A story by Unity Enterprise
We offered short holiday breaks on our barges for young adults with multiple support needs including wheelchair users.
Just as important as the experience the young people had during their days away was the respite to the parents/carers.
What Barge Breaks did
Most of the individuals and parents/carers were referred to us by the local authorities, some through enquiries via our website.
The breaks were based on our static barge at Auchinstarry Basin, Kilsyth. Individuals experienced barge living, where they slept, cooked and took part in fun social activities and day trips which were identified with the young people prior to the break. These 3 and 7 day activities were planned and co-produced with the young people, to ensure that as well as teaching basic living skills and promoting independence their holiday was as fun as possible.
The range of activities that took place included, day trips to Safari Park , Stirling Castle and the opportunity to skipper our other barge ‘The Lazy Swan’ through the Clyde and Forth Canal. Arts and Craft, Pamper Nights, Movie and Music Nights and Badminton.
What Unity Enterprise has learnedBy being able to offer a 7 day break for the first time, we will extend this option in the future as being able to fulfil the young person’s request for further activities, and the chance to give parents/carers opportunities for their own 7 day break.
Some parents and their carers expressed some concerns regarding the idea of a ‘barge break’ and living on the water as a suitable environment for a break. Moving forward we have incorporated an Induction and Open Day on the barges for all interested in staying with us prior to the actual break, giving them a taster of living on the water.
From our feedback and evaluation of the breaks last year, showed that although the participant’s thoroughly enjoyed their time on board, they have expressed an interest to try out more adventurous activities, such as learning to ride a bike or pony. We will link in with the day activity based organisation in the surrounding areas this year to offer a more adventurous programme in conjunction with the young people.