Children and Young Peoples Service
A story by Crossroads Care Orkney
We delivered our service is for Children and Young People who have additional needs to access activities in their communities and to meet with their peers to have fun. The aim of the service is to help the children gain independence, enhance their social skills and give the parents and siblings some respite.
What Children and Young Peoples Service did
Our service was able to take children with additional needs to activities of their choice, this included soft play area, parks, going out for lunch, dog walking, swimming and going to the library. At times due to COVID venues were closed and alternative appropriate activities were accessed where possible. Some families had to isolate and we were not able to visit for some time. The children's care was weekly on the same day and at the same time. The children were usually taken out to a venue in their community. The Care Attendant would take them in their car or where they could they would walk to their activity.
The children we support and take to the activities have additional needs, but their parents and siblings benefited from the break from their caring role. These familys are usually introduced to us by the social work or education departments. Carers told us they enjoyed time with other family members or just used the time to out for a walk or chill out.
We work with children with moderate to complex needs. We encourage them to take part in leisure and sporting activities in the community. Part of our aim is to make these children more independent and equip them to cope with social situations as they grow up. Our service is inclusive for any child with an additional need regardless of their background or ethnicity. We can offer our service to children from the age of 3 to 20.
We did withdrew care in the first lockdown as we didnt know how hard we would be hit with COVID. From August onwards we were able to offer most of our service users their service back and took on two new clients too.
What Crossroads Care Orkney has learned
When we had to postponed our care due to the first lockdown we could see the detrimental impact this had on the carers and the children and this made us all aware of how important it is to have a respite break.
We had to very quickly learn how to keep everyone safe during the pandemic but at the same time try to maintain our service for the wellbeing of our clients.
With so many activity venues closed we had to think of alternative ways of keeping the children entertained and over winteritme this was quite challenging.
How Crossroads Care Orkney has benefitted from the funding
It has enabled us to sustain our service to our existing clients and we have been able to take on two new children too. This year has been very challenging for the parents of children with additional needs and they have needed a respite break for then ever.
12 children and young people will be taken to activities of their choice to mix with their peers on a weekly basis.
We have managed to provide a service to 10 children for most of the past year but there was some restriction of service due to lockdown. When we could we took the children into the community accessing parks and open spaces. We went to indoor venues such as the library and cafes after the first lockdown and latterly the swimming pool when it recently reopened. There was however little chance to mix with peers as this was not permissible due to COVID 19.
We supported a young lady to get out in the community for walks with and without her dog. She also likes to go to cafes with her care attendant. This girl has not been able to attend school for the last two years and her family has been under severe pressure which was made worse with the lockdown, they have been hugely grateful for the break from 24 hour care. The girl got a place at the local college and we initially went with her and she is now able to attend on her own and is mixing well with her peer group there.
12 children and young people with additional needs and their families will feel happier and less stressed, which will improve their general wellbeing.
10 children and young people with additional needs and their families were able to access a weekly break when COVID restrictions allowed.
This family had gone from all 4 children, one of which has complex additional needs, being at school and both parents out working to being locked down together trying to work from home and homeschool. We had to withdraw our service for 12 weeks. When we are able to provide respite after lockdown we went back into the home weekly to give the family a break. His parents were still homeschooling and they were finding the strain. We went in at the weekend to let the whole family have a break from caring and looked after the child while they did family activities together. There was a delay in the child getting back to school due to safety issues around COVID and our respite was the only chance for the parents to have some time to themselves as they have no other help available to them. In that time they had to take two elderly relatives to live with them to care for also. They have been very grateful for our service as it is the only contact and break they have had to look forward to in the week which they felt helped all their mental wellbeing.
29 parents, young carers and siblings will have had regular respite breaks to pursue their own interests.
29 parents and young carers did have an opportunity to go out and about as much as COVID rules would allow.
The mother of a young lady with additional needs has been very tied in her caring role with her daughter not being able to attend school for much of the last year. We were able to take her daughter our for a walk which in turn allowed her mother to go for a walk with a friend.
29 parents and young carers will have improved health and wellbeing, enabling them to continue to provide care.
29 parents and young carers accessed a weekly break allowing them some time off and a chance to go to an activity in the community when COVID restrictions allowed.
The mother of a young lady who has a profound and complex disability is unable to take her daughter out into the community safely on her own. With the support of our Care Attendant they can now all walk down to the high street and go round the shops. The mother is free to browse and the Care Attendant attends to the young lady who really enjoys getting out in the community. All are happier after their trip out and the walk does the mum some good too.