Buddies Clubs Adventure Break
A story by Buddies Clubs & Services
The aims of the project were to provide respite to parents/carers and socialisation opportunities for children/young people through the provision of 5 5 x 4 day/ 3 night breaks.
What Buddies Clubs Adventure Break did
As stated above the original aim of the project was to provide respite via short breaks.
This situation however changed in the Summer of 2014 as a number of families approached Buddies Clubs Summer Holiday Club for support over the holiday period for their children, most of whom have complex disabilities. None of these children had any funding in place to attend the club. Buddies Clubs did approach the local social work office but unfortunately they were unable to assist and 18 families were left with the prospect of no respite during the school holiday.
Buddies Clubs approached Shared Care Scotland explaining the above and requested that a tranche of the funds for short breaks could be utilised to support these families. Shared Care Scotland agreed to this and as a result 18 children received 2 days per week at the Holiday Club for the 5 week duration of the scheme.
Children were able to participate in a range of activities including arts & crafts, music sessions, Chinese dance, tai-chi, cinema, bowling. In addition there were visiting entertainers including a magician and Animal Man. Feedback from parents/carers evidences this support was vital in reducing the stress associated with balancing competing caring demands.
The remaining funds were spent at the February school half-term 2015. 12 children supported by 12 Buddies Clubs staff went on a break (4 days/3 nights) to the Glencoe Outdoor Centre. The target group for this break was the under 16s who usually attend Buddies Clubs Afterschool who would have no service during the half-term.
Two children in this group had never been away from home previously. The group took part in a range of activities including archery, hill-walking and rock climbing. Anecdotal and questionnaire feedback from parents/ carers/children/young people indicate this particular break was a huge success.
Parents/carers utilised the break to spend quality time with their other children, see family/friends, relax or go on a short break.
The trip to the Glencoe Outdoor Centre was the first time Buddies Clubs had gone to an Outdoor Centre and taken such a large group away - 12 service users and 12 staff as previous breaks had been for 6 service users and 6 staff.
P. lives with his lone parent mother and his 2 siblings - 1 older and 1 younger brother. P. has autism and complex learning difficulties.
P. had never been away from home before and although excited at the prospect he decided the day before he did not want to go. P.'s mother approached Buddies Clubs staff to ask if they could persuade him to go as she knew he was just nervous at being away from his mum. P. was persuaded to go on the trip and assured he could contact his mum at any time and mum was similarly advised.
The group stayed in bunk beds in dorms and had an early start each day at 7am for breakfast and the group were outdoors the whole day from 9am - 12noon and the in the afternoon from 1pm - 5pm. P. was assisted by Buddies Club staff to undertake new activities such as hill walking and orienteering, archery, team building exercises (trust & team building) muddy forest walk and rock climbing. All of these activities helped to build P's confidence and regular telephone contact with his mother helped to ease his anxiety. In addition P. and the wider group had activity logbooks which they completed each day. The log books covered with whom they shared the dorm, choice of meals and activities. This enabled each child/young person to share their experiences with their families at home.
M. is a child with complex learning and physical disabilities who lives with her grandmother. M. was one of the children who did not have any funding to attend the Holiday Club (Summer 2014) and M.'s grandmother was concerned how she would cope over the holiday period. Due to the Shared Care funding M. came to the holiday club for 10 days over the Summer. M. participated in a range of activities and particularly enjoyed the music sessions. M. 's favourite activity however was kite-making which was facilitated by the local Chinese cultural centre. M. designed her kite with assistance and the group went outdoors with Buddies Clubs staff to fly their kites. M. and several of her peer group had never undertaken this activity before and the group clearly enjoyed this experience. Due to further funding received from Shared Care Scotland M. and her peer group have returned to Buddies Clubs for the Easter Holiday Club 2015.
R.'s mother approached Buddies Clubs for respite over the Summer Holiday period 2014. R. did not have funding in place to attend the Summer Club so was offered a place via the Better Breaks funding. R. attended for 2 days per week for 5 weeks. Some of R.'s peers from school also attended the club so R. was comfortable with this peer group and also enjoyed meeting new peers. R. is keen on animals and his favourite activity at the Summer Club was Animal Man who visited the club with a range of reptiles and small animals.
These periods of day respite over the Summer reduced the stress on R.'s mother and within the family. R. enjoyed activity experiences to which he would otherwise have no access and R. has returned for this year's Easter Holiday Club.
C.'s parents were offered the opportunity for C. to attend the Buddies Clubs break to Glencoe. Although keen to take up the offer they were hesitant as to how C. would cope away from his usual routine. C.'s parents attended the parents/carers information evening and staff visited the family home to ascertain C's routines particularly around meals and sleep. The planning and communication with the family enabled them to take their younger children away for a long weekend at the school mid-term safe in the knowledge that C. was being cared for by Buddies Clubs staff and having fun with his peers from Afterschool..
What Buddies Clubs & Services has learnedPrior to the Glencoe break some Some Buddies Clubs staff felt the activities on offer at the Outdoor Centre may not be appropriate for some of the group attending. On the contrary all the children/young people were enthused at being able to participate within and experience new activities. This has increased the confidence of the staff group to try/book more adventurous activities/ trips for children/young people.
The funding provided through Better breaks has enabled 12 families to have overnight respite in February 2015 and a further 18 families to have a day respite over Summer 2014. Although the latter was a departure from the original aims of the project for short breaks it did highlight an unmet need which will inform future planning.
This group also consisted of carers who previously had been reluctant to ask for support and approach organisations for assistance. The rollout of Self Directed Support for children affected by disability across Glasgow means there is a gap in funding until plans and budgets are finalised. It is expected that more carers may find themselves without support in this interim period.