Continuing to Break Away
A story by Mid Argyll Youth Development Services (MAYDS)
Continuing to Break Away is a project supporting disabled children, young people and their carers through offering activities, respite and some time away via fortnightly pony club sessions and a 3 day/2 night residential at Lochgoilhead outdoor centre.
What Continuing to Break Away did
During the funding period we offered children with disabilities fortnightly trips to the Argyll Adventure Pony club. Here they got some time away from the home and were supported by Youth Staff who were able to do some pony trekking and participate in activities like horse grooming, stable management etc. In addition at the end of June we provided a residential trip to Lochgoilhead outdoor centre for 3 days and 2 nights where the young people participated in bushcraft, crabbing, climbing, water slide, boat trip etc. While allowing the young person with the disability time to participate in a fun activity this also allowed the carer including young carers some respite. Participants were known to the service through both our young carers and Additional Support needs programs. While participating in the short break activities carers were able to spend quality time with other family and children, participate in social outlets and activities such as walking, swimming or just spend some time relaxing at home. In some cases it was both the cared for and young carer that attended the activities together to give parents respite and allow the siblings some fun time together. The priority areas addressed via this project were complex needs, sports and active leisure, diversity and Independence. We delivered all outcomes, however did have to get an extension for the residential due to various reasons. We were grateful to better breaks for allowing this extension meaning the young people were able to participate in the outdoor residential at the end of June 2022.
What Mid Argyll Youth Development Services (MAYDS) has learned
Through this program we continue to learn about the struggles that families with ASN children have on a daily basis. Locally there is a huge lack of facilities and programs to meet the needs of these families. Through this learning we have been able to access funding to provide summer respite facilities for these families which will make a huge difference. In addition we have been looking more into ways and means of being able to provide respite for these families particularly through short breaks.
How Mid Argyll Youth Development Services (MAYDS) has benefitted from the funding
Working more with children with ASN and their families identified the need for more specific and specialised training for staff. Through this staff continue to increase there skills and knowledge and we now have the capacity and confidence to support children with complex needs that in turn gives the families the break they need.
20 children and young people with learning disabilities will have the opportunity to participate in fun activities.
This outcome was fully achieved, 10 individual young people with learning disabilities had access to regular pony club sessions allowing them opportunities to participate in new activities, have fun and build and develop new friendships. In addition 7 young people with disabilities and 3 young carers (participating alongside their sibling) had the opportunity of time away from the home through a 3 day/2 night residential at Lochgoilhead outdoor centre. This allowed the young people participating to try new activities and meet new people.
Young person A suffers from autism, he lives out of town and never participates in social activities, in addition his dad has dementia which adds to the day to day struggles the family encounters. It has been a long process in getting A to participate on the pony club program for many reasons and to begin with he was anxious and felt out of place. However overtime he has built a good relationship with staff and now enjoys his time away from home and the peace and calmness of working with the horses. He has met new friends and because his confidence has grew and he now knows MAYDS staff he now attends some of the other clubs we run.
25 carers will receive respite from there caring role.
This outcome was fully met. While the young people with disabilities were participating in regular pony club sessions and the 3 day/2 night residential carers including young carers were able to manage to get some respite and do things like walking, swimming, various activities or spending quality time with family and friends. In addition some young carers got to spend quality time with their disabled sibling having fun and socializing without having to do the full caring role which gave them respite while still being able to spend time with their sibling.
Carer B is a single mother of three children. She has a daughter who is a young carer and two sons with additional support needs. She herself has fibromyalgia and lupus. She has recently been struggling with her mental health and to find time for herself. During the program her eldest son attended Lochgoilhead alongside his sister whom is a young carer. This gave C the opportunity to spend time with her middle child who has severe Asperger's but also to take some time out for herself. She stated that this was a much needed break not only for her but her children who got the opportunity to go on the residential.
Carers will report back increased confidence to continue their caring role through the respite they are receiving while their child is attending activities.
This outcome was fully met. Carers reported back on the importance of receiving regular respite whether it was their child attending 4 hours on a Sunday at pony club or 2 nights at a residential. They stated that this gave them time for self care and the ability to continue with their caring role feeling more positive.
Carer C is a single mum with a daughter and a son who has complex additional support needs. Having moved to Mid Argyll from Europe a few years ago she has no family support locally. C finds it difficult to make time for herself and spend quality time with her daughter as her son has so many needs, over time this has impacted on her mental wellbeing and ability to carry out her caring role. Since engaging with MAYDS and her son being able to attend respite programs, for the first time in a long time C is able to have a regular respite which in turn allows her to be more confident around her ability to continue as a carer. C has reported that without these programs she would struggle to continue in her caring role, the break allows her to relax and attend to her needs where as before she had no time at all.
Children and young people with disabilities and their carers will have more space and time for themselves with access to support where needed.
This outcome was fully met. Through the opportunity to participate in activities and provide respite for carers mental wellbeing was increased for everyone, people had time to themselves and being engaged with the projects allowed for signposting and support where need be such as to groups like our ASN which provided further support and respite.
All the children and families we have engaged with in this program have reported that they have had more time and space for themselves. This overall has improved their mental wellbeing and opened up opportunities that were not there before. Through engaging with MAYDS on this program many of the children and families were able to be signposted for further support with such as children attending Additional support needs groups and young carers attending diversionary activities, this in turn has provided everyone with further respite on a regular ongoing basis.