Cafe Holiday Club
A story by The Saturday Cafe Clubs SCIO
We delivered Cafe Holiday Club providing fun, short break recreational activities for disabled children / young people, promoting social integration & healthy lives through play, sport, dance & drama in an environment of respect and the promotion of positive behaviours throughout the annual school holidays
What Cafe Holiday Club did
The Cafe Holiday Club provides lots of FUN for disabled children/young people (Glasgow & surrounds) enabling carers to engage in activities of choice, confident their child is in a positive, safe, fun space where they are supported by creating opportunities to integrate, play and learn in an environment of respect and promotion of positive behaviours.
Despite COVID19 restrictions the Cafe Holiday Club were able to support 57 individual carers and 68 individual direct service users weekly. Restrictions meant that the 2 week Spring Break had to be cancelled, but we are around to report that we were able to reopen our service on the 1st June 2020 and delivered an extended project through to the 12th August 2020 and one week October Break. A total of 12 weeks delivery - 2 sessions per day.
We worked closely with the Care Inspectorate and Shared Care Scotland to develop our Back-to-Business plan ensuring we provided a COVID safe environment. This meant we made significant changes to our delivery model moving as many of our sessions as possible outdoors. We are confident that the project we delivered over this challenging period continued to meet the needs of our carers and service users. Despite COVID restrictions we delivered a full programme of activities and events including sports, drama, free play, arts & crafts and many many more fun and challenging activities.
What The Saturday Cafe Clubs SCIO has learned
Be ready to change! In previous years we felt we had adapted a balanced but flexible approach to delivering our Cafe Holiday Clubs, but this has to have been the most challenging year ever. The increased cleaning and hygiene routines put additional pressures on staff and volunteers, but with assistance from Shared Care and the Care Inspectorate we were able to develop a robust Back-to-Business plan which helped us reshape our service delivery to be COVID safe for all concerned.
Staffing the service was very challenging. We have an incredible team of staff, but unfortunately due to COVID requirements the additional workload was such that we had to recruit additional staff hours - challenging at any time but moreso during the pandemic. We have since started to look at a process to recruit bank staff (shared with other childcare providers). This idea is in its infancy, but one which we will be raising at our networks.
Sourcing additional hygiene and cleaning materials was initially impossible and then very expensive. Fortunately we were able to receive these materials free-of-charge via our local HSCP hub. Pre-pandemic we had a thorough cleaning and hygiene processes, but the increased activity required would have been very challenging if not impossible to do within budget. We have learned that we need to consider these costs as ongoing costs.
How The Saturday Cafe Clubs SCIO has benefitted from the funding
Every cloud has a silver lining so they say and we feel the pandemic brought its own positives. We most certainly feel that The Saturday Cafe Clubs SCIO as an organisation - our reputation has greatly improved. Having the fund to aid us to deliver a service when most other service providers were closed has strengthened our reputation. Shared Care utilised our Back-to-Business plan which we were very proud of. Our service users have most definitely been very grateful to the fund for the Cafe Holiday Club service - it was truly a lifeline at a very difficult time for our carers and families and those they care for. Over the 10 week lockdown period we also made much more use of online learning for our staff and this is a habit which has stayed with us as a team. Staff - our staff were amazing but over this challenging period they have truly stepped up to the challenge and they give of their time generously and their patience knows no bounds - we are truly grateful for their professionalism, commitment and dedication to providing the very best FUN sessions for all our service users.
70 children/young people with disabilities from across Glasgow and the wider community will have had improved access to participate in fun leisure and recreation activities of choice with their peers; socialising and developing current friendships and making new friendship
Due to COVID restrictions the Cafe Holiday Club was not operational for the 2 week Spring Break 2020. The service re-opened on the 1st June 2020 and we delivered through to the 12th August 2020 (11 weeks x 4 days per. week). Our October Cafe Holiday Club also operated for 4 days the October school break. In total we delivered 12 weeks of Cafe Holiday Club (48 days). This exceeded the planned 9 week (45 days) planned delivery. The pandemic also placed restrictions on the type of activities we could deliver and also on the number of children/young people who could attend each session. We had a regular 62 children / young people attending (3-4 sessions per week) plus 6 additional irregular attendances over the period meaning we had 68 individual children / young people engaged for one or more sessions. We are confident that the 68 children and young people who participated had great fun in a very COVID safe environment.
AY is a young person (14 yrs) with complex development needs which often manifests in challenging behaviour and poor choices. AY's carer reported that there was a significant decline in his behaviour in the period of the initial lockdown and he was very anxious and stressed by having AY at home for such a long-period. AY's behaviour was also discussed with his CAHMs professional who asked that AY be allocated morning sessions throughout the Cafe Holiday Clubs to support him to get back into a routine in readiness for some school sessions returning and also to enable AY's parent to have a rest. AY attended morning sessions from week 2 throughout the summer and in the October break (total 12 weeks x 3 or 4 sessions per week). AY's initial settling period was challenging, but after the initial 3-4 sessions he began to relax into the sessions and make friends and enjoy activities again. AY's carer reported that the sessions really helped him care for his teenage daughter enabling him to spend short-bursts of quality time with her. AY is a very complex young person and this remains the situation - he settled into Club routine which allowed his carer a short-break from his caring role which he said helped him restore his energy bank and helped both him and AY to have an improved relationship at home.
70 children and young people with disabilities and their carers from across Glasgow and the wider community will have increased wellbeing and reduced stress through improved access to physical health and wellbeing information and support to participate in activities of choice.
As in outcome 1 the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions meant we had to make changes to our delivery model which restricted carers access to our facility and therefore the planned carer interactions were not delivered. I am also not so confident that carers wellbeing improved over this period as the additional pressures placed on them through the pandemic was increasingly obvious at every contact moment. Carers reported feelings of isolation and a deterioration of their wellbeing. When we reopened our service on the 1st June 2020 we had very anxious, but very grateful carers dropping off and picking up their cared-for child. We had new processes in place and this felt like a barrier for many carers who would normally have had time to come into our facility and discuss concerns with staff and other carers - the pandemic meant this was not possible and even outdoors social distancing measures meant restricting personal / private conversations which all had to move to phone calls.
LY (9yrs) is a young boy. LY's mum reported significant deterioration in LY's behaviour and sleep pattern over the lockdown period late March - June 2020. LY was very agitated and his mum put this down to 2 factors (i) Lockdown - lack of routine (ii) His physical health. LY was quite distressed when he initially arrived at sessions and in the earlier weeks (1 - 3) LY's mum often did not arrive to session until late meaning she had even less time to rest or participate in an activity free from her caring role. After some discussion with mum we understood that LY was not sleeping well so with agreement with mum we moved LY to the afternoon sessions. We had initially offered LY 3 sessions per week, but this was a struggle for mum and was in itself a cause of anxiety as she was not always getting LY to Club. In other years post pandemic we would have helped mum source additional support to collect LY from home and return to home after each session, but this was not possible during the pandemic. The best outcome for mum was a more flexible approach - bringing LY to Club when he was less tired therefore LY could attend across sessions (appropriate to his age band) and was treated like a crisis attendee. From week 5 onwards this approach was paying off and LY and mum got into a better routine meaning when LY was dropped off he was more relaxed about leaving mum. LY's long-term improvement unfortunately has not been without it's challenges and the inconsistency of school attendance has been detrimental to both LY and mum's emotional and mental wellbeing.
50 carers of disabled children from across Glasgow and the wider community will have time to access activities of choice free from their role of carer.
As in outcomes 1 & 2 the pandemic restrictions meant we had to make changes to our delivery model which restricted carers access to our facility and therefore the planned carer interactions were not delivered. I am also not so confident that carers were able to access many activities of choice over the period of the Cafe Holiday Clubs as the pandemic had closed or restricted access to many leisure activities. We are confident though through the feedback that we received that our carers benefitted from the short-breaks from their caring role as they were having long periods at home with their cared for child / young person and the stress of the situation was overwhelming for many carers. Carers reported that short-breaks enabled them to undertake activities like shopping which if challenging pre-COVID had become an impossible task during the pandemic to undertake with a disabled child/young person. Also, spending time with siblings was less stressful with their cared-for child at Club.
LX (7yrs) is a very happy young girl who also attends our out-of-school service clubs and is very familiar with the Cafe Holiday Club routines. LX's carer was delighted when the Club opened on the 1st June 2020 and signed LX up to 4 sessions per week as she felt LX needed to get back into a routine and also to get back to meeting with friends at Club. For LX's carer it was important to get some time to be able to support her elderly parents throughout this period - more shopping trips which she could do without worrying about LX. Unfortunately the 10 week lockdown had had a greater impact on LX than her carer had imagined. LX was reluctant to leave mum and/or dad and coming along to Club was not the simple happy experience that it once was for this child and her carers. LX had become more susceptible to loud noise and to the behaviour of other children - this was initially distressing for both LX and mum at drop off. To overcome this problem we invited LX to arrive at Club earlier than the other children - we engaged he in set-up of equipment and found her a quiet corner to relax as the other children arrived. Drop off became much smoother and less stressful for mum and/or dar and LX settled into the session much better. LX's carers reported that they felt more relaxed and were feeling more confident about the transition back to school. They reported they felt more able to undertake their other chores without the worry of LX as they were confident she was happy at Club.
50 carers will have the opportunity to engage in (supported or self-directed) social activities with other carers to exchange challenges and good news stories to develop peer support networks.
As in outcomes 1-3 the pandemic restrictions meant we had to make changes to our delivery model which restricted carers access to our facility. This was the most challenging activity as our plans over the school breaks are to have many sharing moments for carers - either formal sessions like fun days/social informative sessions or those many informal moments were carers exchange news/information at drop-off & pick-up. Over the duration of the pandemic these face-to-face interactions were not possible. We did try to have an online calls, but we just could not host these meetings and manage our service offering at the same time. We did make better use of our social media, but feedback from carers asked us NOT to increase our email as they were being bombarded with emails from school, work etc and time was not their friend to respond to this barrage of communication. We moved our conversations outside and over the course of the Holiday Club we felt these moments improved.
We do not feel confident that we met this outcome in the way we planned, but general feedback tells us that our carers felt more supported this year than ever before. Many carers reported feeling in crisis and the short-breaks from care provided by the Cafe Holiday Clubs were they only short-breaks that they were receiving over the lockdown periods and beyond. Schools and other activity clubs were closed and they had no other means of respite from their caring role. Carers expressed the anxiety they were faced with as many had siblings at home, were working from home and had others like elderly parents to care for. Shopping became a nightmare task and many carers expressed they felt that they had nowhere to turn too for support. The short-breaks provided by the Cafe Holiday Clubs gave carers a chance to recharge their batteries even though many still had to work from home and assist siblings with homeschooling. To this end many of our carers have told us that through the Cafe Holiday Club they felt much more supported to sustain their caring role.