A story by Cornerstone
Clasp provides a range of social, sport and leisure activities for children and young people with disabilities in the Dunoon area. These are offered via regular Zone Club, Youth Club and holiday respite sessions to provide regular respite for carers and opportunities for children and young people.
What CLASP did
With the relaxation of restrictions, we have successfully delivered all support sessions detailed in our application via face to face support and have enjoyed making new memories together whilst providing regular respite for carers.
• Youth Club - 16 sessions face to face out of a possible 16
• Zone Club - 22 sessions face to face out of a possible 22
• Parent Forum - 2 sessions delivered online and 1 session
face to face
Youth Club has continued to run twice per month. These sessions are split into Primary age and Grammar age and each session lasts for 2 hours. We have recently moved to a new location (Queen's Hall) and the children have settled into the new surroundings brilliantly and are enjoying the indoor space. Over recent months we have offered a variety of activities such as, baking, smoothie making, Bingo, board games, crafts, Wii, karaoke sessions and Yoga. Youth Club provides a safe and secure environment for the children and young people to socialise with friends, as well as frequent respite for parents and carers.
Our Zone Club is an after-school term time club which focusses on fitness and the enjoyment of being active. Each week we focus on a new sport. Over the past few months, the children have taken part in Football, Badminton, Dance, Basketball, Hockey, Gymnastics, Netball and Running sessions. Zone Club runs every Wednesday from 4pm to 5.30pm. The children are really looking forward to a Swim session and a Dance Group coming from Glasgow to take us on a Dance Extravaganza Experience.
Parent Forum was able to deliver two remote sessions to help support the parents. This provided opportunity for the parents to catch up and share information with each other. In February we were able to meet face to face which was well received by our parents/carers. Clasp has been able to set up a Coffee bar in the Queens Hall and parents can use this space during Youth Club. It was lovely to be able to spend time with parents/carers face to face and share experiences, suggestions, and make plans together again.
What Cornerstone has learned
The children we support have been engaged, tried something new, shared experiences, learnt to adapt to change, achieved goals and set new ones for the next chapter. It's been an action-packed year with so many positive outcomes - it's always a pleasure to be part of the journey with the children, young people, and families we support.
With the increase in numbers attending the respite clubs and a bigger volume of referrals coming from social work now that restrictions have lifted, we have found the need to add to our team. We have advertised and taken on 5 new staff to work alongside our dedicated team. We look forward to adding two day trips for the children and young people next year where the children can try new sports, learn about the theatre, and meet new people.
How Cornerstone has benefitted from the funding
Clasp has benefited greatly from the funding provided by Better Breaks – it is invaluable to our service. Without this funding we would not be able to deliver so many aspects of our service to the children and provide much need respite to our parents and carers. Better Breaks enables Clasp to be creative, adapt to change and meet the needs of every child and young person we support. Better Breaks enables Cornerstone to support more children and young people than we ever could otherwise. The fund allows us to offer more activities, experiences, and advice for children and families. This work enables children to make friends and try something new whilst providing respite to their parents/carers.
All children and young people with disabilities within the area will have the opportunity to participate in sport, social and leisure activities.
Clasp has been able to provide regular support and opportunities for the children and young people we support and their families. Every support session has been delivered to a very high standard with a variety of activities on offer at each session. All children registered with Clasp have been offered the opportunity to attend all 16 Youth Club Sessions and 22 Zone Club sessions, providing regular opportunities for the children to develop friendships, try new activities and have fun in a safe, secure and stimulating environment – whilst providing much needed respite for parents. At Clasp, we operate a plan, do and review system with all areas of the service which gives us clear direction moving forward. We find it beneficial to be reviewing throughout the year to understand what is working well and areas for development. Review forms are completed by children, parents and staff. The children also fill in an activity overview to help discover activities of interest.
Over the past few months, we have welcomed new children and families into the Clasp service, allowing Clasp the opportunity to provide a safe place to socialise with peers and explore new activities. One of our new starts is a young boy with autism and does not communicate verbally. He struggled to leave the family home and rarely spent time away from his parents. The Clasp team spent time visiting the child in his garden, established links/relationships with the family and the young person and supported the transition from home to our service. Slowly we have increased the length of time away from their parents, and now the young person attends our respite days, Youth Club and has recently started to visit our Zone Club sessions. He is happy, active, curious and keen to make new friends. Parents can enjoy the time together or with their other child – something they struggled to do before. Better Breaks funding has given this family much needed time away from their caring role, while still meeting SHANARRI indicators for the child to feel nurtured and included. Below are some results from our recent evaluation: Clasp activities help my child to be physically healthy by staying active • 100% of parents/carers ‘strongly agreed’ with this statement. Clasp supports my child to make progress with life skills • 100% of parents/carers ‘strongly agreed’ with this statement. My child gets a say in the activities they can take part in at Clasp • 100% of parents/carers ‘strongly agreed’ with this statement. Clasp helps my child to becomes more confident • 100% of parents/carers ‘strongly agreed’ with this statement. Parent/Carer Feedback: “This is a fantastic opportunity for my child because there is so much he misses out on within local clubs”. “Clasp is a brilliant and safe place for our kids to go and allows them to have a say”. “Clasp is invaluable to our son, and to us as a family and to our well-being also”. “Clasp is an extremely well thought out and professional service, that we consider an essential service”.
60 carers have had regular and reliable respite safe in the knowledge that their child is taking part in physical activity and socialising with other children allowing them the time to have a break and do something they enjoy without having to worry about their caring responsibilities.
All Clasp activities enable carers to enjoy some valuable respite. At Clasp we pride ourselves in working with the people we support to deliver a service that meets the needs and interests of the individual and the family. The promotion of well-being and independence is a top priority at Clasp for both the children and parents we support. Our service is child and young person led. We listen to the children’s needs and support the children to achieve these milestones. Clasp allows the children time to socialise with peers, to be active, and provides the opportunity to be involved with decision making and the support they receive. Making a child feel, safe, secure and happy provides secure foundations for independence to shine. This provides the parents/carers with opportunities to enjoy time to themselves knowing their child is safe and cared for.
One of our single parents has been using the time away from her caring role to focus on her fitness levels. While her child is being cared for by the Clasp team she has joined the local running Club. This has been beneficial for her well-being and that of her child. The parent has made new friends, found a hobby that she enjoys, spends time outdoors and has a sense of achievement at the end of sessions. Last month she completed her first 5k run. The different is her confidence is amazing to see and this has provided her the balance she needed to cope in her caring role.
60 carers will feel better thanks to the respite provided by their child attending Youth and Zone Club. 10 carers will attend at least one of our Parent Forums.
The continuity and frequency of our face to face support has provided respite opportunities for carers. Full support is available to every child so parents/carers can enjoy some valuable time to themselves. Evaluation has shown that children and parents are at the heart of everything we do at Clasp. Below are some quotes from the parents/carers: “Allows time with sibling as we find it very hard to things together as a family and she can often feel left out because of her brother’s needs”. “When X goes to Clasp it allows me time to sit down in silence with a cup of tea, go for a long bath, have a nap or time to read. Its nice to know she is being supported and able to practice life skills in a safe environment. It gives me peace of mind.”
Our first face to face parent forum session was very well attended in February and it highlighted how important is it to spend time with people face to face and not over a screen. Virtual sessions provided a way for carers to keep in touch over a very challenging time. However, it is much easier to gauge feelings, and help, support and comfort parents/carers in person. One parent had only meet other parents via online sessions – it's fantastic to see them interact face to face and for friendships to blossom. The parents discussed activities they would like to get involved in at the parent forum to help promote well-being and self-care. Our next activity will be Parent Yoga.
60 carers will have improved wellbeing after benefiting from regular respite provided by Youth and Zone Clubs. 10 carers will have improved wellbeing after attending one Parent Forum.
When the children are happy, safe and engaged in activities this has a positive impact on the families as well as the children we support. Clasp has an open-door policy and we are very connected with the children and families; it’s a vital aspect of Clasp. Communication is the key to being able to reduce stress/anxiety for the family and offer vital lifeline support. “It gives me a bit of time for myself and I can relax knowing XXXX is very safe and happy”. “The Respite allows me time to recharge my batteries which allows me to look after X better”. To help promote the importance of being active and well-being Clasp took part in “Fitness February”. During our Fitness month we were promoting positive thoughts and encouraged children, staff and parents to share feelings, thoughts and emotions with each other. Here are some of our favourite captions: - Smile Often - You are Awesome - Dream Big - Think Happy Thoughts - Make today Amazing - Believe in yourself
The respite we provide is very beneficial to the families and gives them time for themselves away from their caring role to recharge. On our feedback forms we asked parents what they enjoy doing when having time away from their caring role: “Both parents are very grateful for the support and this facilitates rest and socialising for the parents – this in turn benefits XX”. “I get things done in the house and walk the dog." “This provides essential respite for our family and enables us to maintain healthy mental wellbeing, in order for us to in turn provide to care required for our children”