Disability Respite Holiday Programme
A story by Caravan Project
We provided disabled young people from Glasgow and their carers with a week long respite holiday at Craig Tara in Ayr.
The families were also provided with transport, entertainment passes, discount cards and a free food hamper. We also secured funding to create a sensory caravan.
What Disability Respite Holiday Programme did
Fitting with the Better Breaks priority of diversity, we specifically targeting young people with disabilities and their carers from the most deprived communities in Glasgow, helping them to overcome barriers that prevent them from accessing short breaks.
In total we provided 291 people included 111 Carers and 82 young people with disabilities a week-long respite break at our caravans in Craig Tara. In addition we also provided:
Free door-to-door transport, a free food hamper, free entertainment complex passes, providing access to the pool, children’s play area etc and a discount card (providing up to 50% off selected purchases on site)
We also secured funding to create Scotland first sensory caravan which will be launched in 2020 (once corona virus lockdown is lifted).
We were able to engage our target groups via our network of volunteer REPS working within local organisations across the city. Our reps played a key role in identifying deserving individuals and families and providing them support through each step of the application process.
Learning from our successful first year of deliver we implemented the following initiatives to help us overcome challenges and achieve our targets: 50% of all Easter, summer and October school holidays were allocated specifically to young people with disabilities and their carers, 2 weeks each year were dedicated solely for young people with a disability and their carers. This allowed carers to provide peer support to each other and reducing the anxiety levels allowing them to get more from the break.
What Caravan Project has learned
This was only the second year of delivering a dedicated programme for disabled young people and their carers and as an organisation we are continually learning.
The three best examples of this were:
We set a target of providing 120 carers and 60 children and young people with a respite holiday. We managed to provide holidays for 83 (23 over target) children and young people yet only provided 111 carers (9 short of target). Although the corona virus lockdown prevented delivery of three weeks-worth of delivery which we believe would have led us to meet our target for carers we feel we still need to better understand the challenges for carers who are either single parents looking after more than one child with a disability. We will be holding focus groups with carers in 2020 to better understand the challenges they face and to better design our services around these needs.
Following feedback from our customers we set out to create Scotland first Sensory Caravan which was due to be launched in April 2020. We initially engaged with companies who specialised in creating sensory rooms but we struggled to find a company that understood the unique demands of this project. We wanted to create a space that was practical in terms of living space but would create a stimulating sensory environment for our customers.
In the end we decided to order the key pieces of equipment from the professional companies but have taken a much more hands on role in the design of the caravan. This has led to staff undertaking training on understanding sensory needs and speaking to customers and organisations such as Differ-able to better understand what types of equipment would have the most benefit.
As a small charity we rely on the partnership we have created with around 40 local projects across Glasgow. It is these relationships that allow us to target the people who would need a break most and dedicated staff within these organisations help support applications and signpost to wider sources of support where appropriate.
As staff move on to new jobs or are moved to new locations we have found this can have a big impact on the quality and quantity of applications we receive. We managed to get round this this year by investing time in identifying new REPS from within these organisations and providing them with training and support to give them the confidence to refer customers to us.
How Caravan Project has benefitted from the funding
As this is only year two of delivering a targeted programme for young people with disabilities and their carers we recognised that we are still learning and need to continue to develop our capacity and capability. This programme has brought a number of direct benefits such as: Staff have increased confidence in supporting young people with disabilities and their carers, our volunteer REP's have gained increased confidence and awareness in identifying suitable families and supporting them through the application process. Our partner projects have now been able to reach out to more people in their local communities to offer this new service. We have gained a new referral partners such as Quarriers who specialise in supporting young people and this expertise will be invaluable in the future as we develop our programme further. Our internal systems (databases, applications forms etc) are all now adapted to collate information on disability. Overall delivering this project has been a hugely rewarding experience for our staff, board, Volunteer REPS and most importantly the young people and their carers.
60 children and young people will have made had fun, developed friendships and do activities they enjoyed.
82 children and young people with disabilities were provided with FREE entertainment complex passes, providing access to the pool, children’s play area, golf course etc. 82 children and young people with disabilities were provided with a discount card providing 50% off all paid-for sports and leisure activities.
Life is tough for ‘James’ and his Mum. Living in one of the most deprived areas of Glasgow on a low income and coping with the daily challenges of life with Autism and ADHD. The family were under extremely high levels of stress. His Mum was feeling emotionally drained and at breaking point when we received her family application. Thanks to funding from the Better Breaks Fund we able to support ‘James’ and his mum by providing them with a week- long respite holiday at one of our Caravans at Craig Tara in Ayr. Once onsite the family had FREE access to amazing range of facilities on site including a large swimming complex with water slides and extensive indoor and outdoor play areas. To save money on the trip we also provided the family with discount passes for everything from the onsite shop to the Robert Burns Museum. The holiday provided ‘James’ and his mum with a chance to escape the stresses and strains of normal life and to spend quality time together. "We had an amazing week that was otherwise out of our reach. My son got to wear his first pair of wellies and spent a few occasions splashing as the beach looking for sea creatures and stones! ‘James’ loved the Swimming pool we spent lots of fun hours there sliding down the flumes and splashing in the water." "We also got to spend the most special time together making amazing memories, playing outside, socialising, enabling my 7 year old son to be more independent. Times have been very difficult of late and having your support to make this happen has helped my son and I to have precious time together, Thank You."
120 carers of disabled children and young people (and those they care for) will have improved well-being
82 children and young people with disabilities were provided with a week-long respite holiday. 111 Carers were provided with a week-long respite holiday.
‘Alex’ and his family recently came to the UK and have been living in the Knightswood area of Glasgow which is one of the most deprived areas of Scotland. His family were still coming to terms with his Asperger’s diagnosis and this caused lots of stress and arguments within the family. Alex’s Mum was keen for the family to have their first holiday together in the UK but couldn’t afford a normal break due to their personal circumstances. The family applied after speaking to one of our volunteer Caravans REPs based at the Linkes Project near their home. "My family needed a holiday, between moving to a strange country and dealing with my son’s Asperger’s diagnosis it’s been really tough. At the moment they just go to school and come back, nothing else. I want them to have fun and have a change of scenery, visit a new place. I don’t want them to feel shame with their friends and be the ones who never go on a holiday." We awarded the family a week long respite holiday at one of our Caravans at Craig Tara in Ayr. The holiday gave the family a chance to have fun and spend quality time together. For ‘Alex’ this meant going to the beach every day and having fun with his brothers and sisters. For Mum loved seeing the kids playing and having fun and got some well-earned respite from her caring role. "The holiday has been great for us, the kids loved the beach and we have built lots of happy memories together."
120 carers will have will have more opportunities to enjoy a life outside of their caring role.
111 carers were provided with 1 weeks respite holiday in Craig Tara in Ayr . 111 carers were provided with FREE entertainment complex passes and discount cards.
‘Angela’ applied for a week long holiday with Caravan Project because she was needing a break from the stresses and strains of life. Caring for her son who had autism, she rarely had any time to herself and wanted to enjoy a family break. Our Caravans hold up to 6 people and this enabled Angela to bring her Mum and Dad on the holiday as well for some additional support. "It was a great chance to spend some quality time with my family after a stressful few years. My son tried new things and has come away with lots of happy memories. I got to unwind and enjoy some great bonding time with him. The fact I could take my parents along was nice as it meant I actually got some time to myself for what felt the first time in ages. Simple things such as going for a coffee or taking a walk to the beach by myself for an hour made such a difference. I feel refreshed for the first time in years!"