Dundee Activity Club
A story by Cornerstone
Our Dundee Activity Club runs five times a week for children with multiple support needs, the age range is from 1 to 19 years.
We offer various indoor and outdoor activities such as baking, sensory and messy play, arts and crafts and generally having fun.
The children have fun and develop friendships. This enables their parents and carers to enjoying a break from their caring role.
What Dundee Activity Club did
The Dundee Activity Club is run by staff who work on a rotational basis. We have 10 trained staff and 11 volunteers, 3 new volunteers were recruited this year, through our volunteer co-ordinator who is based in our Dundee Office.
Staff and volunteers adapt to the needs of the individual children and young people who attend the sessions. This ensures the children's needs are met and they have a safe environment to be themselves. Providing regular sessions gives parents and carers a reliable and consistent period of respite enabling them to continue their caring role.
Parents and carers have the confidence in the support their children receive by the fully trained staff team. They also know that while their children's individual support needs are catered for, the emphasis is on fun and play. The children and young people are the driving force behind the activities they wish to take part in and the day excursions they want to go on.
We use various communication techniques to ensure that all children and young people have the opportunity to have as much input as they wish. We seek the views and opinions of the children and their family at every opportunity to ensure that the clubs meet their expectations. We continue to adapt and alter the dynamics of each group to ensure that all children and young people enjoy their time at the club, have the opportunity to meet other children with similar interests and abilities so that they can develop friendships.
We receive referrals through families whose child attends the club, from Social Work, Health, Education and other voluntary organisations. We offer 5 sessions including a youth club at times to suit the families which is currently after school and weekends. Another vountary organisation has provided us with a room in their premises which is a valuable resource.
During school holidays we change the evening sessions to during the day as families have told us that this is what they prefer. We also organise day trips and outings which are in addition to the weekly sessions which have included Adventure parks and 'The Yard' We also organise a monthly session where siblings come along and join in the fun.
What Cornerstone has learned
The Short Breaks Fund has enabled us to develop the activity clubs which continue to grow through reputation and recommendations via families to other carers who need a break from their caring role. We have learned that the club has become a valuable resource for children and their families and we are now thinking about the sustainability of the club in the future.
We have found that professionals have been a valuable resource for making referrals to the club on behalf of families and carers who have a child or children with additional support needs who have little or no existing support.
Our current premises will no longer be available to us by the end of 2015. We are in the process of looking for new premises and have spoken to the local authority about the use of the specialist support needs schools with in the Dundee area. We are also looking at other opportunities to work in partnership with sports organisations to enhance the activities we can provide to the children and young people who attend the club.