During the last 8 months PLUS has succeeded in providing a flexible and creative respite service for 24 children and young people and their families.
We have listened to the requirements of both parents and children in order to meet their needs. Since April 2013 we have enabled 40 parents/carers to have regular breaks from caring. We met with each family prior to getting breaks underway and we assessed the needs of the children and young people and agreed individual outcomes with parents/carers .
Some breaks are taken at home and others take place out in the community. Activities have ranged from story-telling, craft and baking to horse-riding. We have on some occasions, linked up with other children/carers during breaks to facilitate social opportunities.
Opportunity PLUS has delivered 57 x 2 hour play sessions for children aged 3-5 years with disabilities and 57 x 2 hour sessions of free time for parents/carers.
Children participate in baking, arts and crafts, free play and sensory play in small groups. Siblings aged 3-5 years are able to attend sessions as well which, in some instances, ensures a more complete break for the parents/carers.
Some parents/carers opt to spend time in our family room whilst others choose to do some grocery shopping or to spend time with their other children. In addition to this, transport was provided to some families to remove access as the barrier to inclusion in the project.
We provided a 2-day break for families at Ardentinny Outdoor Education Centre in Argyll. Thirteen children and young people with epilepsy attended, along with 36 carers including young carers.
We provided transport, accommodation, catering, outdoor adventure activities and entertainment tailored to meet the needs of our group. Children and young people took part in gorge-walking, canoeing, abseiling and archery with their peers. Adults enjoyed sailing, orienteering, archery and canoeing.
Families worked together to complete “team challenges”. We also enjoyed a guided night walk, a disco, a quiz, a surprise birthday party and an “Ardentinny Champions” awards ceremony.
The project facilitated the following supported group outings and events for young people and their families:
Falkirk district families trips to Glasgow Science Centre and Auchingarrich Wildlife Centre
Clackmannanshire families trips to Auchingarrich Wildlife Centre and The Yard, Edinburgh
Falkirk district families trips to tenpin bowling and The Yard, Edinburgh
Clackmannanshire families trips to Resonate Together, Alloa and Glasgow Science Centre
Falkirk district families Play and Chat session, Falkirk
In addition, in order to target parent carers in Clackmannanshire and make the outings more widely accessible, four parents group meetings were facilitated in this area.
West of Scotland Sailing adventure – In July 2013 10 blind and partially sighted CYP sailed from Oban aboard Alba Volunteer for a 5 day/4 night sailing adventure. Promoting Independence Summer Camp – Broomlee – This 5 day/4 night residential was attended by 15 YP aged 14-18. The focus was on independent living and transition.
It included workshops on developing confidence, assistive technology, cooking skills, independent travel, personal care, employability, preparation for post-16 transition, outdoor activities and loads of fun!
5 weekly Out of School Clubs :- These have been delivered at Knowetop Primary in North Lanarkshire; Uddingston Grammar School, South Lanarkshire; Aberdeen Visual Impairment Service, Aberdeen City; Darnley Primary School, Glasgow; Eyebeez Club, Hamilton. Each club is regularly attended by 10-15 children.
Family Fun Day (Borders) :- We had an Outdoor Adventure Activity Day for all the family on 2nd November 2013. Attended by 20 children and young people with 15 parents and 8 volunteers. The emphasis was on team building and confidence development. Despite torrential rain all the families had an excellent experience.