Esslemont Owls and Eagles,Inverurie Rascas and Rogues, Banff Bairns and Buddies
A story by One Parent Families Scotland
We provided after school groups on a fortnightly basis for primary aged children and 12 years plus with additional support needs.
During the holiday periods we also operated play schemes for children aged 4-19 years old in three areas of Aberdeenshire who currently did not have services to offer families this support during holiday periods. Each area offered the children different activities due to the venue being used and the facilities available in each venue.
What Esslemont Owls and Eagles,Inverurie Rascas and Rogues, Banff Bairns and Buddies did
We recruited staff through adverts in local newspapers or by placing posters in different locations. Staff have to have experience of working with children and ideally with children who have Additional Support Needs. Training can be arranged for all staff. Many families have used the groups before and keep in contact with the service to find out what is available for their children. Parents also tell other parents about the groups we operate.
After school sessions are for 2.5 hours and the play scheme is for 5 hour periods. Parents appreciate having some respite during the school holidays as there is nothing else in the areas and use the time to spend with siblings or just have total relaxation from their caring role.
The after school groups operated during the school terms and the play schemes ran during 2 weeks in the Easter holidays x 3 days per week, 4 weeks during the Summer holidays x 3 days and 2 weeks in the October holidays x 3 days except for the groups in Banff as parents wanted the care for 3 days per week during the 6 weeks of the Summer holidays as they felt the Summer period was more difficult.
Groups in Ellon and Inverurie were based in schools but in Banff we used the local Family Centre. Parents told us that during the holiday periods they could visit friends without having to look after their children as their children can find these situations difficult which leads to more stress for them and their children. They could also visit places that their child finds difficult to cope with, spend time with siblings or have a complete break from their caring role.
Having the child in the play scheme during holidays gave the parent time to spend individual time with her other child while her child with Additional Support Needs was safe and enjoying activities that he enjoyed.
They trusted the staff to provide activities for their son which were suitable for him e.g. baking which he clearly loved as he enjoyed making and eating the end product.
What One Parent Families Scotland has learnedHaving funding has allowed staff the opportunity to work with Additional Support Needs children and their families.
It has also allowed them to attend additional training to increase their knowledge and skills of working with Additional Support Needs children. Working with the parents allowed us to get to now the families well so they could approach staff for support or have someone to talk to when things were difficult. Parents were able to pass on information to other families whom they felt would benefit from the respite.