AdoptionUK Scotland - Short Breaks Programme
A story by AdoptionUK In Scotland
The provision of short breaks for adopted and kinship children and young people and breaks for caring for parents and carers through inclusive family events and activities, including a residential weekend break.
What AdoptionUK Scotland - Short Breaks Programme did
We provided a series of different short breaks for children and young people with a care experienced background and a variety of additional support needs, and breaks from caring for parents and carers, through a timetable of activities.
Through the funding we were able to develop, facilitate and maintain our #E project for young people in adopted and kinship families.
- Regular online age-appropriate groups for children aged 5 – 18 with care experience (adoption and kinship families)
- Family event opportunities in April, May, June, July and September offering parents and carers an opportunity to meet others with similar experience and have a break while their children took part in fun events such as climbing walls, trips to the Kelpies, mini farm visits and family park visits.
- Residential opportunity for young people and families to access with all outdoor activities, meals and refreshments provided to a heavily subsidised cost, with opportunities for children to take part in activities such as canoeing, archery and bushcraft while parents enjoyed self care activities or training workshops.
Online activities proved very popular, allowing for accessibility for young people across Scotland to join in group discussions and events. Our residential break was also significantly impactful and enjoyed as an inclusive, relaxed event where friendships were made between parents and carers as well as children.
The project enabled us to achieve the following outcomes:
- disabled children to have more opportunities to have fun, find friendship and be more active
- carers to have the opportunity to have a life outside their caring role
- carers feel better supported to sustain their carer role and
- disabled children and young people will have improved wellbeing.
What AdoptionUK In Scotland has learned
We have learned that building in planning and development into project delivery is key to ensure that we are responding to the needs of individuals' and families rather than delivering a model that we consider works without asking them.
We learned the value of co designing activities as throughout the online groups we got the young people involved in sharing ideas and suggesting activities which became the events best attended and most highly enjoyed by those who had participated in planning.
We also had valuable learning in management of expectations within uncertain sustainability of funding, to ensure communities and service beneficiaries are kept updated and informed.
How AdoptionUK In Scotland has benefitted from the funding
Our organisation has hugely benefitted from the funding as it has allowed us the ability to deliver activities that our communities greatly benefit from - children and young people and parents and carers speak highly of the value of the funded activities and events, and in particular the residential break, which would not be possible without the funding support. The funding through this project has also allowed us to engage families to benefit from other services, as well as secure further small grants to add value to our programme of events which ensures a wider range of activities and opportunities for families to access.
Provision of a programme of activities that young people have had the opportunity to attend alongside peers Targets and measurements were: 12 online groups 4 in person family events Attendance at events Observations and feedback from parents/carers and young people
The project outcome was achieved, with 134 young people attending events throughout the year and participating in the activity timetable delivered, while being closely involved with event planning and choices of trips and activities enjoyed.
Calvin* (not real name) is 9 years old, autistic with a diagnosis of ADHD is extremely active and can find group situations difficult. His adoptive mother can find mainstream activities isolating due to lack of understanding from other parents, children and staff members. Calvin has been involved in the online groups and family events through the funded project and his mum has described them as being inclusive and fun, with staff who 'get him', other children with similar needs, and parents and carers who understand the issues. The project has created a peer support network for his mum, and a social network for Calvin that's inclusive and welcoming of his needs.
Parents to have the opportunity to have a break from caring for their children Targets and measurements were: Delivery of groups for children/young people to attend without parent/carer supervision Provision Parents feedback following events Number of parents/carers receiving break from
This outcome was achieved through delivery of activities for children and young people without parental supervision requirements throughout the year, including events at activity centres like the climbing wall, and provision of activities during the residential break. During these breaks from caring parents were given the opportunity to socialise with one another, take time to do their own activities or to take part in self care workshops, such as during our residential break.
Rachel joined the weekend break with her son Harry* (*not real name) and was able to take part in a laughter yoga workshop while he took part in a peer group activity in the grounds of the outdoor activity centre. She commented that it was the first time she had focused on her own mindfulness and wellbeing for months knowing that her son was being well cared for elsewhere.
Parents to have accessed information, advice and support to better sustain their caring role Targets and measurement: Provision of information and resources to parents/carers involved in the project Parent/Carer feedback from family events Parent/Carer feedback on impact of young people’s
This outcome was achieved through provision of information and advice provided by staff members at events, including training workshops delivered throughout the residential weekend break while children were taking part in activities with trained staff and support workers.
Along with the workshops delivered during the residential breaks that parents could attend while children took part in activities staff at events were on hand throughout to share information, advice and offer support. One parent commented about a family event that they attended that: "I loved the relaxed atmosphere and the absolutely amazing staff from Adoption UK all willing to chat and support”. This was a critical benefit of the project delivery, with parents accessing support in a flexible and responsive way knowing their children were nearby and taking part in activities they enjoyed.