Corseford School Summer Club 2016
A story by Corseford School Parent Council
We provided a 2 week Summer Club, including transport and intensive staffing, for 14 children with complex support needs.
One tailored week for older and one for younger pupils. An activity and play based club for children unable to access community run schemes due to their high level care needs.
What Corseford School Summer Club 2016 did
Firstly, we ensured we could retain our Club Manager, who had moved to a full-time SLT support role. Luckily the school is fully supportive of the benefits of the Summer Club, allowed us to have Suzanne and indeed funded her salary, (this was the reason we were able to apply for a lower Grant for 2016).
Once the Grant had been confirmed, we were able to offer places on the scheme. We invited all children at our special needs school (Corseford) to attend, and the uptake was 74%. While the club was based at the school, to take advantage of the facilities, this was not a "school club" and we aimed to get the young people out and about as much as possible.
The Summer Club ran for two weeks over the long summer break. One week was tailored for older pupils and the other week for the younger group. Days were from 10am to 4pm and transport was provided to enable attendance and to support the carers. The Club is play and activity-based, activities included cooking, art, sport, music and outings such as Karting, speed-boat trips, kayaking, cinema, accessible parks, farms and other places of interest.
The students and carers were consulted before the club regarding suitable activities and feedback from previous years was also taken into consideration. Carers took the opportunity to recuperate after the long holiday, and to spend quality time with their other children and loved ones. Most took the opportunity to do things just not possible with their disabled child, be it a walk on the beach, or to climb a mountain. Some had a well-earned rest!
Comments: I was able to relax knowing R was well cared for and all his needs were met. This gave me time to meet with friends and family. To get some painting done at home. To spend some Me time relaxing. It provides the family with respite during the holidays. It was my first real break in caring for 5 weeks. I needed a rest. I was able to meet some work commitments. It was great to have some time to spend time with J's brother as it was his birthday on the Tuesday.
It gave me a break as there are no other activities available during the holidays. It allowed me time to spend time with my other children while knowing that K was in a safe, secure environment having fun with friends. A bit of a breather in the middle of the holidays. I enjoyed spending time with R's sister. As well as a great week for R, myself and R's little sister enjoyed 3 nights at Kilconquer Castle in Fife. I had time with siblings. I had some time to myself. My son is very demanding of my time and does not sleep well. The Summer club was a chance to catch up with all of the things that go neglected in the 7 week break. Transport a must otherwise I would have had a 2 hour trip am and pm.
Gave me time to do other things and gave me time with my daughters. Huge benefit to us as a family. Allowed me to spend time with other family members knowing M was having great fun with his friends and not just being babysat with a carer. A close family member was in the hospice so I was able to visit and have time to recharge my batteries in between. Very grateful for the time I had with him.
Did the club benefit any siblings/family members?
Comments: I was able to spend quality time with my husband who is seriously neglected over the holidays. I was able to spend time with my nieces and nephews in a more individual way. It is a benefit to L's little brother as it gives us the opportunity to take him places not suitable for a wheelchair. Yes his dad and his sister. Yes her brother. Yes it gave me time to do stuff with my son that my daughter can't do. It's extremely beneficial to K's siblings as we get to do activities that we aren't able to do when we have K. i.e. swimming, hill climbing and trips to the beach.
Yes his sister went swimming and she enjoyed one on one time with mum. Beneficial to everyone. Time with mum going swimming and climbing in the woods. Huge benefit to us as a family. Gave me time with my daughters. My son turned 18 during this week so we were able to do lots of organisation and running around. My other son and I took walks on the beach with the dog where the wheelchair can't go and we went to see a grown up movie.
What Corseford School Parent Council has learnedThe provision of the fund grant is crucial for the continuance of our Summer Club. This together with the carers' contributions and significant fundraising, enables us to provide up to 40 hours of respite (including transport) and quality time to the cared for and carers and families. The Challenge now is to attempt to run it again in the future as it takes a lot of organisation, and the grant application and reporting process is understandably time-consuming.
We are volunteers who have significantly disabled children ourselves with the pressures that involves. We are proud of the Club and the demonstrable positive effect it has had on our families. We will continue to promote it, especially to the few children who haven't accessed it before now.