Charlie House Saturday Club - Kielder Activity Break
A story by Charlie House
We provided a residential activity short break to The Calvert Trust at Kielder Forest Park for 14 children with complex needs and their families from across Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire.
The break enabled the children, siblings and parent carers to try new activities together and meet other families in a similar situation.
What Charlie House Saturday Club - Kielder Activity Break did
The trip consisted of 14 families receiving either a 3 or 4 night short break spread over a total period of 10 days in October 2014 at The Calvert Trust, Kielder Forest Park. The funding mainly supported accommodation and activities at the centre.
The accommodation provided was in specially adapted chalets, with wet rooms, hoists and disabled access, enabling the disabled child and their family to relax and enjoy their short break in appropriate surroundings.
The activities were supervised by a team of Activity Leaders from the Calvert Trust who had specialist knowledge and equipment to enable all the children to access all of the activities on offer at the centre. This was of great benefit to all our families attending as more often than not they are unable to do things together at home, with one parent doing activities with siblings and one parent being with the disabled child. The result was families doing activities together sometimes for the first time.
Some of the families attending the break were already engaged with the charity and attend the monthly Saturday Club regularly, other families were contacted via the ASN schools in the area or through families thinking of others they knew that were in a similar situation that would benefit from the break and nominating them to the charity.
The activities undertaken by all the children, siblings and parent carers included zipwire, king swing, clay pigeon shooting, woodland walks, sailing, canoeing, motor boat cruise, hydrotherapy pool, sensory room, archery, climbing wall and abseiling.
In the evening the families would meet up in the communal areas for meals or after meals and got to know each other by sharing their experiences. The siblings made great friends with each other also, they played table tennis, pool and joined in with organised evening activities.
What Charlie House has learned
That it would be very useful to have an activities coordinator to help organise any future trips, coordinate the families attending, distribute packs etc and to collate all the information afterwards. It is extremely time consuming coordinating a trip for a large group of families with complex needs.
After the trip, the attendees at the Saturday Club have certainly taken to the challenge of trying new things, the group have since been accessing more mainstream activities locally and have done ice skating, track & field events, Boccia and trampolining.