A story by Renfrewshire Carers Centre
We provided fun activities and outings during school holidays for children with disabilities, and their siblings and carers.
Carers and siblings were able to enjoy time in a stimulating environment with support from other parents or a total break from their caring role by providing respite to working/stressed parents enabling their children to be involved in community
What Holiday Fun did
The Project delivered 4 summer outings and a Pantomime for families and children with disabilities have taken place over the last year. The trips and pantomime have been very successful with a total of 130 carers of which 83 were Parent Carers and 47 Young Carers. They also supported 82 children with disabilities.
The trip to Five Sisters Zoo saw four buses with over 100 people off for a day out. The trip to Kelburn Country Park was a quieter trip two buses went and 45 people attended. The next trip was a sail to Millport to see Carers and children armed with buckets and spades swimsuits and picnics was a great sight. The weather was glorious- this was another very popular trip.
The final trip of the summer was to Blair Drummond Safari Park and again this was very popular with four buses and over 100 people attending. At Christmas parents and children enjoyed a Pantomime to the SEC were they enjoyed Cinderella performance We have had on-going evaluations from Carers and Children who attended and we have been delighted in the positive response and how beneficial these outing have been to the entire family providing support, fun and respite during the long summer holidays. We only provided 4 trips as the outings were over subscribed so we put additional places on these trips instead and reduced the amount of trips to accommodate.
Respite for families provided 625 hours of respite to 25 carers and 20 children with disabilities. We provided support for day trips our during the summer, supported children to attend art classes on a weekly bass, assisted families during times of poor health and crisis, assisted parent to attend a job interview, provided emotional support to children and their families.
What Renfrewshire Carers Centre has learned
By working in partnership with local schools for additional needs meant we were able to reach out and engaged with 26 new Carers that were not previously known to the Centre. One of the more hard to reach Carers are those who live in rural areas and we managed to exceed what we expected and managed to reach 34 Carers.
An unexpected outcome that came from organising the trips was that more and more Carers and young people were interest shown on trips that involved animals such as (Five Sisters Zoo and Blair Drummond Safari Park).
How Renfrewshire Carers Centre has benefitted from the funding
The Better Breaks funding has enabled us to engage with more parent carers and provide much needed respite to them, which we would have not been able to offer. It also enabled to make good links with the schools in the area. We have gained publicity from advertising the outings etc which promotes the Centre and carers.
The project delivered 4 outings and a Pantomime, In total 82 children and young people with a disability and 47 young carers had the opportunity to participate in 3 outings and/or go on outings to enable parents to have time out.
The Project co-ordinated and delivered 4 outings during the summer holidays for Parent Carers, Young Carers, children with disabilities and their siblings. On the 3rd of July they attended Five Sisters Zoo,11th July, Kelburn Country Park, 25th July Millport and 4th August Blair Drummond Safari Park and on the 15th December a Pantomime to see Cinderella at the SEC in total 83 Adult Carers, 47 young Carers and 82 young people with disabilities benefited from the outings. To ensure that we managed to reach as many Parent Carers that we could to give everyone and equal opportunity of attending the trips. advertised on our social media and in local schools for young people with additional needs in doing so we manged to reach 26 new carers who had never accessed the Centre services before .
Andrea is a parent carer who has 3 children two of them one is on the ASD spectrum and a learning disability the other Cerebral Palsy. The family had never accessed any support from the Carers Centre until these trips were advertised in local school for children/young people with additional needs. Andrea contacted the Centre and arranged to access three trips during the summer. As Andrea was going on her own with the boys, she did not know anyone and felt she would find it difficult to manage them on her own and agreed for one of our volunteers to help on the trips. The first trip was Five Sisters Zoo and the experience provided a positive experience for Andre and the boys. They had never been on outings with other families or ever thought of accepting help or support until now like many parent Carers she felt as a mother it was her responsibility to look after them. Andrea was very nervous on the first trip once she was introduced to the volunteer this put her at ease, she also felt more confident talking to other parent Carers which enabled her to see she was not alone in her caring role. Andrea very quickly formed a friendship with other parent and their family and received enormous support from them. As well as the fun and social inclusion the trips gave her children the opportunity to mix and socialise with other children/young people both disabled and non-disabled. The parent who Andrea met also encouraged her to come along to the Parent Carers of Children with Disabilities Support Group in the Centre where she accessed other services. Andrea said " I am so glad my boys and i came on the trips we met so many lovely people, before the outings I had felt so isolated for so long. I use to dread taking the boys out because of all the disapproving looks from people, they can be so judgemental’ this is one thing you certainly don’t get when you are with other parent Carers, they really understand your situation" The peers support she received from other parents at that first outing has greatly improved her quality of life as caring for a children with a disability can be extremely exhausting and draining. These trips have been an enormous benefit to the entire family by enabling parents like Andrea to see they are not alone in their caring role.
Its recognised that caring responsibilities can also impact on carer's health and well being. Providing support and a chance to take part in outings helped Carers and their families feeling better supported to sustain their caring role through the provision of the breaks and friendships they made.
Offering trips/outing during school holidays, which gives the option for a family outing with support by providing a worker/volunteer to take the children giving the Parent Carers respite is invaluable and can often be a lifeline to Carers. Quite often Parent Carers put their own health and well-being on hold due to the stresses and strains their Caring Role brings. The outings provided positive outcomes for Carers and their children/young people giving them equality improving their quality of life, opportunities and well-being. The Project is of mutual benefit by improving the quality of life for both parties and helped Carers to sustain their caring role.
Caroline is a parent Carer who looks after her Daughter Kayleigh who has ADHD, learning disability, Challenging behaviour and is on the ASD spectrum. Caroline’s first contacted with the Centre was regarding the trips. We had contacted local schools for young people with additional needs who had let Caroline know about the outing were having during the summer holiday and as Caroline was going into hospital for an operation at the end of June, her mother was coming from England to look after Kayleigh until Caroline came home from hospital. Once Caroline got home, she knew that she would not be able to take Kayleigh out anywhere until she recuperated and would not be out of the house for a couple of months. She said "knowing I had this operation in front of me was very daunting, the thought of facing the school holidays without any support was getting me down, I contacted the Centre after receiving the information, and couldn’t believe that Kayleigh would actually get to enjoy the trips and have some fun and I could rest. Kayleigh being included in these trips has helped her access fun and happy times with what would have been a very lonely summer if these trips were not available. Without these trips she would not be able to experience the same as other children and young people." We offered Caroline 3 trips over the summer for Kayleigh with the help of a respite worker to accompany her. Since Caroline’s operation she has started to attend Parents Support Group meetings and has met other parents’ and had become friends not only the groups but also meets up for coffee out with. Caroline and Kayleigh also attended the Pantomime at Christmas together and had a great time, "Kayleigh had a fabulous time at the outings in the summer but to actually spend some quality time with her and meet some of the people she met on the trips was brilliant. I often feel so isolated with lack of support or understanding of her disability Kayleigh often misses out on social activities because of others attitude towards her just because they can’t see her disability"
Many of our Parent Carers often feel isolated and very much on their own and quite often without any help from family or friends which often means they miss out activities that would benefit their families through lack of support.
The outings the project provided had really positive outcomes for Carers, their children and young people they care for especially for those Carers who work during the school holidays which often means their children and young people often miss out. in the past parent often accessed a Play Scheme place which now is limited which means working parents struggle during school holidays particularly if they are working irregular hours, by offering working carers respite through our paid respite enabled carers to continue working or get a break from their caring role whilst their children are being looked after in stimulating environment.
Maryann is a parent carer who looks after her son Johnny who has a learning disability and sensory issues and can often show signs of challenging behaviour. Maryann works part-time in a lawyers office and has to work during school holidays and has no family support as she moved from the East Coast three years ago where all her family and friends stay. Maryann manged to allocated 2 days at her local play scheme during the holidays and Johnny was able to access 3 trips during the summer, holidays. She said " I am so grateful that Johnny was able to access the trips, having someone support Johnny on these trips meant he got to have some quality time mixing with other people and having fun. It also meant I could save some annual leave days to take him away myself" 'its really hard to access supports, I honestly don't know how I would have managed without the support I've received with these trips'