Cafe Holiday Clubs
A story by The Saturday Cafe Clubs
The Cafe Holiday Clubs operated over the 9 weeks school holidays for 5-days per week, 2-weeks Spring, 6-weeks Summer and 1-week October.
We offered disabled children and young people FUN, exciting and challenging activities, supporting and extending their development through play, crafts, dance, drama and sport.
What Cafe Holiday Clubs did
2016 was another amazing successful year for us. Funding this year enabled us to deliver 9-weeks of Holiday Clubs, 2-weeks Spring break, 6-weeks Summer break and 1-week October. We are delighted to report that we delivered the Café Holiday Club to an average 25 disabled children aged 5-16 years daily for 5-days each week for 8 hours each day. Each day divided into 2 sessions, a total of 360 hours of service delivery.
We are also delighted to report that we delivered our Ozzy’s Holiday Youth Club to an average 12 young people aged 17-20 years 3-days and one evening per week. A total of 216 hours of service delivery.
For our 2016 holiday clubs we recruited 12 sessional staff from within the team of staff delivering our general Clubs and 3 volunteers, 2 were new to the service. We are proud to report that the Café Holiday Club and Ozzy’s Holiday Youth Club users reported back that they had a ‘great time’ at Club. We delivered a huge range of theme based activities, a key tenet being the ‘great outdoors’. Despite the sometimes inclement weather we delivered approximately 60% of all our activities outdoors.
Our range of activities included sports (sometimes adapted versions), dance and drama, arts and crafts, games and lots of opportunity for free play, making friends and trying out many new activities (or at least new-to-me activities). A big hit for 2016 was our junk-sculpture days…. creativity and Imagineering brought out the architects and house builders, the princes and princesses and many robots all made from cardboard boxes and lots of junk.
Our parents and carers also reported how they benefit from the club over the long school breaks. In the main our parents/carers report that having time to spend with other siblings, or with their partner just taking part in activities of choice free from the role of care provider relieves stress and helps them and the family in general to build up some energy reserves for the days they spend with their disabled child.
To help R develop strategies for dealing with the club environment we initially worked with her in small groups, introducing her slowly to other participants ensuring we communicated appropriately with R at every step, looking for her queues to move on if she showed signs of stress or engaging others when she appeared relaxed. We worked on a reward system with R, ensuring her mirror was at hand as a comfort when she showed signs of stress and agreeing rewards when she achieved new goals e.g. glitter stars for her posters.
R's parents report that they see a huge difference in her excitement to attend club, they notice that she participates in more group activities. R is still challenged in one-to-one situations particularly if the other young person is loud, but there has been a significant improvement, she now spends less time heading to the wall and she has developed 4 or 5 close friendships at club and chooses freely to sit and engage in activities with this small group on a one-to-one basis.
We worked with A using a simple card sign (like football cards - Green if he was happy, Orange when he was okay and Red when he was worried or anxious). A enjoyed the activity of showing a staff member a card to say how he was feeling and often this was happy as partly the fun was showing a staff member a card (like the referee in a game). This appeared to give A more control and he quite openly would show a red card when an activity was introduced that he did not want to take part in.
We then moved from simply showing a card to either saying the colour or saying how he felt. A still has cards, but he often simply uses one or two words. We still have communication break downs and A can still show signs of frustration and anxiety, but we now recognise the signs and can more often than not can have a quicker intervention to lessen his anxiety and avoid this turning to aggression.
L enjoyed the new role immensely and became so engaged in working with other disabled children that she applied to college to do a level 2 SVQ in Early Years. L is now working towards her qualification, she has gained a volunteering role in an AL&SN school and she has decided to stop attending club and has found other leisure time activities.
What The Saturday Cafe Clubs has learnedIn 2015 we reported that we would be opening up the service wider to new users. In 2016 we learned that the demand for places at the Club far outstretched our supply and we had to develop ways in which we could accommodate those most in need and still maintain the service for those who had become reliant on the service over a number of years.
In 2016 we learned that we had to develop a procedure of induction for our service users. We have developed an approach for 2017 that will see new service users attending general club time to enable the child/young person to become relaxed with the environment and to enable staff to understand the personality and needs of the child.
In 2016 we learned the importance of an Advisory Group after establishing one as part of our application to become a SCIO. The advisory group (service users) have assisted us in shaping our club offering.