A Great Day Out (Inclusive Festivals and Events)
A story by Profound and Multiple Impairment Service
The programme created accessible resources for festivals and events to support and include people with profound and multiple learning disabilities(PMLD)and their families across geographical areas. It reduced isolation & loneliness and supported the caring role and provided increased opportunities.
What A Great Day Out (Inclusive Festivals and Events) did
The programme worked with festivals to develop appropriate resources that enabled people with PMLD and their families to access, experience and enjoy the events. The activities and events took place online, with a 2 live face to face events taking place in May 2021 in line with Scottish Government Guidelines. Families chose to participate in some of the activities and to access and enjoy others. The majority of families accessing the programme were familiar to the PAMIS Family Support Service but the programme also attracted new families, in areas where there is no Family Support Service.
The programme supported family carers in their caring role through the provision of meaningful activities that could be enjoyed together providing mutually beneficial opportunities for fun and enjoyment. A resource page was created on the PAMIS website to share the resources widely to ensure the sustainability of the work. Families highlighted that the online events were a lifeline and in full consultation with everyone, people chose which events and opportunities they wanted to actively be involved in.
The programme offered lots of new opportunities that highlighted both the skills of people with PMLD and also the family carers. Through art, music and storytelling, families enjoyed demonstrating their considerable talents. Through working with festivals and creating appropriate resources the programme enabled families to have access to unique festival experiences, outside their own geographical areas and offered new opportunities for engagement and participation in a wider variety of events.
The project was not initially designed for online delivery but was very successful. The online delivery meant that people could access the festival and event resources live or on demand at a time that better suited them. People had more opportunity to engage with a wider range of experiences due to the online delivery and in future the programme offered will consider a mix of live face to face events and online events.
Overall it was a fun, exciting, innovative and inclusive programme that offered fun, support, improved well-being and new opportunities. It was amazing
What Profound and Multiple Impairment Service has learned
The teaching that has emerged from this programme. In project planning don't be afraid to be responsive to changing situations and plan alternative activities and events to respond to changing situations.
Online festivals presented new opportunities for people with PMLD to be participants and showcase their amazing talents. The challenge was to support these festivals to have the confidence to provide an inclusive method of interaction that would enable people with PMLD to be fully included in a way that accommodated them.
Video was another opportunity to showcase and support the people we work with and as result of this programme we have found video to be a supportive method of designing multi-sensory story resources and craft activities.
How Profound and Multiple Impairment Service has benefitted from the funding
Better Breaks funding helped support children, young people and their families through a very difficult period during 2020. It provided meaningful support and was a lifeline to families. The funding also created new opportunities to develop online resources that can be accessed from the PAMIS webpage or on demand from festival webpages, following a festival or event. This improves sustainability and increases access to the resources. Online access means more people could participate in and contribute to the development of resources. This participation in festivals and events created new opportunities for people with PMLD. Online engagement also meant that geographically people could access festivals and events that weren't local to their area and that they probably would not travel a distance to attend. The introduction of more online content also increased staff skill in recording, editing and videoing. Families formed friendships across geographical areas too.
Success will be achieved if families feel their children and young people have been included in events where meaningful activities have provided fun and friendship and where everyone felt included and involved throughout.
The online festival events provided increased opportunities for families to be involved in new, exciting and fun events where they felt involved included and involved throughout. The festivals that were delivered live online were also available on demand after the live event, which meant that more families were able to access the content in their own time and as often as they wanted. For the storytelling sessions, boxes of accompanying stimuli to help people access the filmed stories were supplied. For others not in the local festival area, videos of suggestions for making appropriate props to help tell the story were provided. The delivery of the filmed story in this way meant that families had access to the story as often as they wanted and had meaningful activities to do leading up to the festival event and for accessing it on demand. Regular online group events were also held where people could be involved in accessing various online activities.
Wild Goose Festival. My son was delighted to be able to take part in this amazing festival and the box of story props allowed him to fully participate from home. His disability prevents him from always being able to attend events and this was a godsend at this time. He was able to access and enjoy the live event but he also enjoyed the story at home many times over. He loves the story and it was just marvellous watching him respond and interact through the use of his box of props. Thank you so much we felt part of the festival One response from a mum in Dumfries and Galloway whose son interacted with multi-sensory storytelling for the first time. Being able to access the film on demand and on the PAMIS website meant that this child could enjoy the story when he chose to engage with it but also the family were able to engage with other events that were available to view at wider online festival site.
Families report feeling marginalised and on the fringes of events and this work will further increase opportunities to have days out as a family after the event because appropriate resources developed for the event will be available at the venue and that will mean everyone can enjoy a great day out
Due to COVID restrictions festivals and events were delivered online and for families this created opportunities to be involved as participants in festivals as opposed to merely attending the festival. The online delivery of festivals in 2020 provided increased opportunities for families to be more directly involved in festivals and events and, as a result of this, PAMIS created a specific webpage on the PAMIS website where all the festival material can be accessed by families at anytime. The online resources can be downloaded and used by families and support staff at anytime. The creation of these online resources for families, venues, schools etc means that they are more widely available to more people supporting people with PMLD.
Families were given the choice to be participants in the Edinburgh International Book Festival to support an author event. Families were excited to be given this opportunity and a number of them participated in developing a multi-sensory resource. Being able to have this opportunity was welcomed by those who wished to be involved and as a result not only did everyone enjoy taking part but the group pushed the boundaries of inclusion to be stars in the festival. Being able to participate in the festival gave the group goals to work towards, lessened isolation, created friendships, supported the family carers with meaningful activities during an extremely difficult time and gave them a sense of pride at performing at a worldwide festival. This online resource along with others was used by schools and others after the festival, so is a sustainable piece of work that the families are justifiably proud of. https://learning.edbookfest.co.uk/resources/felix-after-the-rain-a-sensory-story-from-pamis/
Success in twelve months will be measured by the number of family cares who report feeling more included in their communities during times of celebration and fun.
The measure of success of the online delivery of the festivals is twofold. Through viewing figures the festivals have been able to see how many people have accessed the resources developed by PAMIS for people with PMLD and the films developed have raised wider awareness in communities of what is required to make festival resources and events more accessible. This is evidenced by the fact that following last years programme the 2021 festivals that are going ahead in person have booked the PAMIS mobile toilet and funded it themselves. They have contributed towards the materials for resources and have ensured that any additional requirements are included in their own funding applications. As a result of the resources developed for 2020 and their inclusion in the festival programme, people with PMLD and their families, not only feel included locally, but nationally as they were able to access festivals and events across geographical areas from the comfort of their own homes.
It was great to access festivals like Nithraid, Wild Goose and The Book Festival from home as we would not have been able to travel so far to attend these wonderful festivals. In fact we had never heard of them. It was also great to be able to access other events at the festival for example I tuned into the the meditation event at Nithraid and enjoyed it very much. Although I was not there in person, but we all enjoyed the resources and the experience of the festival. We felt a part of it. There were many parents like the parent above who were able to participate from home and who reported feeling a part of the festival even though they were not there physically.
Success will have been achieved through raising awareness of people with PMLD with the organisations hosting the events
All the festivals that we have been involved with in this 2020 programme have gone on to include people with PMLD and their families in their future programme both in terms of physical access and accessible activities. The 2020 online programme has raised awareness of this group and organisations hosting these events and as a result they are fully including them in future event planning. This includes considering a mix of physical and online events as part of the programme for 2021. The viewing figures demonstrated that there are people tuning in who can not physically attend festivals out with their local area but who enjoy the festival on line and festivals have embraced that by ensuring they include suitable accessible activities.
Following the success of the inclusion of people with PMLD in the Edinburgh International Book Festival in 2020 the 2021 festival has increased the events in this years festival to include the families in a panel discussion on hosting book events for people with learning disabilities. The young people will also be presenting their own stories through their art work this year and expanding on the achievements of last year. One event will be live and the other will be recorded but both will be available on demand so people who can not physically attend at the time of the event can access it later. This clearly demonstrates that the festival has adapted to not only COVID but to the fact that a hybrid of physical and online events supports a wider audience and allows people who can not travel to the event to enjoy it too. All other festivals have also embraced the mix of online and physical attendance.
Additional project outcome
The festival and event programme supported families to feel more valued, less isolated and improved their well-being during what was a very difficult year for them. They achieved a lot through the opportunities they accessed through this programme and quite honestly for many it was a life saver.
The Shores and Rivers resource developed for this 2020 programme is both a stand alone living resource that will be added to over time and was also a part of the Dundee community project "Reflections". This was a river based festival that reflected on how the river had helped people through 2020. You can listen to one mums story (Kate) at the following link. https://scrapantics.co.uk/projects/reflections-project/ Being part of this festival at a difficult time in their lives was a life saver for this family. Other families were involved in the making of the resource by contributing their stories to the resource and again this provided meaningful activities and outings to take pictures and video for the resource.
Additional project outcome
Isolation, loneliness, friendship and fun. We interspersed the festival events with local friendship club gatherings to bring people together with stories at times of celebration such as Halloween, Christmas, Burns etc. as well as develop resources to help people at difficult times in life.
Celebrations such as Halloween, Christmas, Burns etc brought us together for a fun time where we also had time to chat, connect and relax together. We were sent craft videos to help us make the items for the story in advance of the events and had fun creating the items for the story together. These event were a life saver and put some much needed magic in our lives. By opening up the online events to families across geographical areas the programme ensured everyone who wanted to attend had access, through the provision of tablets from a separate grant we also ensured digital access was available to families who previously had no digital access.