Celebrating Scotland's Year of Stories
A story by PAMIS
People with profound and multiple learning disabilities, their families and communities were fully involved in celebrating Scotland’s Year of Stories. Across Scotland in many different ways everyone celebrated Scotland’s stories. They made memories and everyone had fun.
What Celebrating Scotland's Year of Stories did
The project has delivered a series of story events across Scotland for Scotland’s Year of Stories. People have engaged in a number of ways and in ways appropriate to each of them. We provided opportunities for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD)to develop and engage in stories in many different ways. We held story sessions in the tipi at Murton Farm in Angus. At the V@A Dundee in partnership with HMS Unicorn, at Wildhood Festival, the Festival of Folklore at the Multiverse in Dumfries and Galloway, at Edinburgh International Book Festival, Wigtown Book Festival and the Wild Goose Festival in Dumfries and Galloway. Throughout the year at monthly friendships clubs. In school halls and community halls over the summer and at the McRoberts Centre in Stirling where we partnered with a new friendship group for people with PMLD set up by Clackmananshire council, in partnership with family carers. All these events saw people with people with PMLD having fun alongside their siblings and friends. We told stories at holiday clubs throughout the summer too. People with PMLD engaged with story through art and music online as well. We worked in partnership with the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh to deliver seasonal stories linked to the exhibition that was current at the time. At carers request we also now have an online Makaton choir which consists of Family Carers and some people with PMLD too. The Festive season saw a family carer write, design and deliver a Christmas story in person and online. This particular parent requested to do this as she finds it an activity she can do to support her mental and emotional well-being.
Everyone on the programme was familiar to PAMIS due to our existing work but the programme provided opportunities to engage with for families who were not known to PAMIS. I offered other fantastic partnerships within communities leading to future opportunities to increase working together with community partners by helping to support them to include purposeful and meaningful activities into their existing programmes. This programme covered all the areas noted in our application and more.
What PAMIS has learned
This project was very successful but the methodology used enabled us to reconsider the delivery of the Wild Goose Festival in Dumfries and Galloway particular. it is a nature festival that celebrates the return of the geese and it is a popular festival held at the end of October. This year the weather was awful and although there is an indoor hub most of the events are outdoors. In consultations with partners on the festival network we have decided to develop a digital resource which we have sourced funding for to enable the festival to reach a wider audience and to enable people to participate in it remotely and in their own surroundings no matter where they are based. They can still participate by physically attending the hub activities but accessing it digitally opens it to a wider audience and if the weather is harsh everyone can still take part. We are excited to take this forward.
How PAMIS has benefitted from the funding
PAMIS has benefited from Better Breaks funding on so many levels. It has strengthened our reputation for supporting community partners and enhanced and embedded more understanding in communities of what is required to provide purposeful and meaningful activities for people with PMLD. it has enhanced our reputation for delivering creativity that is accessible and meaningful. We have engaged and expanded to two areas where we do not have a Family Support Service and as a result it has enabled us to expand our thought about how we can offer creative support to families across Scotland particularly in areas where there is no PAMIS Family Support Service. Better Breaks has enabled us to think of creative ways to include people across geographical areas through digital inclusion which in turn is building our capacity to reach more remote areas. The work we undertake nationally through Better Breaks opens up other funding opportunities as we have evidence of the pleasure and opportunities this work brings to families.
Participants will have had fun and enjoyment connecting with the creative process and producing a wonderful resource for the year of stories. Weekly online sessions to support the initial development and final production of the story resource 8 live in person performances of the stories
ttps://learning.edbookfest.co.uk/resources/dugie-the-dinosaur-a-multi-sensory-story/ https://youtu.be/Owz83UFW7qY This outcome exceeded all expectations and both the young people who designed the resource and the family carer who illustrated, wrote and narrated the story reported that having creative, meaningful and purposeful activities to do improved their overall wellbeing. For the children and young people who developed Dougie the Dinosaur they were online every two months with paleontologist Steve Brusatte and his wife Anne who wrote the book, they also had an online workshop with the illustrator Shalla Gray. All this helped everyone to feel confident and that their contribution was respected. The worked hard on their weekly art group meetings but also worked together remotely with a group of young people from Dumfries and Galloway that they then performed with at the festival. The performance wa sa huge success with the group enjoying their celebrity status too.
The case study for this could cover so much but I will choose the story of the online art group. The group had been meeting online over Covid and came from different geographical areas. They met physically for the first time at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and it was emotional. They got VIP treatment in the authors Yurt and enjoyed every moment of their day out. The work they began online is continuing to grow and they have developed amazing resources and continue to be active participants in the creative work they undertake. This year along with others they will appear at the festival again but in an even more prominent role. These pioneers support communities and events to be fully inclusive and understand that people with PMLD just want to enjoy events the same as everyone else.
People with PMLD, their families and supporters will have created and been a part of the design and delivery of a multi-sensory story resource that will have enabled people with PMLD to participate in the year of stories We will deliver the online sessions necessary to develop the resource
Families reported that it is rare they get to undertake activities and spend time together creating memories as a family. Families of people with PMLD rarely get opportunities to spend time together and this is what they value as they want time to create memories together and very few event offer opportunities where siblings can attend alongside the person with PMLD. Families report seeing the people they support accessing and enjoying purposeful and meaningful activities they enjoy is the best break they could wish for. Families accessing PAMIS are always fully consulted in what they would like us to deliver. They told us they wanted activities that the whole family could attend and we listened and they were fully involved in celebrating Scotland's Year of Stories. People with PMLD also had an amazing time creating resources. Families reported that it was fab to have resources to allow everyone to do meaningful things in life that provide access to fun just like everyone else
A mothers note: Thank you so much for all the opportunities we have been given. Our children and young people love to have adventures but rarely get them. The Year of Stories provided so many opportunities. We loved our day at the Edinburgh book festival and Wildhood is always a day where we as a family can step off the world and immerse ourselves in a welcome, wonderful, accessible and happy day where we get together as families to chat, catch up and have fun. Thanks also for all the events and for the opportunity for participation in all the resources our children and young people created. It was fabulous.
Additional project outcome
The project created many opportunities to work with partners in the community to begin to include and embed purposeful and meaningful activities into the programmes and events within their existing children and family programmes.
My daughter loves to have adventures but no one considers this. This programme of activities allowed her to have fun, enjoyment and feel included. As part of a programme ran by the Gallery of Modern Art over the summer and introduced to us by PAMIS my daughter along with 5 others took part in a 6 week programme working with artists at the Gallery on artwork that is going to be shown in the summer of 2023. she worked hard and had fun and we did things we had forgotten we enjoyed. Out art installation opens summer of 2023 and we had six weeks of fun working on it. Thank you so much for one of the best times of the summer. I hope you come and see our work at the National Galleries in Edinburgh. This is purposeful and meaningful activities as they should be.
Additional project outcome
having the opportunity to participate in events nationally is an amazing experience and supporting the Edinburgh International Book Festival to offer opportunities for people with PMLD is amazing.
A mother's thoughts Seeing our children and young people on a stage at the Edinburgh international Book Festival is the proudest day of our lives. So many people don't offer our children these opportunities but when we see the excitement, the joy and laughter it brings we feel joy. Joy that society is including our children and not only including them but treating them like VIP's. It is one of the most memorable times in our lives.