Cafe Holiday Club 2014
A story by The Saturday Cafe
The Cafe Holiday Club provided fun, short break recreational activities for disabled children and young people, promoting social integration and healthy lives through play, sport, dance and drama in an environment of respect and the promotion of positive behaviours.
This gave parents and care providers the opportunity and the time, to enjoy a short break from their caring roles.
What Cafe Holiday Club 2014 did
2014 was definitely a 'Year to Celebrate' and at The Cafe Holiday Clubs we did just that. We joined in all the fun, sport and culture surrounding the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and were delighted to join up with our local community and Celebration City to bring the Cafe Commonwealth Games Stadium of Hope to our very special children and young people, their parents, carers, friends and family and the wider community.
Glasgow 2014 and Glasgow Life worked tirelessly to recruit thousands of Clydesider and Ambassador volunteers and the partnership work we engaged in with Celebration City meant that the Cafe Holiday Clubs were able to benefit from this host of volunteers and the drive and passion for volunteering that grew in the City. Over the 9 week period we benefited from 2 volunteers who worked with us for the 9 weeks and we benefited from a small army of volunteers who worked with us through the 2 weeks 'Games Time'.
We operated for the 9 week school holiday periods, Spring Break (2 weeks), Summer Break (6 weeks) and October Break (1 week), opened 8 hours a day (9 am - 5 pm), 5 days per week. The project benefitted 70+ children and young people and 50+ parents and care providers. This year 43 siblings also benefited from the short break time with their parent(s) and other family members free from the stress of caring roles.
To ensure a fair split of the hours available across the service users we offered each child/young person an average of 14 hours short break each week. We had an average of 26 service users each day and supported an average of 8 service users until 5 pm to allow for working parents and carers. Our lunch club was used extensively throughout the 9 weeks with an average of 18 service users attending each lunch time period.
Cared for and carers enjoyed time together, Big Gig Music Festival, Cafe Commonwealth Games (over 120 children attended), being VIP's at Commonwealth Games cycling events got a visit from Clyde, put on Braveheart the musical and starred in Neils Games video and STV news. Our carers have reported that they enjoyed some stress free time with their families and friends and those who work felt more relaxed at this time
What The Saturday Cafe has learned
Over the years we have learned that planning is the most important aspect of running a successful project and preparation is key to delivering and implementing the plan. Working with disabled children and young people needs many hours of planning and preparation involving the children and young people themselves, their care providers, staff and delivery partners. We are always honing this and now we ensure that our plans are well thought out and that they leave room for flexibility e.g. when the weather changes (and it does) can this activity be moved outdoors or brought back indoors?
As the Cafe Holiday Club is linked to The Saturday Cafe Clubs it has been a real challenge making space for disabled children and young people who do not attend the term time clubs. We have been working on making a difference to this over the past 2 funded years, by linking up with Social Work services to ensure the most needy have access to the service. This has reaped benefits in that we have now formalised those links and we have had referrals to both the Cafe Holiday Clubs and to The Saturday Cafe term-time Clubs.
We know this relationship needs maintenance as we have learned that when local social workers move post this link can be broken - to this end we have now had an initial meeting with a new social work team locally who's main aim is to develop a referral process for out of school and self directed recreation for those most in need, least likely to be aware of and to seek out recreational and ensure activities.
We have also learned that it is difficult to reach 'hard to reach' disabled children and young people in some minority ethnic groups. Our attendance from ME communities is still low in relation to what we understand is the demographic for the disabled community locally. To assist us to overcome this we have made some links (albeit they are tenuous at this time) with some ME and VME groups. We hope to follow this up and secure those links moving into the Cafe Holiday Club programme for 2015 and to do this we have made links with ME/VME and disability staff at Glasgow Life. This is still very early days and we hope to be able to show better results moving forward.