Additional Support Needs Saturday Service
A story by LASC Childcare Services
Our project was to provide experiences for children with additional support needs on Saturdays. The project was to provide parents and carers with much needed respite.
What Additional Support Needs Saturday Service did
We were able to provide activities to the children and young people that they may not always have access to. These trips took place throughout the year. We were able to go places like Pittencrieff park, beach trips, The Kelpies and Almond Valley. We also used the funding to have membership to a local trampoline centre.
We had various children and young people accessing our service with these coming through referrals from social work, schools and other agencies that we work with. These families were identified as needing some extra support at weekends so that parents and carers could have time do spend with siblings or have some rest. Some of the children with us require close supervision meaning that families were struggling to access some of the activities we were providing due to the safety of the children.
We worked hard to recruit enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff to work within our team. By providing these staff with some training when with us. We were able to cover transport costs which were a barrier to some families meaning they wouldn't be able to access some of our trips. We developed our resources in areas around sensory play with tuff trays and staff doing some research into how best use these. We used the money to buy some specialised bikes and safety equipment to provide opportunities for all to be able to go bike rides.
Our project covered several of the Better Break priority areas, with the main one being complex needs. In turn this added to our already diverse Saturday service that we have. With the activities we could enhance the children's access to leisure services. Through what we are doing this is creating independence with the children and young people with the support of the staff.
What LASC Childcare Services has learned
We found that some places we were wanting to go we not taking bigger bookings due to restrictions due to Covid. This at times created a barrier for us when trying to go to different places. We have strengthened our relationships with other agencies such as the local school in getting to know the children and how to best work with them. We have found that new families are very grateful for the support that we have given them and the families knowing their children are well looked after.
How LASC Childcare Services has benefitted from the funding
The better breaks funding has allowed us to provide transport for children when this can sometimes be a barrier due to the spaces on our vehicles. It has helped us to strengthen our reputation of providing high quality childcare and being a fully inclusive service. We have had many new referrals not only for a Saturday but other times as well.
Providing 20 children who will have 50 outings in 12 months to experience new things and places that they may not have experienced before.
We were able to visit a variety of places through out the year on a Saturday and during the holidays. We were able to have memberships for the local trampoline centre which the children thoroughly enjoyed. Some of these children due to the complexities of their needs would not be able to access places like this due to the support needed or transport issues. We have visited places within Midlothian, Edinburgh and further afield. Going to parks and beaches Fife as well as a Zoo in West Lothian. Having the transport to access places like this but also have the support required to ensure each child's safety and wellbeing. It also meant that the children with complex needs could have access to the trips.
Due to us using some of the money to access the local tramploine service it has meant that a family can also use this out with their time with us. They have enjoyed meeting up with friends at the centre and has meant that the barrier of costs has been met by us. This child has then been able to meet with his friends at other times too.
30 families will have 1 day for 6 hours a week for 50 weeks’ time to themselves outside their caring role of free time.
We have over 30 children who access our Saturday service each week. We run from 9am to 3pm. By having these children and young people with us it provides families with time to spend with their other children and family members. For some of these families it has given them the chance to meet up with friends knowing that their child is being well cared for.
The families have benefitted from the regular weekly bookings with us, knowing that they have a session booked every week. One family was able to use the time without their child to do things with friends. One mother was able to book and go on a Spa day with her friend. She knew that her child was safe and with having the regular booking was able to book this with her friend.
30 families will have access to regular and reliable rest bite on a Saturday to allow these carers to take up an activity or go to work or exercise spend time with the rest of the family in the knowledge that their child is being cared for in a safe and caring well established environment.
We had regular bookings for children that access our service. Some were every week, some on a every second week pattern. The families were then able to spend time with their other children, go to work or access activities for themselves.
One mother has been studying as a nurse and working alongside this. By having access to our service it has meant that she can study, go to placement or work knowing that her child is being well looked after and having fun on the Saturday. Going to places that as a family they would be doing but due to work and studying this wasn't possible as a family.