A story by Inverclyde
We provided a holiday week in July for 20 families with a disabled child from Craigmarloch additional needs school in Port Glasgow. The breaks too place at Hunters Quay Holiday Village near Dunoon.
What Craigmarloch did
Holiday week 2 July at Hunters Quay Holiday Village for 20 families consisting of 20 sets of parents with 22 Craigmarloch children and siblings totalling 43 children.
Craigmarloch Head teacher selected children with mild to severe autism, severe physical disabilities and pupils completing sensory based curriculum. Activities undertaken by the children involved sport and supervised leisure activities.
What Inverclyde has learned
When making decisions on how families are allocated holiday places. Craigmarloch take a number of factors into consideration summarised below. Complexity of need If the young person has signiﬁcant complex needs travelling a far distance may not be an option therefore a break that is closer to home can be more appropriate.
Impact on the family- Craigmarloch are well placed to understand the challenges that individual families face due to having a child/sibling with additional support needs and aware of how and when a break like those provided are appropriate and really beneﬁt the child and the whole family. The school's close working relationships with families and partner agencies enables Craigmarloch to assess when the oﬀer of a break would be helpful.
Practicality - For many of the young people routine, structure and safety are paramount for them to be successful. By nature, caravan parks/ facilities have an enclosed feel to them which can be reassuring for both the young person and the family which leads to a successful visit. Craigmarloch know which pupils would respond best in these situations and take that into consideration when allocating places.
Unemployment - Obviously many of our parents in Craigmarloch don't work. For many of the parents this can be due to the needs of the young person that they are responsible for making committing to employment very challenging. For many of these families a holiday of any sort is not an option and the provision of these breaks really do have a huge positive impact on their mental health and wellbeing.
Regular visits to Craigmarloch by us have formed a very trusting and respectful relationships with the school and Inverclyde's HSCP. Donations of a smaller scale from individuals and local companies have undoubtedly been enhanced by publicity of Better Breaks funding for disabled children.
Craigmarloch school is very loved in our community and the Better Breaks funding has clearly motivated local people and business to oﬀer support to us.
New partnerships with Inverclyde Carers has been formed as has relationships with Inverclyde HSCP.
How Inverclyde has benefitted from the funding
The status of a Better Breaks funding award was pivotal in attracting new funders with Inverclyde Council focusing on us in a more positive way resulting in a Participatory Budget grant of £9,320 for vulnerable families away from what for many, is a rather bleak environment. The new CPAG in Inverclyde was formed early 2019 in response to our charity's high profiling of child poverty. New, positive and meaningful partnerships have been formed that have been instrumental in sharing of ideas leading to greater community engagement.
30 children with learning disabilities and their carers will be energised, more relaxed and less stressed due to this holiday break. Carers will feel real benefit being away from their normal environment and be enriched watching their children having fun and meeting new friends.
Carers and children had a wonderful holiday relaxing, participating in activities eg swimming. Parents felt real beneﬁt of the break and loved being on a family holiday and watching their children have freedom and fun. Location (within 40 minutes travel) is perfect for the families who cannot consider foreign holidays in view of the child’s complex needs. Argyll Holidays provide ramps to caravans along with wheelchairs as appropriate movement in the holiday village. and supervise children at all times during activities and swimming.
Carers will feel more relaxed in a holiday village environment where they will have more time to connect with their children in sharing activities with them that shall enrich their relationships.
Children enjoyed new activities, met new friends with both children and parents benefiting enormously for this holiday as a family unit. Post- holidays on our visit to Craigmarloch, parents described their experiences to us in glowing terms. The expressed their joy and happiness at being in a wonderful location which was tranquil and peaceful. All remarked how the holidays stimulated and energised them and since return they have been closer to each other. Qualified holiday village staff were a real bonus to the parents with their constant d supervision of their children during activities and swimming. This allowed them to have periods of rest and relaxation (Jacuzzi,sauna visits) that normally would be out of the question.