East Park Active Kids Club
A story by East Park
The project offered a school holiday club over the spring and summer school breaks providing activities for young people who, have multiple support needs including severe/complex learning disabilities and autistic spectrum disorder and attend East Park School
A menu of activities was offered to each young person based on his/her expressed preferences.
What East Park Active Kids Club did
We provided a school holiday club which took place for a week during the school spring break 2014 and then four weeks throughout July 2014. East Park School day pupils were invited to attend the holiday clubs.
During the spring break club over a period of one week 15 young people attended one or two sessions from 9.30 am to 3 pm. During the summer break club over a four week period 15 young people attended six or seven sessions each from 9.30 am-3 pm. Transport with escorts was provided to and from the club.
The project allowed family/carers to use that time as they wished e.g. to relax and re-energise, plan family activities or pursue other interests. No external recruitment was required as term time staff volunteered to cover the sessions. A Club Leader was appointed to manage the project.
The service was based at East Park School. All existing in-house facilities were available for use by the young people. These facilities include:
• Multi-sensory room
• Soft Play room
• Hydro-therapy and recreational pool
• Large internal play area with games equipment
• Multi-purpose room
• Fitness suite/ gym equipment
• Enclosed safe garden and external recreational area including picnic and barbecue area
• Children’s kitchen area for baking and cooking activities
In addition to this a menu of activities was offered to young people.
• Health and fitness sessions
• Beauty sessions
• Cookery sessions
• Drama, music, arts and crafts sessions
• Visits to local museums and art galleries and other places of interest
• Cinema and theatre events.
• Attending local sports activities particularly in relation to the 2014 Commonwealth Games
• Outdoor activities in local Children’s Woods Project and local parks
Some of the above took place on site; however, the majority was in external mainstream venues.
What East Park has learned
We have developed more appreciation of how difficult holiday periods are for families and the lack of support and resources for them.
We have learned that being supported to participate in new appropriately challenging recreational activities has a really positive impact on young people's well-being, confidence and sense of achievement.
We provided escorted transport for our service. Despite careful planning, as the young people were from a wide geographical area this was problematic. We had in a previous year of the project provided shorter sessions for young people however as the result of feedback from families/carers had decided for 2014-2015 to offer full day sessions as this would provide more effective respite for carers.
However we were concerned that due to the distance some young people had to travel at peak traffic times, there were occasions when this resulted in a very long and tiring day for the young person due to travel time. Due to this, in future we would need to carefully reconsider transport arrangements.