Disability Respite Holiday Programme
A story by Drumchapel Caravan Project 'The Caravan Project'
The Caravan Project Disability Respite Holiday Programme provided young people people (under 20) with disabilities and their carers from the most deprived 15% datazones in Glasgow with access to week-long respite holiday at Craig Tara in Ayr .
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.
The Coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic and resultant lockdown forced us to change our delivery plans for 2020/21. Following government advice, Haven holidays closed its Caravan Parks and did not reopen until late July 2020 which prevented us from delivering any of our holidays until 1st August 2020.
To give us the best chance of delivering on our targets we gave priority for all available holidays to young people with disabilities and their carers. This approach was successful and allowed us to provide 121 people included 62 Carers and 43 young people with disabilities a week-long respite break at our caravans in Craig Tara.
We implemented a number of new operating procedures to ensure the safety of our customers including:
During the months of August- October 2020 were not able to provide FREE transport to our customers due to issues with social distancing. Our Caravans were provided with COVID Level cleans between stays by local professional cleaning company. All customers were provided with pre-travel information about coronavirus and how to prevent the spread of it.
Any customers within most at risk categories advised not to travel. (Customers offered full refund or postponement until 2021). Caravans had increased signage, hand sanitiser, wipes and surface sprays encouraging regular hand washing and provided procedures on how to deal with someone in their group taking ill on holiday.
Our city wide network of around 40 volunteer Caravan ‘Reps’ based in partner projects were crucial in helping to identify suitable families. Our reps played a key role in identifying deserving individuals and providing them support through each step of the application.
What Drumchapel Caravan Project 'The Caravan Project' has learned
2020 has been such a unique year in so many ways and it has taught us a lot about ourselves and our customers:
The lockdown has had a profound effect on people living in areas of deprivation with a number of our customers telling us that it has really impacted on their mental health. Our customers viewed the holiday as an opportunity to distress and recharge their batteries after a very difficult year.
The measures we implemented were successful and prevented any COVID outbreaks at our Caravans. Our customers were reassured by the measures we implemented including COVID Level cleans, free hand sanitiser etc. and this let them relax and enjoy the break more.
Although we managed to help 121 people have a break, a large number of people who would have benefitted were still unable to due to shielding and COVID concerns. We expect that it may take until mid to late 2021 until these people will feel confident to go on a break. This must be placing a huge strain on the family unit of young people with disabilities. We are expecting a huge increase in demand to follow the wide distribution of a vaccine in 2021.
How Drumchapel Caravan Project 'The Caravan Project' has benefitted from the funding
When we set out 3 years ago to create a dedicated disability respite programme we knew we would have to develop our capacity and capability for delivering successful breaks for young people with disabilities and there carers. We now have improved access through the installing disabled access ramps and the creation of Scotland's first sensory caravans (will be launched in 2021) but have also grown as an organisation. We better understand the needs of disabled young people and their carers and have built a much stronger network of referral partners who did not know us before we commenced this programme. We are still learning about the impact of COVID19 on our customers. We believe many will take time to feel confident enough to go on holiday again. We plan to hold online interviews, create case studies and questionnaires to better understand how people will adapt to the new norm and how this will impact on the service we provide.
45 children and young people will have made had fun, developed friendships and do activities they enjoyed.
43 Children and young people with disabilities were provided with FREE entertainment complex passes, providing access to pool, children’s play area, golf course etc. 43 children and young people with disabilities were provided with a discount card providing 50% off all paid-for sports and leisure activities. COVID19 lockdown prevented delivery of 3 weeks planned delivery during the month of March 2021 which would have seen us beat our target comfortably. However for the 43 young people who did get a break they enjoyed a wide range of activities onsite. from our evaluation the beach, swimming pool and outdoor play areas remain the most popular activities for the young people.
‘Scott’ who has Asperger’s had a really difficult year in 2020. COVID19 stopped him mixing with his friends at school, playing with his cousins or taking part in the activities he enjoyed. His Gran looked after him but she also cared her own husband who had severe mental health issues and needed with a number of daily tasks. Life was tough for the family and they decided to apply for holiday to give everyone a much needed break. Scott was so excited when his gran announced they were going on holiday to the seaside! He was so looking forward to playing on the beach and in the swimming pool. Once they arrived, Scott was able to take part in a wide range of new activities including archery classes and sedge ways. His Gran signed him up using her discount card provided by the Caravan Project which got her 50% of the costs. For the family it was an opportunity to have fun after a difficult year where COVID19 had robbed Scott of so much. For Gran, she got see her grandchild having fun while also enjoyed a well- earned break from her caring role. 'We are so grateful for the opportunity it was great!' ‘The holiday took the stresses away of everyday life. The last few weeks have been very hard due to covid19. The kids missed out on the majority of their summer experiences due to lockdown. We made many new memories. We left feeling happy and thankful for the opportunity. ‘
45 children and young people with disabilities and 70 carers will have improved wellbeing.
43 children and young people with disabilities and 62 Carers were provided with a week-long respite holiday. COVID19 lockdown prevented delivery of 3 weeks planned delivery during the month of March 2021 which would have seen us beat our target.
'Carol' applied for a holiday after a difficult year which had greatly impacted on her families wellbeing. 'Our family has had a tough year with two house moves and numerous medical appointments, the diagnosis of the children with ASD, one whom has been given a wheelchair due to safety concerns and another child who is still to be assessed. I have recently had to leave work in order to care for the children whilst my husband copes with the pressure of an honours year at university and the terminal illness of his mother. This break has given us the opportunity to leave our stresses behind. Our youngest has for the first time had a safe secure outdoor space in which to play. All three children have taken part in activities onsite they have never previously had the opportunity to experience. The children have been more relaxed than they have been in months and have loved every moment and opportunity. The family as a unit has spent more time together than for a long time, finding ways to have fun bringing us closer together and providing a clarity for how simple things have more importance than any in providing a loving, caring family relationship.'
70 Carers of disabled children and young people (aged 20 and under) will have more opportunities to enjoy a life outside of their caring role.
62 Carers of disabled children and young people (aged 20 and under) had more opportunities to enjoy a life outside of their caring role. 62 carers were provided with FREE entertainment complex passes and discount cards.
‘Lynsey’ had suffered what she described as a ‘nightmare year’ in 2019. Her mother in law had been diagnosed with cancer while her 3 children were undergoing assessment for Autism. Their youngest child youngest was non communicative and had delayed development. Her best friend who had been of great support to her in her caring role had passed away and this left her struggling to cope with the loss. To make matters worse they had been living in homeless accommodation after having their house repossessed but had recently managed to secure a new permanent tenancy. They applied to the Caravan Project for a holiday and were awarded a week long holiday at one of our Caravans at Craig Tara. The break would provide Lyndsey and her husband a chance to spend quality time as a family and to chance have some fun and have a break from their everyday caring role. While on holiday Lynsey and her husband would be able to make use of the discount cards, entertainment passes, cafes and restaurant's to enjoy some relaxation time while also enjoying quality time as a family. ‘We felt that the holiday away was of great benefit’. The holiday had a hugely positive impact on the whole family. It felt like we were able to leave our troubles at home for that week and the children had a ball. ‘We then felt more able to deal with everything when we returned from our holiday’ said ‘Lynsey’.