Family Breaks Project
A story by Inverclyde Carers Centre
Inverclyde Carers Centre Family Breaks Project aimed to provide 100 family outings for Carers of Children in Inverclyde, and to employ a Carer Support Assistant for 6 months, to identify, plan and publicise the benefits these breaks and others brought.
What Family Breaks Project did
97 families benefited from 5 group outings during the year to Blair Drummond Safari Park, Heads of Ayr, Greenock Cinema, Glasgow Science Centre and Sea Life Centre.
We involved Carers of Children/Young People with additional support needs in the planning of group activities and outings by bringing them together to plan and evaluate group activities and outings and contribute through 1-1 discussion with Family Breaks Co-coordinator or online.
Digital communication featured strongly throughout the project. We maximised our database and were able to run reports to identify eligible carers and target communications for consultation, informing and organising.
Each activity was evaluated and feedback was extremely positive and information used to improve future activities. An example being, one Carer said they felt lonely. This led to us enlisting the help of our Befriending Project Volunteers for outings to Glasgow Science Centre and Sea Life Centre activities.
Two volunteers proved invaluable, helping with the transport and mingling with Carers, talking to those that could be feeling lonely and leading a rendition of Happy Birthday to one of the children.
The project directly addressed independence by providing opportunities for children/young people to visit places of interest with the support of their families. It also provided lived experience which could be reflected on in considering future alternative breaks and SDS options. A variety of outings were planned to meet the needs of participants, including under 5’s.
Parent Carer involvement was less than possible which we feel reflects local demographics and we encouraged carers to bring another person along to support them on the day. A very small number of carers were not able to travel by bus and we arranged accessible taxis for them.
The finale planned for the end of the project was cancelled due to Corona-virus pandemic.
What Inverclyde Carers Centre has learned
Logistical planning for high attendance outings
Dealing with last minute requests for accessible transport
The value in preparing evaluation activities which can be easily undertaken whilst returning from activities
How Inverclyde Carers Centre has benefitted from the funding
Funding enabled us to strengthen the organisations reputation with families and raise their awareness of the other support we provide. It also enabled us to build the skills and experience of one of our staff thus increasing the capacity of the organisation.
100 Children and young people, with additional support needs will have more opportunities to take part in outings and activities which are fun, stimulating and rewarding.
After each outing we asked, has the family day out let you make positive memories? 137 of 139 respondents answered yes. The following quotes are just a sample of those received. “Definitely. After the tough year we have had it’s been lovely to make some happy memories with my children.” “Any outings we have, we tend to make the photos into photobook to keep and look back on.” “It was the children’s first time at the Sea Life Centre and they had a fantastic time.” We also asked, did the family day out let you have a fun time with your family? 136 of 138 respondents answered yes. The following quotes are just a sample of those received. “Wonderful that we could receive tickets for all family members.” “Was lovely to enjoy a night at the movies, not something we do often as it can become expensive.”
GS Cares for his 7-year-old son, who has Autism, ADHD and Asthma. GS is registered with the centre and accessed the Family Outing to the Glasgow Science Centre and also the family outing to Heads of Ayr GS requested places for the science centre family outing, with his son and partner, a registered Carer after receiving an email the Family Breaks Co-coordinator sent to all Carers of children. GS was successful in his application for him and his family. Participating in this outing clearly met the intended outcome, children and young people, with additional support needs will have more opportunities to take part in outings and activities which are fun, stimulating and rewarding. This is evidenced by the quote provided by the Carer. “This outing has allowed us some crucial family time for us all together, as it’s not always easy with me working full-time, and also it’s not easy for me financially as the sole provider in the house. The whole family has experienced fun new activities which we will always remember. We have taken loads of photos to let us look back and reflect on the positive memories of the day."
At least 100 Carers will have more opportunities to live a life outside of caring.
After each outing we asked, did the family day let you and your family enjoy quality time together? 121 of 139 respondents answered yes. The following quote is just one of many similar received. “My boys were excited by being in a bus which we don’t normally do as we travel everywhere by car. My son was particularly excited about being up high and he could see over to the airport as the bus is higher than the car.”
CG is a Carer for her 6 year old son who has Autism. CG also has another child. CG has been is registered with the centre and CG is also a fulltime student at Strathclyde University. CG in her time since registering with the centre the Carer has accessed the STV summer appeal, Christmas Pantomime, Time to Live and Carers Passport. CG applied to come to Family Outing Planning Group after receiving email. CG participated in both planning group sessions, expressing her ideas and thoughts on where the family outing should be and why. CG then applied to go on the family outing with both her children, to Blair Drummond and was successful in her application. CG felt the outing allowed her and her family to experience something she would not usually be able to afford. CG felt the highlight of the outing was being able to relax and not stress or worry about driving to the park and getting back home. CG also noted the outing allowed her and her children to meet other families in Caring situation.
At least 100 Carers will feel better supported to sustain their caring role.
After each outing we asked, has the family day let you meet other people in similar positions as yourself? 120 of 139 respondents answered yes. The following quotes are just a sample of those received. “My son just feels involved and not different for a change.” “I didn’t realise there were so many carers in Inverclyde. It was nice to know I’m not alone.” “Was lovely to meet new people that understood what the other families are going through.” We also asked, has the family day enabled you to build any friendships? 69 of 141 respondents answered yes. The following quotes are just a sample of those received. “Met a lovely family that live local and child had similar problems like my daughter.” “No, brought 5 of us together – doesn't happen at home.” “Catching up with families from last trip to science centre."
GS Cares for his 7-year-old son, who has Autism, ADHD and Asthma. GS accessed the Family Outing to the Glasgow Science Centre and also the family outing to Heads of Ayr GS requested places for the science centre family outing, with his son and partner, a registered Carer after receiving an email the Family Breaks Co-coordinator sent to all Carers of children. GS was successful in his application for him and his family. Participating in this outing clearly met the intended outcome that Carers will feel better supported to sustain their caring role. This is evidenced by the quote provided by the Carer “We broke for lunch together as one big group which was ideal, as meant we were sitting with other carers and their families similar to ourselves. We felt less judged as they know what it is like to care for a demanding child. We also made friends with several other Carers in similar circumstances to ourselves.”