Buddies Clubs & Services
A story by Buddies Clubs & Services
Buddies Clubs provide short breaks for adults aged 21-35 years with additional support needs who live in Glasgow and surrounding areas enabling their parents/carers to have overnight respite.
What Buddies Clubs & Services did
In May 6 service users (3 male 3 female) with additional support needs accompanied by 6 Buddies Clubs staff went to Pitlochry and stayed in a spa hotel in the middle of the town. Each service user stayed in a twin-bedded room with a staff member and all were able to access the spa, pool and gym facilities on site. The break also included breakfast and dinner in the hotel. The adults chose their preferred activities and these included shopping for gifts to take home to their parent/carer, local sight-seeing, swimming and making full use of the hotel's sauna, steam room and gym, in addition the adults chose either to have massages or beauty treatments within the spa.
Travel to and from Glasgow was by train albeit there was a change on the return journey that included having to take the bus part of the way home. In September another 6 service users (3 male 3 female) went with Buddies Club staff on a city break to Edinburgh. This time the accommodation was in luxury apartments approx 20 minutes from Princes St which allowed the participants easy access via public transport to access their chosen activities. These activities included shopping, meals out, zoo, Scottish Parliament building and the city bus tour. As above there was an independent travel aspect to the break taking the train from Glasgow to Edinburgh.
Feedback from the parents/carers indicates they benefited from having overnight respite and used this to rest, send quality time with family/friends or explore their own interest. 2 carers took a short break holiday.
The adults who participated in the breaks were chosen from our existing service users group who prior to the introduction of Personalisation (Self -Directed Support) either had more day time activities i.e. college or traditional overnight (unit) respite. Due to the reduction in college places and a move away from unit-style respite provision many adults now find their current care packages substantially reduced and these do not usually incorporate overnight respite.
Mrs L. has now approached Social Work Services for a carer's assessment as she now accepts she should not feel guilty about recognising her own needs above those of her husband and son.
B.'s mother used the time away from B. to catch up on sleep and spend time with her elder daughter and grandchildren.
Due to the reduction in college places P. is now only at college 2 days per week and as he has no local friends, his frustration and boredom manifested itself in challenging behaviour at home and in the community.
Due to a chance conversation at Buddies Clubs with P.'s grandmother as she dropped him off she advised the above. It was suggested to P.'s grandmother she may need to contact Social Work Services for support however she was adamant this was not an option no matter how difficult the situation became. As a result it was suggested to P.'s grandmother that a short break maybe helpful to her. P';s grandmother spoke to P. and he was happy to go on the break as he had never stayed in a hotel before let alone with his peers from Buddies Clubs.
P.had a great time on the break and although P.'s grandmother remains reluctant to approach statutory services for assistance she has now requested information from the local Carers Centre about their services.
What Buddies Clubs & Services has learnedDue to staffing demands of our other services the September break had to be held at the Glasgow September weekend so as not to clash with other Buddies Clubs services. The September weekend was 1 night less than planned as trying to obtain accommodation in Edinburgh or on the East Coast in general was extremely difficult due to the Ryder Cup being held on the same weekend. Many hotels were fully booked and the necessity to obtain accommodation relatively close to the centre of Edinburgh to allow ease of travel to different activities further restricted the choice. After many attempts to secure accommodation for a party of 12 Buddies Clubs had to settle for self-catering apartments for 4 days/3 nights. This is learning for future breaks to check out major events in other areas in advance of deciding on a location for a break.
Buddies Clubs has usually booked self-catering accommodation for short breaks as it has been seen to be more flexible than a hotel. On reflection the break at the spa hotel in Pitlochry provided a learning experience and if it had not been for the difficulties in obtaining accommodation in September as detailed above the preference would have been to try another hotel break. The adults really enjoyed the on-site facilities in Pitlochry and for all of them it was their first opportunity to be resident in this type of environment. The fears of issues over meal times particularly for those on the ASD spectrum who can be ritualistic around food preferences appeared to be unfounded and the willingness of the service users to try new foods as well as new spa experiences has contributed to a staff confidence in booking hotels for future breaks.
The Creative Break Fund has been beneficial in particular to those carers of service users who no longer have overnight respite within their Personalisation packages. Only a small number of adults who attend Buddies Clubs have funds for short breaks included in their care package. This is increasing stress on parents/carers many of whom are now becoming elderly with health problems or balancing the competing demands of caring for partners as well as their son/daughter. The breaks have been a lifeline for those in this situation and the demand for breaks for adults in the 21-35 age group has increased at Buddies Clubs within the past year.