Disability Respite Programme
A story by Drumchapel Caravan Project - trading as ‘Caravan Project’
The Caravan Projects Disability Respite Holiday Programme provides 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 Programme did
Fitting with the Better Breaks priority of diversity, we specifically target 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 week long respite holidays to 193 people as part of the shared Care Scotland funded programme, including 122 Carers and 71 young people with disabilities. In addition the participants were provided with the following:
• A free food hamper, reducing the cost of the holiday whilst encouraging families to eat more healthily whilst on holiday;
• Free entertainment complex passes, providing access to the show bar, family bar, pool, children’s play area, golf course and more;
• A discount card providing 50% off all paid-for activities on site and 15% off all other purchases on site.
• FREE National Trust for Scotland Passes providing free entry to nearby Robert Burns Museum and Culzean Castle.
Key aspects of success this year was:
• As we did in previous years, over 50% of summer and October school holidays were allocated specifically to young people with disabilities and their carers.
• We created 2 dedicated weeks for Carers which provided carers with a week- long 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. These relationships are crucial when targeting hard to reach participants and helping them work through some of the barriers they face to aqccessing a break.
What Drumchapel Caravan Project - trading as ‘Caravan Project’ has learned
Delivering this programme in 2022 has been considerably easier than the previous 2 years due to a return to relative normality following 2 years of COVID19 lockdowns. However, we still faced the following challenges:
Track & Trace
Haven have continued to ask that all guests are registered with their online system prior to entering the park. This involved us contacting customers before their holiday to double check details including car registration plates etc. to register prior to their visit.
Although steps have been taken to streamline our internal processes it still continues to add a significant amount of work onto our team. The biggest issue continues to be customers adding in extra guests at short notice requiring staff to register guests out with normal office hours (Late evening, early morning). To try and prevent this from happening we have introduced a phone call to customers the day before their holidays to double check all information is correct and remind them of the process to follow. This has had a positive impact however we will continue to monitor and refine our systems ahead of the 2023 season.
We were informed shortly before the start of the 2022 season that our Ayr based cleaning contractor MAXXCLEAN was not going to be able to fulfil their contract due to a lack of available staff. This placed us in a difficult position as with only 2 weeks until the start of the season to find a suitable alternative.
We fortunately secured the services of a Glasgow based cleaner who had experience of cleaning Caravans at Craig Tara in time for the start of the season. Having a cleaner based near our office has helped in a number of ways by enabling us to:
• Drop off cleaning materials / food packs / spare bedding etc or Caravans with cleaner cutting down on travel costs
• Communicate better regarding repairs & issues arising from guest stays
With our Saturday attendant Paul moving on this year due to work commitments we have decided to amend our systems for 2023 by creating a new ‘house Keeping’ team. This team of will oversee all aspects of preparing the Caravans prior to customers arriving including:
• Fruit & vegetable packs
• Safety Checks & Reporting faults
• Checking ins
We believe the new system will improve the customer experience and reduce the workload for our office based staff.
COVID19 concerns meant that we continued to freeze usage of our free minibus service for the whole of the 2022 season. We made this decision after discussion with our driver and due to factors such as increased fuel costs, increased hire costs, caravan cleaning costs (only arisen since COVID). This has not proved to be a major issue for clients but we will make a decision on whether this service will return in 2023 over the next couple of months.
How Drumchapel Caravan Project - trading as ‘Caravan Project’ has benefitted from the funding
When we set out 5 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 of a disabled access ramp and purchasing of sensory equipment for caravans. 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. As an organisation we are always keen to develop our knowledge and continue to develop our understanding. Our Manager has recently attended training on understanding Autism and we continue to seek our customer’s feedback on how we can better meet the needs of young people and children with disabilities and their carers.
60 children and young people will have made had fun, developed friendships and do activities they enjoyed.
71 children and young people with disabilities were provided with FREE entertainment complex passes, providing access to pool, children’s play area, golf course etc. 71 children and young people with disabilities were provided with a discount card providing 50% off all paid-for sports and leisure activities. The Haven Craig Tara site has a wide range of activities for young people and families. Having access to activities for FREE or at a discounted rate prevents barriers and ensures a high uptake. Many young people take part in activities for the first time on our breaks and feedback from carers suggest this is key component of the success of our holidays.
'Mary' applied for a one week respite break in order to spend quality time with her daughter who had been diagnosed with autism and was awarded a holiday in August 2022. The holiday provided her daugther with an opportunity to take part in a range of activities she didnt get to do at home including swimming, going to the beach and playing the arcades. 'It had a huge impact on development within my child's disability issues. Being able to get my child outdoors which has been a great issue. This break has helped that and develop her sensory skills and has also said some words. Due to family stress and recent pressures, it has helped us bond and also helped my daughter overcome a lot of issues and be around other kids and helped develop her in a lot of areas, has been an amazing help.'
120 carers will have will have more opportunities to enjoy a life outside of their caring role.
122 carers were provided with a 1 week respite holiday in Craig Tara in Ayr. 122 carers were provided with FREE entertainment complex passes, providing access to pool, children’s play area, golf course etc.
'Jane' had been struggling with the pressures of life and was determined to try and get a break from her everyday caring role.She phoned the Caravan project and was awarded a break in September 2022. 'I feel like myself again, for the first time in years! My mind is clear and I'm relaxed again. The weather was amazing which helped, but even without that, this break has helped me immensly and I am so thankful you gave me this opportunity. It's had a massive impact on my family and I, from the start I've always said this was for my benefit, and I'm doing what I want, and I did it. I know when I return to my life, I will be in a better place because of the holiday. Thank you for this, every one of you, What an incredible thing to do. My advice would be to grasp this chance if you can, the caravan is lovely, warm, cosy and fully kitted out, the park is brilliant, especially for children and the beach is stunning. It's a perfect way to get away from everything'
60 children and young people with disabilities and 120 carers will have improved wellbeing
71 children and young people with disabilities and 122 carers have improved wellbeing. We know from delivery of this programme over the last 5 years the impact a break can have on the families who participate. giving families the chance of a break and an opportunity to create fun happy memories has a huge impact on a wide range of outcomes including: *Ability to cope with their circumstances *Help broaden their horizons *Providing a renewed Sense of optimism *Helping raise aspirations for the future
'John' had been struggling with his caring role. Living in the city's Drumchapel area, money was tight and his two disabled children were struggling with their welbeing. The holiday would provide an opportunity recharge and gain a new sense of optimism. 'Holiday has been amazing getting to spend quality time with my family, getting away from home, I suffer sever anxiety -panic attacks and coming on this short break has been everything and more to myself and my family. My kids have loved the freedom and i can see a huge difference in them. We appreciate this opportunity and getting to make amazing memories together so thank you so much!