A story by Cosgrove Care
Everyone In2 provided online and buddy support for adults with learning disabilities and their carers. Short breaks, a family day and family forums provide support for carers to connect, build knowledge and get support.
What EveryoneIn2 did
We delivered twice weekly online activities with buddy support for 60 young adults with learning disabilities in three blocks for 10 weeks for 20 young people. We supported 24 young people on short breaks and we held one family day which reached 20 families. The activities took place on-line, at Young Enterprise, Rouken Glen and at our short breaks hub at Barrland Court.
62 young adults participated on the online sessions which covered art, wellbeing, yoga and drama. 24 adults and their families benefitted from the short breaks delivered and a further 20 families participated in the family days. 6 families linked into family forums which helped shape and evaluate the work and provide support to families about local resources.
Carers told us they spent time relaxing, spending time with other family members and shopping. The involvement of local volunteers in delivering activity packs to support the sessions worked well and linking with digital funds to secure kit for people who did not have technology to connect. Connecting a buddy to families helped sort out connection and also allowed for cared for people to have walks, get out and about and give families further support to have a short break.
Securing a local resource for sleepover support allowed for cared for people to be supported locally, securing people carriers to allow for 2m distancing in transport for the duration of EveryoneIn2 allowed greater flexibility, safe access and wider ranges of activities to be presented. Online family forum sessions proved positive and well attended, allowing families to get to know shape activities and get to know each other.
What Cosgrove Care has learned
Project Planning and Budgeting- we have learned during the pandemic that this needs to be dynamic, constantly reviewed and flexible enough to evolve and change as guidance changed. Being able to adjust and respond to individual needs and offer outdoor, safe support as part of the buddy process helped greatly.
Reaching out and Engaging with new families- our partnerships with the HSCP's helped target families most in need. We could then offer other support to these families- food parcels, activity packs and digital support, helping us to sustain and connect them, allowing them to continue in their caring role with not just short breaks but other support.
Finding other sources of funding- we had to secure funding to connect people who are digitally excluded to allow EveryoneIn2 to maximise benefit. This challenged us but we were successful and the ongoing benefits for carers and cared for people have been positive.
How Cosgrove Care has benefitted from the funding
Develop new partnerships- Voluntary Action East Renfrewshire allowed us to connect local volunteers to build capacity and get activity packs out to local families. The organisation used its reputation as a local provider to reach out to people and encourage them to come forward to help local vulnerable people- this was positive in inter generational and community involvement and continues on beyond the more acute phases of the pandemic. We have formed a partnership with Morrisons delivering food parcels to local families in need, many of whom have a disabled adult at home. Creating, developing and expanding the use of outdoor spaces to deliver safe support eg at Rouken Glen Park has been really successful, so too has been our ability to connect with East Renfrewshire Good Causes, the Bellahouston Fund, building further capacity.
Carers who we support through 4 short breaks will have experienced a positive break from their caring role, safe in the knowledge that their family member has had a great and fun holiday. Carers will have more opportunities to enjoy life out with their caring role during online and buddy sessions.
Carers have indicated the benefit on their wellbeing through having a break, particularly as many other supports and services have been cancelled. Carers appreciated the 1:1 safe support through buddies, giving short breaks to re-charge their batteries, confident in the delivery of safe support. Carers benefited from the connections made through online family forums- sharing experiences and shaping future provision. Carers and cared for people experienced improved health and wellbeing as a result of connecting with others and having a break from the cared for person. They achieved opportunities to enjoy life outwith their caring role and indicated the activities they undertook whilst they had their short break which included shopping, spending time with family members, recharging their batteries and seeing friends.
P is a 22 years old lady with autism, learning disability and epilepsy. She lives at home with her mum, dad and younger sibling. During the pandemic, her usual activity and day support programme was cancelled and she was shielding due to complex health care issues. She was isolated from her social circle and her mum and dad were both working from home. Her mental health and behaviour deteriorated, causing challenging behaviour and difficulties for the family in maintaining their jobs and caring responsibilities. EveryoneIn2 connected the family with a buddy and online activities twice per week. This allowed P to connect with friends, participate in online yoga and drama. Her activity pack guided her and through the sessions, giving her parents a break. As the guidelines changed, her buddy took P out for walks, giving the family some much needed respite, allowing them to charge their batteries and also to focus on work and their other family members, They noted an improvement in P's wellbeing which helped sustain the family. We then reinstated regular activities which have allowed the family to continue in their caring role.
Carers will have participated in 3 Family Forums and one Activity Day and will have had opportunities to connect with other families, the wider network of support available to them and have had a say in shaping the activities and supports that are delivered and that they will need into the future.
The Family Forums and Activity Day allowed carers to have a say in what support they needed and also share experiences with other carers and exchange ideas and experiences. The buddy support and links with local volunteers allowed sustained support to families, the creation of local sleepover resources for carers who needed to rebuild confidence as we moved through stages of the pandemic was derived from the sessions. The activity day allowed to build confidence in outdoor spaces for safe delivery of short break activities, helping them re-enter support and reconnect.
A is the mother of two adults with learning disabilities who live at home. She is sole carer to both adult children who have Fragile X syndrome and complex health care needs that require specialist intervention. A had all support stopped during the pandemic, placing considerable pressure on her, with her health deteriorating, she herself became unwell and isolated. A became part of the Family Forum , allowing her to connect with other carers and to help shape supports. This engagement led to mindfulness and wellbeing sessions participation and also A's greater involvement with Cosgrove. She has subsequently become a Trustee of the Charity, using her experience to shape broader strategic direction.