents and family members were invited to stay and play with their children and/or join in with short break activities such as health, beauty and yoga sessions.
What Stay and Play Moray did
Quarriers advertised our Stay and Play sessions through our Moray Carers Service, contacting specific Carers who were identified as being in most need of a break, alongside more general advertising of the short break activities by leaflets and posters etc.
We delivered 12 regular monthly sessions, as well as 9 additional school holiday sessions, in venues across Elgin, Forres, Buckie and Lhanbryde.
Our range of activities included physical activity, video games, tech time, food adventure, drumming workshop, messy play, Christmas Party, make your own fun, soft play, cinema, and outdoor activities with Earthtime.
At Stay and Play, Ben found a safe environment where he was able to meet new people and try new things. When needed he was accompanied by his brother, however once Ben became more comfortable on his own, he was able to join in with small groups without the help of his brother or his mum. This has meant a real increase in the opportunities Ben has to take part in activities which he finds fun, stimulating and rewarding, and through support to join in on his own, Ben's mum and brother are both able to enjoy time for themselves.
"Today was the first time my son has joined in with messy play, which is amazing! He did messy play before with Quarriers and with another organisation, and refused to participate. This is now one of Ben’s safe places. It gives him a chance to socialise which does not happen often, and Ben was able to play in the play area without me or my other son for a while. Doesn’t usually happen." - Ben's Mum.
In addition, our Carers Service through Stay & Play have also supported three parent Carers to develop plans for a support group. Quarriers have supported the group to become constituted and they have recently secured a small grant from a local participatory budgeting funding stream in Moray.
Susan was made aware of Stay & Play and invited to come along to a session in Elgin as a taster session. Susan was supported to attend, her Carer Support Worker went with her to her first session, so that she had a familiar face to provide emotional support and a bit of extra confidence.
Susan's daughter really enjoyed the activity on offer, which was 'Food Adventure', and Susan met a number of other parents in a similar situation to herself.
"The kids loved playing with other kids and I got to chat and relax with other parents. At our first session, I met new people and even got to read my book. Since then, we have enjoyed making cakes together and it's nice to get a chance to speak to other parents. My daughter loved being creative, and eating is a favourite hobby of hers!
It was so good to catch up with others and talk and I feel so relaxed after the yoga session. Nice to talk to other mums in the same position too." - Susan.
What Quarriers has learnedIn this year’s delivery of Stay & Play, we introduced outdoor activities with our partner Earthtime. Many of the parents had discussed with our staff that they were keen to see their children playing outdoors, as this was something they were often unable to do. However, despite this our Earthtime session proved to be the lowest attendance of all sessions throughout the year, with only two families attending. Through evaluation we have learned that many parents were unsure of the activities provided, and as they were outdoors, needed a bit more reassurance, information and planning than usual. On the plus side, the families that did attend thoroughly enjoyed the session and have now agreed to take part in a pilot project in Moray, providing outdoor activities for children with multiple additional needs.
Our best attended sessions included our Soft Play, Video Games and Cinema sessions. This has shown a clear appetite from families and their children to be able to take part in ‘mainstream’ leisure activities, provided they are accessible to them. At one cinema session, we had 23 children with additional needs in attendance.