Epilepsy Connections Weekend Break for Families
A story by Epilepsy Connections
We offered families affected by childhood epilepsy a 2-day break away from their usual routine.
We aimed to give 20 children and young people with epilepsy the chance to take part in fun, challenging activities to build their skills and confidence, and to give up to 50 carers, including young carers, the opportunity to meet and share experiences in a safe, supportive environment.
What Epilepsy Connections Weekend Break for Families did
We provided a 2-day break for families at Ardentinny Outdoor Education Centre. Fifteen children and young people with epilepsy attended, along with 38 carers including young carers. We provided transport, accommodation, catering, outdoor adventure activities and entertainment tailored to meet the needs of our group. Children and young people took part in gorge-walking, canoeing, abseiling and archery with their peers. Adults enjoyed sailing, orienteering, archery and canoeing. Families worked together to complete “team challenges”. We also enjoyed a guided night walk, a disco, bingo and an “Ardentinny Champions” awards ceremony.
What Epilepsy Connections has learned
This break gave us the chance to implement last year's learning. We increased the number of staff and volunteers on hand to offer support, and we asked the team at Ardentinny to make the activities more challenging. As a result everyone learned that they are capable of achieving more than they think! We also learned that taking part in challenging activities reduced rather than increased stress levels.
One parent said "“All of the family have benefitted from the EC Ardentinny break. The children have enjoyed all the activities and making friends, me and my husband (who are not your usual “outdoor” types) loved the gorgewalking, climbing and abseiling. Being out in the fresh air, surrounded by beautiful scenery, certainly reduced the stress levels! My own personal challenge was to face up to my lifelong fear of heights, so being able to do the climb and abseil is something to be proud of. The atmosphere was nice and relaxed, and I know my husband liked mixing and chatting with other parents who are also trying to cope with epilepsy in the family.”
The fund enabled us to build on and enhance the work we do throughout the year wtih families affected by childhood epilepsy.