BANG and Branching Out Family and Youth Activity Clubs
A story by Borders Additional Needs Group SCIO
BANG Additional Support Needs family Summer Camp Project and Branching Out Youth Group. Delivered a week additional support needs family Summer/ October Camp in Scottish Borders using a family wrap around approach, launched a new parent carer emotional health and well being walks, created ‘Autism and me’ youth film.
What BANG and Branching Out Family and Youth Activity Clubs did
Borders Additional Needs Group delivered 5 weekly summer camp during June and July and a 2 day workshop in October for children / young people and their Parents during 2021. The family respite camp organised and worked in partnership with sports and creative arts providers to deliver an inclusive free additional support needs family summer camp during the school holidays.
Families registered free for the project and were supported with transport and free lunches, we also provided additional community resources like Mobile Library and reading bug. Parents were able to take some time out during the session, having access to alfresco coffee/tea bar and quiet area to meet other parents, Parents took part in activities and were provided with information on other community initiatives. The project provided opportunities for additional support needs youths to become volunteers and gain valuable life skills .
In addition to this we worked with young people under the age of 20 years of age who participated in a 6 week Forest School to gain a John Muir Award, the young people affected by additional support needs were also given the opportunity to create a short film to raise awareness of Autism.
BANG worked with its partners at Borders additional support needs parent carer forum , NHS Paths for all healthier Scotland initiative and we worked with parent Carers to deliver additional support needs emotional health and well being walks, this enabled us to train parent carers to become walk it leaders, first aid and mental health first aid.
We launched additional support needs parent carer health walks in 3 towns in the Scottish borders. The project provided disabled children and young people with more opportunities to have fun, develop friendships and do activities they enjoy. It also provided parent carers of disabled children with more opportunities to enjoy a life outside their caring role and feel better supported to sustain their role.
The project enabled us to work with existing providers Live Borders, from new partnerships with Forest School, Alchemy Film and arts and offer volunteering opportunities of young people. The additional support needs youths created a short Film My Superpower & Me. 'A film about Autism from young people's point of view'’
What Borders Additional Needs Group SCIO has learned
The project feedback highlighted that we need additional supportive resources for more complex children with physical disabilities especially around seating and eating. BANG Board request to purchase equipment. In addition we need more volunteers/ staff to enable parents time. to relax.
John Muir project for youths had to be adapted and spread out over additional 3 weeks as there was a lot of written work for them to complete.
BANG are working with sports providers who launched new project called Borders Sports for change to ensure sporting activities are valuable during school time / Saturday morning.
BANG supporting this project with parent focus groups. disseminating questionnaires on types of sport needed. BANG need to match fund project and access Scottish government funding ' get into Summer' programme
How Borders Additional Needs Group SCIO has benefitted from the funding
BANG summer /Oct camps have strengthened the charity reputation, our local authority are engaging with us to look at our outcomes, etc to consider future funding. The work BANG has done with our young people in filmmaking has led to new partnerships with Scottish Autism and engagement in youth guarantee strategy group. The participants the film are know forming a regional Autism Youth group. We have recently secured 3 years funding for youth group and funding to fund an additional support needs family Liaison worker using the evaluation, monitoring from shared care Scotland has enabled us to promote and demonstrate the value of the work we do.
Children and young people will have access to peer friendship, social activities. Children and young people will have an positive increase in their emotional health and well being
The Summer/ Oct project reached over 100 Parent Carers, young carers and additional support needs children and young people provided both sporting and creative arts opportunities. evaluation report highlighted 92% participants felt happier, 67% had opportunity to meet friends and peers. We had a high uptake for the summer/ Oct camps and had to place Parents and families on a waiting list to book sessions. The charity met new families supported them to meet peers and provided them with access to other social groups for additional support. The Walk Together Talk Together Project enabled 4 additional support needs parents to train as walk it leaders and deliver emotional health walks in 3 areas in the Scottish Borders, a delay in starting this project due to training and covid however has reached out and offered walks to over 10 parent Carers. The Forest school for additional support needs young people led to 6 being successful in gaining a John Muir Award and the positive filmmaking project led to creation on Autism : My superpower and Me
Additional Support Needs Filmmaking Project and Forest School allowed a group of 10 Autistic youths to begin discussing living with Autism and the challenges/ positives that had on them, this was an extremely enlightening moment for some of our Autistic youths who didn't identify or disclose they had Autism. The group decided they wanted to take the discussion further and promote Autism within their community, among their non autistic peers. The designed the content, took part in directing, producing, sound engineer to create a Film Autism : My Superpower and Me. During the creation of the film the young people integrated with generic youth group and involved them in the video, along with CAHMS, NHS staff. One young Autistic girl who was home schooled since the age of 9, had severe social anxiety and had no friends began to gain confidence and improve her self esteem, on one night when we filmed with the Integrated Youth Group she said that this was ' the first time anyone wanted to speak to me and by me friend' this was a powerful moment for both the young person and her parent carer. The Autistic young lady know has the confidence to start college this year and works with our local Autism Community Coordinator to engage with professional's and raise awareness of Autism within her community.
Carers will have opportunity to meet peers, accessing the activity can be used as an opportunity to have respite from home life in a safe and inclusive environment.
The project evaluation highlighted 58% of parent carer felt stronger emotionally at the end of our ASN family Camps , 72% said there were opportunities to access respite and peer support. In addition to this only 8% of additional support neds families said respite/ childcare is easy to access during the school holidays. This indicates the significant respite and access to sporting, creative arts activities is valued and needed within Scottish Borders. 67% of additional support needs parent carers learnt something new and 92% would like more opportunities to access respite/care in the future .
BANG Summer/ Oct camp design provided parent carers with supportive relaxion area , they were given the opportunity to meet friends and access information on things they were struggling with. During one session in the summer one of our parents who is in process of fostering her partners complex needs additional support needs child broke down and told the volunteer her partner had a terminal diagnosis and she needed to formalise the adoption to safeguard the young child. BANG were able to connect the mother with local MSP and fast track this. The impact on the Parent carer was life changing and she is know supported weekly at our parent carer health walks, this 45 minutes emotional health and well being walk with social tea/ coffee afterwards which ensures some additional respite.
Parent Carers and Young carers will have the opportunity to meet with peers with an increased access to local support information
Parent carers were given the opportunity to receive free aromatherapy and products to take away and use at home. they were provided with weekly opportunity to relax and meet other parents carers and all camps. Young carers met with their peers at all our events and are included in all additional activities provided by BANG. From our evaluation 67% of parents carers met new friends, and connected with 'walk Together talk Together 'additional support needs health walks. Worked with partner to promote additional services, Action for Kids, Stable Life, mobile library and provided weekly resources on benefits, sporting activities
During BANG summer Camp a family joined us from West Linton which is one of the town on the border to Midlothian, they had recently moved from England and heard about our Summer Camp. Our staff and volunteers discussed other social opportunities and access to local support. Signposted parents to Borders Carer Centre, provided information on BANG, opportunities to engage in sporting activities in their local area. It was the first time their son had been on a bicycle and Live Borders Staff, parents, volunteers provide the family with information on bikes to purchase and funding opportunities for their soon feedback from this family ' this is a well organised camp and the community needs more of this. I enjoyed meeting other families , our children felt accepted and included well done BANG '