The Butterfly Club
A story by The Butterfly Club
We provided a Summer club for children and young people aged 5-18 with severe and complex learning difficulties in North Ayrshire.
We worked in close partnership with a third sector organisation to deliver stimulating activities and provide opportunities which may not otherwise be available, in a fun and safe environment.
What The Butterfly Club did
Over the last year we have held monthly committee and steering group meetings with Quarriers to plan staffing, training, activity timetable and risk assessments, home visits, school visits and transport to ensure the smooth running of the club. Last year we paid for advertising, but all of our applicants came from either the schools/colleges or through the families who attend, so this year we advertised through
The Butterfly Club page and to previous staff, which saved us money. Staff were then interviewed and where successful were allocated a child. Staff attended both home and school visits which enabled them to complete an in-depth care plan working closely with parents and school staff, and also attended a full and robust training week of both core and child specific training.
Each child was offered 8 days, 9:30-3:30, throughout the summer period, at a cost of £10 per day. The children were split into 3 age appropriate groups to allow them to socialise with their peers, and were offered days on a rota basis. Activities included dry ski slopes, soft play, country parks, speed boats, all ability bikes, various arts and craft activities and use of the facilities available at James Macfarlane School, including therapy pool, sensory studio no outdoor spaces. The senior group also participated in go carting, thus was the first time we had tried this and it was a huge success! . This year we also had a bouncy castle, at a greatly reduced rate, in the main hall/reception which was up all day and proved very successful.
28 children and young people benefited from the club this year and each decorated their own photo album keepsake book showing all the fun things they got up to. A local joiner also donated a specially made wheelchair accessible picnic bench for the children/young people to use, which was decorated and weather proofed by our sprcial butterflies to use year after year. We had 2 team leaders, 20 support staff and 1 volunteer at this years club.
My eldest son has a mild behavioural condition with autistic tendancies. My daughter Rosie has ADHD with Tourette's Syndrome. My son Alfie has Cerebral Palsy, Chronic Lung Disease with Epilepsy, he is also PEG fed and on oxygen overnight. We as a family use The Butterfly Club as a source of freedom for Alfie and us from the day to day stress of our lives. As you can imagine, our lives are very stressful.
The Butterfly Club gives Alfie the chance to be out and about in the holiday period away from school. Alfie is very attached to school and becomes very agitated when out with his routine. The Butterfly Club helps him to maintain friendships with his peers from school. Also being within the school at the club helps him to settle. If we were at home Alfie would be sat in front of the T.V and wouldn't interact with anyone. Alfie doesn't enjoy being outside unless he is with the school and The Butterfly Club.
When Alfie is at the Butterfly club I myself get a much needed rest as well as the other family members. The Butterfly Club is the best thing to happen to us, the staff are amazing and most of all Alfie loves to go. When dropping him off he gets so excited at the gates because he knows he is going to see his friends. When Alfie is at The Butterfly Club I get time to spend with my other children and do things we can't normally do if Alfie was with us.
Alfie also gets to do things and go places I wouldn't have the confidence to go or do, especially the speed boats. Trying to anything with 5 children is also so expensive and we can't afford it. I'm just so glad that Alfie gets this opportunity.
Donna Curran, Alfie's mum.
The Butterfly Club is a great help during the summer as without this Jack with have no structure and the family wouldn't get a break and time to recharge. He loves going to the club and also getting out and about doing the many different activities that are on offer for him. The Butterfly Club is a great resource for families and children with special needs"
Lindsay Frearson, Jacks mum.
It also helps knowing that she is having fun with her fiends so we don't feel guilty about doing things without her. It's lovely when we pick her up and get to hear what she's been up to and she can show us her diary. "
Junior Butterfly parent
What The Butterfly Club has learnedWe learned that often carers with added pressures may forget deadlines or may need help filling in forms and gathering information for support plans. This year we worked even closer with social services and both schools to ensure that everyone who really needed a place had the help and support they needed to get one.
We also noted that it's very hard to find activities that everyone will enjoy, whilst we certainly try to plan trips around everyone's needs we sometimes have to go with a majority. This year, where children/young people were not enjoying particular activities, we allowed them to chose individual activities which they would prefer.
Funding is becoming increasingly harder to find and secure, and with costs going up and more groups/organisations seeking funding we have learned that we may not always get the funding we require. For this reason we have put together contingency plans for reduced days and outings at the club.