Hand in Hand
A story by Girvan Youth Trust
We delivered Hand in Hand an Inclusion Project for young people with Learning Disabilities living within Girvan and the surrounding villages. We provide social and developmental activities and opportunities in a variety of settings.
What Hand in Hand did
The short break activities we delivered, included social clubs, trips and adventure residentials' one to one support, lunch and after school clubs, an up-cycling group, a parent hub and Project SEARCH. The clubs we run take place weekly, within the Z1 Youth Bar in Girvan, a modern multi-functional youth facility which incorporates 2 lounge bars, coffee shop, kitchen and art room.
Local young people with learning disabilities and peer buddies participated in the activities provided. Many of the young people have been involved with the Hand in Hand Project for a number of years. Other young people have been identified through our work within the local schools and community. Whilst the young people were participating in our activities, carers used their time as an opportunity to spend quality time with other family members and to do activities they enjoy.
We also launched a new weekly Parent Drop-in offering parents peer support. The Hand in Hand Project has developed within the last year, increasing our provision from 1 to 2 club nights per week. One for a Senior Group aged 17 to 24 and a Junior Group for age 11 to 16 years old, this in turn has provided more opportunities for more young people with Learning Disabilities.
Hand in Hand directly addressed the following priorities, Sports & Active Leisure, young people are take part in organised activities, including Adventure Residentials. Some of the young people, through the support of Hand in Hand now attend local dance groups, sport and music clubs.
Independence, It has been evident time and time again that the Hand in Hand setting has played a vital part in allowing young people with Learning Disabilities to enjoy a social life and make friends. We provide activities and opportunities to build the young peoples’ confidence; to develop their life skills and allow them to work and think independently providing them with tools to take control of their own lives.
Transition to Adulthood, We offered one to one support providing life skills that help young people transition to adulthood. Diversity, we provided opportunities at no cost, allowing all young people the chance to access our service
What Girvan Youth Trust has learned
Reaching out to and engaging with new families, Developing new short break activities and partnership working.
How Girvan Youth Trust has benefitted from the funding
The Better Breaks funding helped us to expand our services to a new group.
Young people will have consistently attended the activities that Hand in Hand provide throughout the year. The young people will have ownership of the project by making decisions about the activities they will be taking part in.
Young people had more opportunities to take part in activities through the creation of new groups within the Hand in Hand Project, specifically the Hand in Hand Junior Group which was launched in 2019. The group takes place on a Friday evening and 17 young people have participated. When the group began consultations took place with the young people to discuss the activities and trips they wanted to be part of their programme.
A young person who attends our new Hand in Hand Friday night programme first became involved with the Hand in Hand project in 2018 as part of the Primary 7 Transition Group. This young person had a very challenging time at Primary School and didn’t have friends, finding it very difficult to socialise with people his own age. The Primary School referred the young person to us as they thought it would be beneficial for him to get involved with other young people and build social relationships. The young person attended the group every week and built up really positive relationships with his peers and staff. Through these opportunities he started getting more involved within community groups and projects, which mum said has really changed his behaviour at home and also in school. The young person is now in first year at the local Secondary School and through conversations with the Support and Wellbeing Department, it was agreed that he would start attending Z1 on a One to One basis. The young person has recently been diagnosed with ADHD and as a result can sometimes find the school setting very overwhelming and this can cause him to display challenging behaviours. Through the one to one work and his participation in group activities such as the Friday night programme, he has developed strategies to manage his behaviours when he is feeling overwhelmed in order to prevent challenging behaviours from occurring. Mum has commented on how much more relaxed the young person is and how he is now more able to manage his emotions. As a result he now has a social life, whereas before he would stay in his room and play his X-box all day on his own. Mum feels the Friday night group and one to one sessions have played a key part in achieving these changes in her sons life.
Parents and Carers will have increased well-being.
At this time we support 9 young people on a one to one basis, these are young people who are very isolated and find it hard to mix with their peers. The work we are achieving with these young people is being praised by their Parents/Carers who prior to our involvement were very concerned about the lack of support their children were receiving. By receiving respite and support through our services parents/carers will experience increased well-being.
The Hand in Hand project has had a positive impact on many lives of the young people and families we support. This is one example of how the project has created positive changes for our young people. Like many young people who attend our project, this young person was very quiet and didn’t have much confidence at the beginning. Hand in Hand has provided her with a nurturing environment in order to build and develop her confidence while engaging in a programme of different projects and activities. The young person regularly attends the Hand in Hand Friday night group and as a result has been part of a weekend residential to the Calvert Trust in the Lake District with 7 of her peers. The Friday night group was set up at the beginning of March, for young people aged 12 to 16 years with additional support needs, those who are socially isolated and find it difficult to cope in large group settings. At present, there are 17 young people who attend this club. The young person has commented on how this club gives her time out of the household where she can come along, chill out and socialise with her peers without her younger siblings. Her younger siblings have always been involved in any previous clubs she attended. The young person is also part of our Upcycling project held in the Z1 Youth Bar which is run on a weekly basis in partnership with Girvan Academy. Within the group, she has worked with her peers on various pieces of furniture from our charity shop; to wax, polish, paint, stain and give the furniture a new lease of life. This project was set up as a social enterprise, encouraging the young people to work as a team to raise money from the items they up cycle. The young person has attended this group faithfully from the beginning and has shown great improvements throughout. Her confidence has blossomed and she is now engaging very positively with the boys in her class that she wouldn’t speak to previously. Her mother attends our recently established Parent Network Group and has highlighted the difference the project has made to her daughter and the family.
Carers will have built up and sustained supportive relationships with each other through the Parent Network Group
The weekly Parent Drop-in was launched in February 2019 with 9 parents/carers attending. We are developing this project to include regular workshops and guest speakers with the aim to increase numbers and gel the group.
One parent first became involved with Girvan Youth Trust through volunteering at our local charity shop. Through this connection the parent was able to chat with a member of staff regarding her concerns about her daughter being very isolated with no friendship group. This resulted in the Hand in Hand Project providing person centred one to one support in a social setting for her daughter. The aim of this support was to improve the young persons self esteem and confidence to a level that she would feel confident in joining and participating in our weekly youth club. It was during this time that we launched the Parent Drop-in which the parent has attended consistently. She has expressed that the drop-in gives her the chance to speak to others about her concerns and it offers her the peer support that she has previously never experienced.