A Creative Dance Residency and Well being Sessions for Carers
A story by Indepen-dance
We delivered two activities, a creative dance residency for a group of disabled adults, the creative dance residency and took place in September 2022 for a period of 6 days & 5 nights for disabled adults. The delivery of workshops aimed at supporting the parents and carer wellbeing.
What A Creative Dance Residency and Well being Sessions for Carers did
We carried out our Creative Dance Residency between the 23rd - 28th Sept the residency was aimed at the disabled members of our Adult Performance Company. The Creative Residency took place on the Island of Barra, our group stayed in Dunard Hostel in Castlebay. The dance residency which was facilitated by a choreographer Antonio Quiles was held in the Castlebay Community Hall where the dance workshops took place over 3 days 10 - 4 every day.
As well as taking part in the dance residency our disabled participants got to visit the island via an organised bus trip to visit the adjoining island of Vatersay, the bus trip took us all round the island and in time to see the unique landing of the incoming flight from Glasgow which lands on the beach.
Our group visited the local hotel to sample some of the local food and enjoyed a night's live music entertainment. We also made our own entertainment in the hostel by running a fun bingo night and quiz night. The local Fisherman's Charity Shop stayed open for our group, allowing our participants to contribute the Charity Shops 25th Anniversary opening event.
We sampled a variety of the local carry out food from Joan's Barra Pizza company to Indian delicacies at Cafe Kisimul. On the final day on the Island, we made a visit to the local garden centre, where we had some lunch and gave a short performance to a local group of disabled people and visiting guests.
Some of the group members were brave enough to try some wild swimming on the final day under the supervision of some local experts. The journey may have taken a long time to get there but everyone that participated in the Creative Dance Residency had a wonderful time and were made to feel extremely welcome by the local people.
This activity gave the parents and carers of the disabled participants a welcomed break themselves, some of the parents used their free time to go on a short break themselves, other used the time to recharge their batteries and have some time to themselves. In addition to the Creative Residency, we ran a variety of wellbeing events for the carers to take part in these include weekly dance classes, online yoga and wellbeing event.
What Indepen-dance has learned
We have learnt that when planning a large residential creative break for a group of disabled adults, a visit to the planned venue is extremely valuable to not only see the venue we plan to stay at but also to make other plans for the other activities planned for creative break.
Travelling with such a big group of people with different needs both physically and emotionally, it really did make a difference to have visited the location beforehand and also to make the journey, it allowed us to plan the trip to consider the "what if's" for example what if the boat didn't leave the island due to bad weather. We advised all parents and carers to pack additional medication just in case we got stuck on the island. There were other scenario's that we had to plan for.
We have successfully delivered well-being events for parents and carers, this involved new partnerships with other organisations and individuals. We have found a lovely space to run these events from and following the positive feedback from our last event we plan to do more of these events.
How Indepen-dance has benefitted from the funding
The continued support from the Creative Breaks Fund has meant that parents and carers are expecting the creative residency to be part of our annual core programme of activities. This demonstrates that the parents and carers have confidence in our planned activity that their cared for person experiences a fun, enjoyable activity and is safe and well cared for when they are in our care. The feedback from parents and carers notes that they would actually prefer to have two residencies a year. The Wellbeing events for parents and carers has meant we have developed a new partnership with a new venue and also with new facilitators, our most recent wellbeing event was a great success, we opened the event up to the local community where the event was held in the Southside of Glasgow. As our first in person wellbeing event, it was a great success, we hope to build on this success and programme more wellbeing events as part of our annual core programme. With the support of the funding received from the Creative Breaks fund this has allowed us to expand our programme to develop the wellbeing event, to use a new venue in a part of the city we haven't been in a long while and to attract new beneficiaries.
50 carers from Glasgow and other areas in the central belt will have more opportunities to enjoy a life outside of their caring role.
This outcome was achieved by all the parents and carers of those who attended the creative residency and the wellbeing events. We have had direct verbal feedback from the parents and carers that confirms they were able to experience opportunities to enjoy life outside of their caring role whilst their cared for person was at the the Creative Residency. From feedback gathered from Parents and carers they have told us that whilst their cared for person was attending the creative dance residency, they did a variety of activities from going on a short break themselves to spending time with friends, to doing a spring clean in their house. One of the most common answers was that they didn't need to "clock watch" meaning they didn't have to be at a certain place at a certain time for the routine activities they support their cared for person to attend. The parents and carers attending the well being events got to experience a variety of activities, including massage, reiki, yoga and dance
Dancer A is a young woman with Down syndrome who lives with her mum and dad, she has a younger brother who has moved out of the family home although they are younger than Dancer A. Dancer A, before the pandemic was a confident young woman who loved to attend our weekly programme and has attended previous creative dance residencies. She also carried out voluntary work which Indepen-dance had negotiated in a nursery one day a week. Like many of our beneficiaries, the pandemic had a profound effect on their mental and physical wellbeing and Dancer A was no different, she was profoundly affected by the advice by the Scottish Government to stay at home and self-isolate for over 1 year, people with Down syndrome where officially told to end isolation on the 26th April 21 a considerable additional time scale than the general population, this was due to the vulnerabilities of people with Down syndrome and those with additional health problems. Dancer A was understandably anxious when she first returned to our in-person classes, prior to this she had regularly engaged with a variety of our online programme of classes, these were a life saver for Dancer A, supporting her wellbeing, physical fitness and combating the feeling of isolation. Dancer A has gradually built up her confidence as she has returned to our core programme of events including attending our creative dance residency. Her parents have told us that the creative breaks are really important to them and to their daughter as "they do not have any other support for their daughter" They have also noted that they "had the time to relax and not worry about time (watching the clock), we could relax because we knew our daughter was being supported and enjoying herself" Both Dancer A's parents fed back that because their daughter participated in the creative residency, they "felt refreshed and reinvigorated, ready to start with our daughter's routine again" The final piece of feedback is something that is a common thread with other parents and carers, many fed back that their care for person enjoyed the sense of adventure of travelling with their friends in their dance company, many talk about the break away from "mum and/or dad" and how this type of break improves their cared for person's self-confidence and independence. Dancer A's parents wrote that their daughter "appeared to be more stimulated and confident when she returned. Another common thread coming from the evaluations is that many of the parents and carers comment about the lack of similar opportunities and how they would like this to be a regular event twice a year as opposed to annually.
Additional project outcome
The well being events planned for the parents and carers have been very successful, we worked in partnership with Finn's Place, Dixon's Carers Centre, the Bridgeton Well Being Hub, SCVO, a welfare rights officer, yoga, and Reiki teacher. In addition to the weekly parent and carer dance sessions.