A story by Cornerstone
We provided a weekly sports club, a twice-monthly youth club and a monthly parent forum. Clasp also provided personalised support when a child or their carers were contending with challenging circumstances
Clasp is a community based support service in Dunoon for children with disabilities and their carers.
What CLASP did
We have successfully delivered a weekly Zone Club (term time) offering a different sport each week to the children we support. The partnership has continued to grow and we have established links with other sport organisations within the area to offer a wider variety of choice to the children. This has been very popular and has lead to an increase in children attending Zone.
Youth Club has grown in volume of attendees over the past year, allowing the carers time to socialise with each other, attend fitness classes or spend time with other children. The children have taken owner ship of the Youth Club and now have a request system in place for activities each session and snacks to have on offer at the tuck shop. This has encouraged the children and Young adults to be more independent, has increased the social interaction within the groups as well as boosting confidence.
Parent Forums have been popular with the parents/carers and new friendships have been made as well as establishing a strong support network for each other to discuss and offer support through challenging times. Parents have come up with new activity suggestions as well as playing an important role in our Fund Raising Events.
It has been a pleasure to work with all the children, young adults, parents/carers and families to deliver and successful programme but also to plan and implement next steps.
What Cornerstone has learned
Regular review throughout the year has been very effective for keeping within our budget and meeting the needs of the service users.
Planning meetings with all agencies involved in the partnership working has made it easier to meet all outcomes.
Involving the children more in the planning has lead to an increase in the number of activities being offered. Looking for new activities and groups to come in and work with the children has lead to an increase of partnership working.
How Cornerstone has benefitted from the funding
Clasp has benefited greatly from the Better Break grant. It has allowed Clasp to strengthen our partnership working and has opened the door to work alongside more organisations in the local area. More families are looking into accesses our service by the positive chat from the families already using our service. With an increase in numbers we have provided staff with additional training to meet the needs of all attending the service. Most importantly it has provided a safe and secure environment for the children and provides families with respite.
The Zone Club will coordinate active leisure activities on a weekly basis. The Youth Club will facilitate social, leisure, growth and development opportunities twice a month.
We have continued to work in partnership with Active Schools to provide a variety of activities to meet the needs of all children, the club has been popular and we have welcomed new children. Youth Club has also continued to grow and have an excellent turn out to each session and we have been able to offer some different activities from a local Art teacher to offer a bigger choice to the children and adults accessing the service.
At Zone we have welcomed a young boy, who is 8 years old, with Autism and is home schooled. The young boy has severe separation anxiety and doesn't spend much time away from family. Over the course of last term we established a relationship with the boy and his mum, built up trust and introduced him to the other children in the group. Each week the young boys anxiety levels have lowered and now he can engage with staff, is interested in other children and mum can now leave the room. The young boy enjoys sport and is now taking part in a structured lesson. This resulted in the parent having some much needed respite and opened up many new door for the young boy. Something we could not have offered without the funding in place for additional staffing.
Weekly Zone Club sports and active leisure activities will enhance and improve physical and mental health of children/young people. Carers will have improved wellbeing, strength and resilience as a result of the respite and support made available through Clasp.
We have improved the physical and mental health of all children who attend Zone by encouraging them to be active for an hour and a half each week. Promoted healthy eating and the enjoyment from bring active. Parents have had much needed respite which again has given them time to re-charge the batteries to help support there child at home.
Siblings have joined our Zone Club Sessions, they both were over weight, had a dislike to sport and were not confident it trying new things. With the help of trained staff the brothers have now attended the last 3 terms of activities. The boys are healthier, have lost weight, enjoy being active and have found sports that they like and ones they a very good at. This has lead to being more confident. Parents have noticed a change in behaviour and sleep pattern which has improved family life.
Carers will have weekly breaks from their caring role as the child/young person they look after participates in Zone Club. Twice a month, carers will have an extended break from their caring responsibilities when the child/young person they look after participates in Youth Club.
We have consistently ran all Clubs detailed for the Year this providing parents with weekly respite.
One of the clasp parents used the respite time to expand her knowledge and attend a night class at our local open university centre. This has improved her confidence, helped her gain qualifications and was an opportunity to meet new people. This has been very positive for the mum and she hopes to continue her studies next year. Where another parent uses the time to go to the gym and this has lead to her running her first half marathon. Her next challenge is to run a marathon and all proceeds to come to Clasp.
Regular respite opportunities for carers through the Zone and Youth Clubs. Parent Forum Sessions will provide carers with opportunities to discuss their issues, share resources and insights.
We ran the Parent Forum in conjunction with the Youth Clubs to make sure that all the parents have the opportunity to attend and have no child care issue. We have had social workers, OT and talkers in to help parents with transitions between services and to offer support when required. This has been very effective collaborative working.
One family have just recently moved to the area and joined our service. With the parent forum groups the families quickly had the opportunity to get to know other families in the area that have similar circumstances to themselves, they have offered support to one another, become friends and shared experiences. This has been a life line to this family.
Additional project outcome
Clasp will provide personalised, responsive, timely support to children/young people and their carers when they need it the most.
As a result of developing good relationships with all the children we support and there families we have been able to step in and cover additional support when required. A family we currently support has a very sick family member and we have been able to offer personalised support to the young person. This allowing the family to attend hospital appointments and have some much needed respite. We have supported the carers and families through difficult times. Offering a service to suit the circumstances at the time with the ability to adapt as required.