Corseford School Summer Club 2018
A story by Corseford School Parent Council
We provided a 2 week Summer Club, including transport and intensive staffing, for children with complex support needs.
There was 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 2018 did
The school summer holiday is a particularly long holiday and has always been a stressful time for parents and carers of children with disabilities. The pupils of Corseford School have long term multiple support needs requiring intervention and support in all or most of the following - personal care, medical/nutritional care, emotional support, access to their environment and social activities and intensive help with communication. All require 24 hour care.
This puts an enormous strain on carers. Approximately 1/3 of the pupils are in single parent homes and in addition there are a large number of siblings. The majority of Children who attend Corseford are unable to access local authority provision in the holidays due to their multiple support needs. This in addition to the wide geographical spread of the young people attending Corseford means that the pupils have very little or no opportunity to socialise with their school friends and peers.
We delivered a holiday club run over 2 weeks where each young person had access to 4 days each week 10am-4pm. Transport was provide to and from the club. The club was based in the short breaks area of Corseford School. All the pupils of Corseford were invited to attend 13 took up a place. Over the 4 days the pupils did a variety of activities including speed boating, science, bowling, mini golf, arts and crafts, baking and sports including accessible bikes in Glasgow. Each week was grouped according to age. And prior to club the pupils were asked what they would like to do in their week via a survey.
During the week, carers were able to maximise their time due to the provision of transport. This year the club was run in the short breaks area and staffed by their staff, some of who also work in the school. As a parent council we worked with the short breaks staff to ensure they developed a thorough knowledge of each young person coming. This was particularly important as this was a group of young people with very complex health needs.
Ruth Macleod, the manager, ensured this was done as well as building up an itinerary for the week. This new relationship means that future clubs will run in a similar fashion.
What Corseford School Parent Council has learned
The young people of Corseford School and their families, are most in need of a short break. Due to difficulties in recruiting school staff, this year saw the delivery of the club in the short breaks area and a new collaboration with the staff and manager there. Because of the complex nature of the young people this meant that the staff had to be fully trained on all aspects of the young people arriving for their break especially with feeding and communication needs.
In addition we had to convey that this was not a 'school club' and the aim was to get the young people out as a group as much as possible. Now that this has been done we anticipate all future Summer Clubs being held there with PC involvement as this partnership has been forged.
How Corseford School Parent Council has benefitted from the funding
Better Breaks funding has been invaluable for our young people and carers wellbeing. We have successfully delivered a summer club for the past 9 years and hope to for many more.
Children and young people with complex disabilities (aged 20 and under) will have more opportunities to have fun, develop friendships and take park in activities they enjoy.
13 young people accessed the club and via a survey beforehand, they were able to say how they would like to use their precious week. The young people who access the club have extremely high physical support needs. Typically they can't weight bear and require specialist supportive seating. Some have sensory impairments and other issues which mean that exciting and stimulating activities are difficult to access. Everything has to be risk assessed and group activities like this are difficult to source and organise. They were able to indicate choices including bowling, cinema, crazy golf. They chose to bake, make kites, and do other arts and crafts. They chose to have a BBQ in the scorching weather, and they chose a science show. They also chose to speed boat on a local loch. Accessible bikes on Glasgow Green were also a huge hit. All done in the presence of friends who they don't see much out of school. Magic!
To deliver a club where adult and young carers can 'recharge their batteries' .
The 7 week summer holiday is a long and stressful time for carers of this group of young people. In addition with little or no access to mainstream provision, the club provides a welcome break for both carer and young person. Feedback questionnaires indicated that the vital break gave families a chance to spend time together relaxing or doing things that were impossible with the cared for family member. Family members could also relax knowing that their loved one was with friends enjoying a tailored week and being cared for by people who knew them well.
Carers will have the time for themselves to recuperate at the end of a long summer break.
By providing transport to and from the club the time carers had was maximised. Not only did a taxi extend the amount of respite, it also meant that other family members could relax instead of having to take a child/sibling to club and back again. In some cases this is could be up to a 2 hour round trip at start and end of day. In addition, carers reported that they were able to do things with other children, relax, or indeed work!
Carers will report that they feel better, have achieved after their week and that they are already hoping for another summer club.
Via carer questionnaires, carers asked for another club in 2019 and said that the week had allowed them some rest.