A story by Children in Poverty Inverclyde
Craigmarloch was a project for 80 children (aged 6-18) with multiple complex needs to enjoy a week’s break at the Hunters Quay Holiday Village to experience fun activities, meet new friends along with their parents staying in quality 3 bed caravan accommodation.
What Craigmarloch did
In July, 20 families (total 43 children) enjoyed a week's holiday at Hunters Quay Holiday Village in the scenic Cowal Peninsula. Families are from Craigmarloch School in Port Glasgow for children with complex multiple needs and selected by head teacher George Walker who is familiar with those children and carers who will benefit most from the short break.
What Children in Poverty Inverclyde has learned
When making decisions on how families are allocated holiday places. Craigmarloch take a number of factors into consideration summarised as, 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 School 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 School know which pupils would respond best in these situations and take that into consideration when allocating places.
Unemployment, many of the 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.
In working closer than ever with Craigmarloch and on quarterly visits, we have formed a very trusting and respectful relationships with the school and Inverclyde's Health and Social Care Partnership.
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,
How Children in Poverty Inverclyde has benefitted from the funding
Without question our charity's reputation and profile has been raised considerably by the Better Breaks funding and assisted with other funding applications. The funding opened up a new avenue for us in the provision of holidays exclusively for carers and disabled children which has been informative, interesting and very fulfilling. New partnerships with Inverclyde Carers has been formed as has relationships with Inverclyde Health Social Care Partnership.
Children with learning disabilities and their parents will have had the benefit of a holiday as a family unit (some their first holiday together) and have had a wonderful experience in doing activities together. Parents will feel real benefit in being away from normal environment in a relaxed atmosphere.
Carers and children had a wonderful holiday relaxing, participating in activities such as swimming. Parents felt real benefit of the break and loved being on a family holiday and watching their children have freedom and fun.
The Greenock Telegraph wrote an article which fully encapsulates the holiday benefits including new friendships, carers relaxing in a different environment and families who otherwise would not have a holiday. Schoolboy goes on first ever family holiday thanks to 'amazing' Inverclyde Charity, Susan Lochrie Greenock Telegraph 31 August 2018. Shay Weir, and his mum Linda and their family went on their first ever holiday, Craigmarloch pupil Shay Weir was among those offered the chance of a summer break at Hunters Quay in Argyll and Bute. He was joined by his classmates and their families as part of a ground breaking partnership between Children and Poverty Inverclyde and the school. The charity founded by Pat Burke five years ago is run almost entirely on donations from local people who have taken the cause to their hearts. Shay's mum Linda said "This is our first holiday as a family. We could never have afforded this on our own" "It meant the world to Shay and us all and I can't thank everyone enough or praise it enough. It was wonderful. "When we turned up Shay's friend Billy and others were there as well." The children's charity funded breaks for 43 children and families from Craigmarloch at a cost of almost £12000 with a pivotal grant award from the Scottish Government Short Breaks Fund Better Breaks Programme of £7,105 making it possible. They also received donations from local footballer Jamie Bradley's marathon run and supporters like the Regent Club and the Lodge Greenock Kilwinning XII. Linda, 44, said: "Shay has an additional learning support disorder. He has the learning age of maybe a nine-year old because his brain has developed more slowly. "Shay is such a loving wee boy, so full of love for everyone he meets." "He was bullied all the way through primary school. It was awful, I remember I would be up at the office in tears begging for something to be done about it." "But that has all changed since he went to Craigmarloch. It is a great school and he has friends here. He fits in and it has helped him so much." On the holiday Shay also met up with his best friend Billy Love, who was also on the holiday at the park. Billy's mum Lorna said: "We wouldn't have had a holiday in the summer if we hadn't been offered this. I just couldn't have afforded it. "I think the charity and the school are absolutely wonderful. The best thing to come out of it was meeting Linda. We didn't know each other. Sometimes you don't know other parents because you don't see them." Billy, 13, has autism and also went to a mainstream primary school. Since moving to Craigmarloch he has found it a perfect fit. His mum added: "At the school they get to be who they want to be."
Parents will feel less stress and pressure, have reaped benefit of a holiday in a family setting. Chat about things they enjoyed together and how these memories enrich their relationships.
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 thy have been closer to each other.