Action Group Saturday Social Club Groups
A story by The Action Group
We provided a monthly Saturday social group to young people with learning disabilities and other support needs. This was a 6 hr once a month.
In addition 2 weekend outward bound camps were held. This allowed families to have valuable respite from caring roles and gave the young people independence and autonomy within the range of activities that we provided. The young people identified and voted on activities.
What Action Group Saturday Social Club Groups did
We provided 9 sessions and 2 weekend camps during the school mid term breaks in October and February. In total 160 sessions were provided, which meant that total hours of service to the young person was 1664 and the respite hours to families was 2968 hrs.
We began our project with a consultation activity where we asked the young people what trips and activities they would like to do. We were keen to provide a range of activities that addressed issues around life skills, fitness and well-being, relationships with peers and social inclusion. Prior to the first session a link was sent out to potential users/previous users to a brief online presentation about the project, this was with a view to engage with them in an interactive visual and fun way.
We then planned a program of activities incorporating their suggestions. This included a trip to the Helix in Falkirk and guided tour of the Kelpie sculptures, a trip on a barge with the Seagull Trust, a day out to Edinburgh Zoo and visits to the cinema and bowling alley. Young people have also had the opportunity to take part in a range of structured activities based at the community centre including arts and crafts, a multimedia workshop, t-shirt printing, team building activities, music therapy, and sports and games.
We have made the most of opportunities to develop the young people's life skills. This has included shopping for ingredients, cooking meals, using public transport, ordering in restaurants and looking after our camp accommodation. We consulted with the carers as to the benefits of respite for them. They told us that they were able to spend time with other family members and siblings of the young person. One person commented that without Better Breaks some families will have no "me" time, some won't get a break.
What The Action Group has learned
The funding allowed us to pick up on a project we ran two years ago, this meant we re-engaged with a group of young people and their families/carers and the school, as well as with new young people who were eligible to join the project. Our decision to employ a coordinator for the project (8 hrs a week) allowed a lot of the organisation of activities to be coordinated and steered by one person, and was a great benefit to the continuity of the project month on month.
The main benefits of the project are the opportunity to have regular activity sessions for the young people, increase their confidence in choice and decision making and to have new experience within their community and further afield. Facilitating these choices has been made fun and interactive for the young people.
An added bonus has been the level of respite the project has given to parents and carers, and feedback on this has been very positive, however in learning how valuable this has been to carers, it has highlighted the importance of how much they value the "down-time" from being a carer that allows them additional quality time with other family members.