We have set up an accessible Youth Group that runs for 5 hours every fortnight for 12 children and young people from rural areas within Clydesdale. This group has become extremely important to 7 children on the Autism Spectum who were having real struggles accessing or enjoying other local clubs and groups. This has meant a shift in focus towards providing intensive 2:1 support for these kids as it was felt that the benefit of providing this kind of support for children so often excluded from other play activities would be transformational for their families.
Our Youth Group provides such a positive, confident and intensive approach to interacting and connecting with children whose behaviour has often been deemed ‘too challenging’ that parents can then actually experience the benefits of regular pleasant breaks as opposed to irregular stressful ones where they are so worried that their child may be self-harming, hurting others or feeling left out that they get no meaningful break at all.
We are also providing intensive outreach in their own homes to 2 children whose difficulties have thus far stopped them from feeling able to leave the house without their parents and from having a social life outside of family life. Our outreach workers have built very good relationships with these children and are progressing towards accompanying them to local clubs.
What might seem like very small steps – feeling comfortable enough to sit calmly and chat to a worker or play a card game with them- are huge developments for these children and have taken intensive and careful rapport building by outreach staff. Progress is built on at every outreach session and leaves parents with a the realistic expectation that their children will soon be able to leave the house with the worker and attend a local club or other play setting.
We delivered a holiday club for 19 pupils from Corseford School over 10 days during the Summer Holidays.The Club daily hours were 10am-4pm. Staff were recruited from existing school staff on a 1:1 ratio.
All carers and pupils were surveyed before the Club and as a result,a range of activities were offered eg speed boats, barge trips, archery, bowling, accessible cycling,swimming. Activities tailored to each child’s age and abilities. Week 1 for the younger pupils and week 2 for older.
Where requested, taxis and trained escorts were provided for the journeys.This significantly extended the break each family enjoyed.
We held a summer club in July 2013 with a variety of activities and outings for young people to choose from. We are also offering an after school club four nights per week with escorted transport included. The summer club was extended by a week and exceeded its target for carers respite hours. 14 young people rather than the planned 12 attended.
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.
We achieved our aim and more. The young people had a wonderful 2 days of activities which they would otherwise have been unable to participate in. Parent/carers also joined in with activities and everyone was able to socialise in the evening.
Parent/carers returned refreshed, re-energised and ready to continue in their caring role.
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.