Adventure Breaks 2013-14
A story by Buddies Clubs & Services
To-date there has been 3 breaks as detailed above (5 days/4 nights). Each of the breaks has been to the Lochgoilhead area for 16 children/young people.
Due to local authority funding cuts Buddies Clubs were authorised by Better Breaks to utilise some of the funding from 1 break to provide days at Buddies Summer Holiday Clubs for children and young people who otherwise would have no access to socialisation opportunities over this period.
This enabled 12 children/young people to participate in the Summer Club programme and provided much needed respite for their parents/carers.
Tip 1:Consult parents/carers/children/young people about their choices
Tip 2:Keep an ongoing dialogue with parents/carers children/young people during the planning process
Tip 3:Have a weather contingency plan
Paul is a young teen who has never been away from home before. Paul has complex disabilities and requires a 2-1 care ratio and this had made his parents reluctant to allow Paul to be away from home as they were not confident he would cope or how carers would manage Paul's challenging behaviour. Paul's parents attended the parents/carers information night and Buddies staff also made home visits to ensure they understood Paul's needs and routines. Paul was assisted by Buddies staff to undertake new activities such as a sea-fari to see seals, pony trekking and participate in the boys v girls cook off all of which helped to raise his self-esteem. In addition regular telephone contact with Paul's' parents from Buddies Clubs staff eased their anxieties and Paul was able to share his experiences with them via his diary on return.
The Summer Holiday Club also enabled those who would not usually have access to the Buddies Summer activity programme the opportunity to have 2 days per week for 5 weeks enjoying different outings every week.
Joe lives with his parents and siblings and has autism and complex learning difficulties. Joe had previously had been cared for by extended family during school holidays as his parents worked. This year however as Joe is getting older and more challenging in his behaviour his extended family felt they were unable to cope with him this Summer. Joe's family approached Buddies Clubs for assistance and Joe attended Buddies twice weekly for 5 weeks over the Summer. Joe had the opportunity to go on trips i.e to Edinburgh Zoo, Heads of Ayr Farm, soft-play, swimming, sensory play with an appropriate peer group. Joe enjoyed his time at Buddies Clubs so much his family advised he would say 'Buddies Buddies' even on the days he was not attending so keen was he to get back to the Holiday Club. As a result of the positive experience Joe had in the Summer he returned to Holiday Club in October.
Jonathan lives with his aunt and grandmother. Jonathan has learning difficulties and enjoys coming to Buddies Clubs. Jonathan's carers were keen for him to experience an adventure break as they feel he is always surrounded by female family members and lacks male role models. Jonathan had the opportunity to spend a 4 night break with an appropriate peer group and tried paint-balling, archery and horse riding for the first time. These activities have increased Jonathan's confidence and he is now attending a local gym which is allowing his gran and aunt some regular free time to either rest or explore their own interests.
Elizabeth lives with her parents and siblings. Elizabeth has learning difficulties and went on an adventure break with 2 of her peers from Buddies Clubs. Elizabeth enjoyed going to Oban, visiting the sea-life sanctuary and going ice skating. Elizabeth's parents had been struggling to balance her needs with those of her siblings and this respite time enabled them to spend quality time on their own and with their other children.
The success of the breaks is evidenced by the number of children/young people/parents/carers requesting repeated breaks. Parents/carers are reassured that their children/young people are happy and safe with Buddies Clubs staff enabling parents/carers to use their respite time to 'chill' or pursue their own interests or spend quality time with family and friends.
The success of the breaks is reflected in the young people currently going through the personalisation process requesting breaks as part of their plans.
Due to the complexity of the disabilities of some of our service users 7 staff rather than 6 staff maybe required on some future breaks as some service users need 2-1 care rather than 1-1 care whilst in the community.
The positive benefits have been in the numbers of children/young people who have increased their self/life skills on breaks and the willingness of all the service users to try new activities.
Diaries kept by children/young people on the trips and taken home with them to share their experiences with their families.
Photographs and story reporting from parents/carers on how much their child/young person has enjoyed the trip..
The formal monitoring and review forms have been less successful as the return rate has been poor. Anecdotal evidence and the number of children/young people requesting repeat breaks evidences the success of the programme.