A story by Angus Special Playscheme
We provide a varied programme of activities and trips during the school holidays for 20 young people aged 15-18 with learning difficulties. The scheme runs for 5 hours per day and also includes a longer day trip at the end of the summer and two day trips at the weekend during term time.
What 15-18 Scheme did
We were able to offer 16 sessions throughout the year. There were 3 sessions in the Easter holidays, 9 in the summer holidays, 3 in the October holidays and a trip to a pantomime in December.
During the year we went swimming regularly, we went indoor bowling,
we enjoyed Lazer Tag and a visit to Innoflate and the Botannical Gardens, we had lunch out at a local cafe and we had an extended day trip to Landmark. On two of the days we included some of the young people from our 10-15 scheme who are due to transition into this scheme. This allows them to familiarise themselves with the scheme and get to know any young people, staff and volunteers they do not already know.
What Angus Special Playscheme has learned
This year we arranged for the young people in the 10-15 scheme who are due to move up into this scheme in the near future to attend for a couple of days so that they would be comfortable with moving. This was a success and we would like to expand this so that we can tailor the transition period to suit each individual young person who is due to join this scheme.
We also run a 121 scheme for young people with complex needs, We would also like to look at including these young people into some of the activities of this scheme.
We have learned from operating over several years that some of the young people are upset to leave when they are 18 years of age or leave full time education. We are going to look at what we can do to support the transition of the young people into adult services so that it is a more positive experience for all the young people.
How Angus Special Playscheme has benefitted from the funding
It has allowed us to offer a well run service with professional staff to the young people and their parents and carers. We are the only service in Angus who offer this type of service and the funding allows us to give the young people who attend an opportunity to take part in social activities and gives carers an opportunity to pursue their own interests which they would not be able to do otherwise.
20 young people with learning difficulties will report having enjoyed attending Scheme, developing friendships and having fun engaging in activities they have chosen. This will be corroborated by carers
We ran during the Easter, Summer and October holidays as well as a pre-Christmas trip to a local pantomime. 19 young people aged 15-18 attended over the year and there were also 6 young people from the 10-15 scheme who attended over 2 days as part of their transition into this scheme. The young people together with staff and volunteers drew up a list of possible activities for the year taking account of interests, costs and travel time.
L is a 15 year old with a range of conditions including ASD, ADHD and DiGeorge Syndrome. He joined the playscheme this year with his carer saying that he was isolated at home and did not have social contact with his peers in the holidays. He attended from the Summer and he seemed to settle in easily. After a couple of weeks staff reported that he did not engage with the other young people but only with the staff. Staff decided to support him to get to know the other young people on an individual basis joining them for snack and lunch and engaging in conversations. This took some time and the other young people were also supportive by initiating conversation, asking him about his interests and encouraging him to join in activities. By the time of Christmas pantomime trip L was sitting with a group of the young people, laughing, talking and joining in the interactive parts of the pantomime with everyone else. His carer reported to us that he was always excited to come into the scheme and liked to talk about what he had done during the day, also mentioning several names of young people that were his friends.
33 carers of young people with learning difficulties will report having been able to do things outside of caring which wouldn’t have been possible without respite.
This year our scheme returned to our pre-Covid format and provided respite during the Easter, Summer and October holidays as well as a Christmas pantomime trip. The schemes were also able to return to promoting confidence and independence which support the young people in developing their life skills. Parents and carers were able to use this time to work, attend appointments, spend time with other children or just take time to relax.
D is 16 years old and has a diagnosis of ASD and ADHD. He has 3 younger sisters who are all teenagers. His parent has told us that D attending the scheme is a godsend as it allows her to do things with his sisters such as shopping, hairdressers and yoga classes which has the knock on effect of giving the girls something to look forward to, reduces D's anxieties and there is less friction between all the siblings.
Carers of disabled children and young people (aged 20 and under) will feel better supported to sustain their caring role
This year we ran schemes during the Easter, Summer and October holidays. This is the first full year since Covid. Parents told us that they were happy that we were back because the young people had missed attending. We also re-introduced our annual Christmas party for families and organised a trip to a local pantomime. We continue to keep in touch with parents through Facebook, emails and phone calls and signposting them to anything of interest and in response to queries from them.
This year we re-introduced the annual family Christmas party with a dancing, food games and a visit from Santa. The party was also the last day for the Manager who was retiring after 17 years with the service and gave everyone an opportunity to say goodbye as well as being introduced to the new Manager. The party was well attended by families and was a very emotional time for everyone with the young people saying how much they enjoyed attending and how much fun they had. Carers also spoke about how much the scheme meant to them, allowing them to take time for themselves and to do other things with the rest of the family, they did not know how they would manage their caring role without the support of the service and the respite opportunities it provided.
20 young people and their carers will report improved wellbeing.
All the young people attending the scheme throughout the year had the opportunity to be part of planning the programme for the year. They chose a wide range of activities and trips which interested them. This was the first full year back after Covid and the young people were able to renew friendships and make new ones. The anxiety levels of the young people lowered as they once again became familiar with the routines of the schemes and they felt safe and secure.
During the summer the young people wanted to invite parents and carers into the scheme so that they could see what the young people had been doing. It was decided that the young people would plan and organise a High Tea for parents and carers. The date was decided and the invitations sent out. The young people decided what food they wanted to include and a plan for the preparation and cooking of the food was also put into place. The day before the young people made scones, cupcakes and sausage rolls and on the day made sandwiches and set everything up. The young people were excited to show parents and carers what they had been doing and when the parents and carers arrived and were pleasantly surprised by the presentation of the food and the fact that it had all been made by the young people. Carers told us what a brilliant time they had, the food was fantastic and how proud they were of the efforts of all the young people.
Additional project outcome
We encourage the young people to be more independent and to develop their life skills to help prepare them for the adult world. We do this through the experiences we offer and encouraging them to make positive choices.
Z is 16 he has been diagnosed with ASD, ADHD and OCD. When organising the High Tea for carers he decided that he did not want to help with the cooking and spent the time sorting out the lego bricks which is one of his favourite activities. The day of the High Tea when staff and some young people were setting up the room he came over to see what we were doing. He asked if he could organise the plates of food on the table set up like a buffet. He started to move plates around when a member of staff showed him the cake stands that we had to display some of the food. He was very interested in them and started to rearrange the food and the plates. He spent at least an hour organising the items on the table to his satisfaction. At the end, he showed everyone what he had achieved with the cakes and scones displayed to advantage on the cake stands. Z was also happy with the display and took photographs so he could show his family when they arrived. Staff and parents all gave positive comments on the display and you could see the effect the praise had on Z, how confident he was that day even going round and asking parents if they had had enough to eat. His family were amazed at how relaxed he was and how much he was interacting with everyone.