A story by Cosgrove Care
Cosgrove Connections brought families who have a young person with complex needs together. Families in West Central Scotland have accessed a range of themed family days and 9 short breaks, sustaining them in their caring role and building skills, friendships and confidence in young people.
What Cosgrove Connections did
Cosgrove Connections delivered 5 short breaks for children with complex needs and their families in the West of Scotland. In addition, we delivered 6 themed activity days for carers and their families. We delivered an information and learning day for carers to co-produce the short breaks in October 2018. Two further activities evenings were held in November and December 2018.
Evening activity sessions were held for carers and young adults throughout the year- offering respite for carers and positive activities for young people with complex needs. These events responded directly to the information and feedback we received from families about what they needed to sustain them.
We used our delivery space at May Terrace at Giffnock for many of the activities, accessing local resources and accessible spaces for bigger events to increase attendance.
Over 160 carers and 102 young adults accessed the events coming from East Renfrewshire, Glasgow, North and South Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire. We widely promoted the events and activities with commissioning authorities, Carers Centre and through existing people and families who receive a service from Cosgrove.
Carers used the time we created for them to go on holiday and take time out to charge their batteries.
We established a partnership with Young Enterprise Scotland, worked closely with The Yard and were able to recruit and use 15 new volunteers. We particularly focused on carers having more opportunities to enjoy life outside their caring role- giving carers regular time to re-charge batteries.. We also focused on carers feeling better supported in their caring role. By listening to what works for carers, co-producing the short breaks and sustaining carers through regular respite sessions, carers tell us they feel better supported.
The Project largely went to plan, we leveraged the funding received from Creative Breaks to provide a comprehensive offer which directly responded to the consultation work. Creating regular sessions worked well to connect with carers. Co-producing and delivering real person-led short breaks improved impact and quality.
What Cosgrove Care has learned
Project Planning and Budgeting - We have become much more confident and accurate with our Project Planning and budgeting, we have explored different methods of staffing, effectively engaged volunteers and ratios to give us more accurate methods for this process.
Targeting families most in need - Information and learning sessions, working in partnership with others and creating referral pathways has supported our learning and development. We have used media and social media extensively and become more confident and targeted which has allowed a greater reach, getting to families most in need.
Creative Breaks funding and delivering a comprehensive programme has allowed us to both fundraise and target other funders more effectively. We now have good evidence of impact, consultation and evaluation gained through receiving this funding which is allowing us to build our programme and impact.
How Cosgrove Care has benefitted from the funding
We have built new partnerships and extended our knowledge significantly of adapted accommodation and resources in Scotland and beyond. We have built a strong reputation of delivering high quality, modern and person-led supports which really help carers and are fun for the supported person. We have built effective skills in M and E and really understood the impact and outcomes from activity and learning days- bringing people together and connecting with other partners and services for the benefit of all.
Carers of a young adult with learning disabilities will have accessed a more diverse range of short breaks in 2018/19, built new circles of friends and supports, gained confidence and skills and new activities. They will have influenced the shape of future activities and be connecting with other carers.
We have delivered short breaks of varying length and location, created events which have brought families together to share and connect. Carers co-produced person-led supports for their family members and had a breaks themselves. Consultation allowed carers to shape our offer into the future and respond more effectively. We see carers grow in confidence in allowing their family ember to go away with a trusted provider. Organising a programme allowed families to plan. Regular support allowed cares to have a life out with their caring responsibilities. Carers provided us with great examples of going to Yoga, Mindfulness Sessions, or just spending time with friends and family as real examples of enjoying opportunities out with caring roles.
Isaac is a 22 year old man who has a diagnosis of autism and OCD tendencies. Isaac main interest is music, he loves listening to different music styles as well as playing the piano where he particularly excels in. Cosgrove have supported Isaac since late 2016, primarily at our activity days. In Autumn 2018, we received an emergency referral to provide additional support as Isaacs behaviour had been becoming increasingly challenging and the family were receiving no respite. An opportunity came up for Isaac to join in our young people short break funded by Creative Breaks. The break was tailored to our young adults which means this was suited for him and we were able to secure a good level of support. The purpose of the break was to provide opportunities for the young people to experience different activities within a peer group with similar interests. Isaac enjoyed the variety of activities offered, his favourite being the high ropes. Whilst Isaac really enjoyed the activities, having the option of spending quiet time with his keyboard in one the spaces in the accommodation really appealed to Isaac. Having a high staff ratio allowed us to do this safely, whilst having plenty of staff to support the other young people to the activities. This break provided much needed respite for the family. This enabled Isaacs family to spend time with his younger sister and older brother which relieved them of their caring duties for the weekend. Mum and Dad were very grateful that Isaac had an opportunity to attend this short break. The family are able to sustain their caring responsibilities, knowing this support is in place into the future. ________________________________________
We will measure success through hearing directly from carers about the impact of the sessions delivered and designed by them. We will determine through consultation if carers understand their rights through increased knowledge of the Carer’s Act and if this has had an impact on their caring role.
We will delivered three planning and co-production sessions to support carers to shape the regular activity sessions. This will see all the activity sessions co-produced and designed by carers and by young adults themselves. We supported 150 carers to feel better supported by the provision of targeted, personalised sessions and increased knowledge and connections to sustain their caring role. the information and learning sessions, allowed carers to see where and how they could influence the right support to meet their needs. The consultation work that we have undertaken has allowed us to see how support has influenced the level of understanding and resilience carers have built as a result of regular support and direct influence in the type of support and care their family member receives.
Rory is a 21 year old young man with complex needs. His family did not have any short break support in place and the family wanted to understand how to access more regular support to allow them to re-charge their batteries. The Information and Learning session allowed Cosgrove to provide the family with information, advice and sign posting as well as link them to the Creative Breaks funded activities. Their feedback was: We wanted to thank you and your team for taking very good care of our son. He came home yesterday exhausted, but very happy. We had an opportunity to relax and rest. The photos your staff member sent speak for themselves, R clearly has had the best time and enjoyed participating in activities he would not ordinarily do. As his parents, it gives us tremendous joy to know that Rohan can go away for short breaks and enjoy himself. and that we understand and can access the support we need to allow this to happen. I know that each member of the team will have looked after, encouraged and supported R- without which his weekend would not have been the success it was. I believe that on arrival at Cosgrove, he told his dad to go- which suggests he wasn't ready for the weekend to end! Thank you for giving him this opportunity- my only question is when is the next one?! The family now have regular support and regular information about short breaks. They access and contribute to family sessions.