A story by Renfrewshire Carers Centre
We provided fun activities during school holidays benefiting children with disabilities with a stimulating environment while carers get peer support or a total break from their caring role.
This helped provide respite to working/stressed parents enabling children to be involved in their community.
What Holiday Fun did
The project provided 4 outings throughout the school holidays and a trip to the pantomime at Christmas. 10th July – Heads of Ayr, 7th July – Sea Life Centre
24th July – Vikingsar in Largs, 31st July – Blair Drummond Safari Park, 28th December – Snow Queen Pantomime at Paisley Arts Centre, Parent Carers, Young Carers and children/young people with disabilities that accessed the project were all identified through advertising on Centre web page, Facebook, by writing to all parent carers who are on our mailing list.
We also contacted local schools/nurseries for children/young people with additional needs who put a letter in each student’s bag detailing the trips and how to access them. Direct respite-Short break activities: We have supported the summer trips and also provided individual day trips and half day respite supports within the community. Children have attended various social activities of their chose and introduced to new groups, allowing the Carers breaks. 39 carers and 22 children benefited from this, in total 150 carers of which 120 adult carers, 30 Young Carers and 85 children with disabilities many of whom have complex conditions
What Renfrewshire Carers Centre has learned
Parent carers are one of the most financially and socially deprived groups in society, due to financial constraints and caring for a child/children with complex needs, who may be wheelchair users. These carers cannot manage to go on day trips on their own; they cannot access suitable transport and are unable to manage without assistance.
The funding from Better Breaks has enabled parent carers/ new parent carers and their family’s access to day trips during the summer and a Pantomime at Christmas time. This venture also supports the personalisation agenda, providing opportunities for carers, children and young people they care for, helping their emotional and physical wellbeing, while helping increase confidence and promote social inclusion
How Renfrewshire Carers Centre has benefitted from the funding
The funding has enabled us to make better links with schools for children with additional support needs. It has been a very positive piece of work enabling the Centre to get good publicity and enabling us to reach new carers and let parents carers know about all the different services we offer to parents carers- many of them have now joined our support groups, attended training and received emotional support
Children and young people with disabilities (aged 20 and under) will have more opportunities to have fun, develop friendships and take part in activities
85 children and young people had the opportunity to participate in 3 outings and/or go on outings to enable parents to work or time out, the trips organised to Heads of Ayr, Sea Life Centre, Vikingsar in Largs, Blair Drummond Safari Park and the Snow Queen Pantomime at Paisley Arts Centre. Staff provided respite by either taking the young person to the trips to give the carer a break or enable them to get to work and provide activities within the community.
Sandra is a parent Carer who looks after her son Robert who has ADHD, learning disability, Challenging behaviour and is on the ASD spectrum. Sandra’s first contacted the Centre was due to the school letter in her son’s bag. We had contacted local schools for young people with additional needs who had let Sandra know about the outing were having during the summer holiday. Sandra’s mum had just had a stroke and had moved in with Sandra and Robert as her mum could no longer live on her own as her mobility had deteriorated. Sandra knew that her mum was going to need one to one care over the coming months which meant that Sandra wouldn’t be able to take Robert out on day trips during the holidays and would need to stay at home. The summer holiday looked very bleak for Robert, it didn’t look like he would get out of the house at all over the summer as he can’t go out on his own even to play. The thought of facing the school holidays without support with Robert and taking mum to hospital appointments was having an effect on my mental health and my anxieties were through the roof. I contacted the Centre after receiving the information, and couldn’t believe that Robert would actually get to enjoy the trips and have some fun and I could get a few hours to myself. Robert being included in these trips has helped him to access some fun and happy times without the trips Robert would have been very isolated if these trips were not available. Without these trips, he would not be able to experience the same as other children and young people. Sandra was offered 3 trips over the summer for Robert with the help of a respite worker to accompany him. Since the trips Sandra’s mum’s health has improved and with the help of physio and speech therapist, she has managed to regain a lot of her mobility. Sandra has also started to attend Parents Support Group meetings and has met other parent Carers. She has become friends not only at the groups, but keeps in touch on Facebook. Sandra and Robert also attended the Pantomime at Christmas together and had a great time, ‘Robert had a fabulous time at the outings in the summer, Robert often misses out on social activities as his outburst can be quite extreme at times as people for the majority of the times don’t understand unseen disabilities and often judge us. However, to actually spend some quality time with Robert at the Panto and meet some of the lovely people he met on the summer trips was excellent. We actually both managed to make friends because of the trips – Thank You’
Carers of children and young people with disabilities (aged 20 and under) will have more opportunities to enjoy a life outside of their caring role 4 outings and panto provided to 150 carers and 85 young people with disabilities 39 carers and 22 children benefited from 517 hours of respite.
85 children and young people had the opportunity to participate in 3 outings and/or go on outings to enable parents to work or time out, Trips organised to Heads of Ayr, Sea Life Centre, Vikingsar in Largs, Blair Drummond Safari Park and the Snow Queen Pantomime at Paisley Arts Centre Staff provided respite by either taking the young person to the trips to give the carer a break or enable them to get to work and provide activities within the community, This was provided to 39 carers for 22 children through 517 hours of respite
Our staff supported this child to re-engage with their local community following a period of anxiety about leaving the family home; supporting the Carer to receive respite during school holidays and building confidence on the child. Our staff member was matched to the child due to their shared love of computer games, comics and animals. The friendship that developed resulted in the child to feeling secure to go for local dog walks and this developed into the staff member and child visiting a local comic store on a regular basis. This careful and planned outings have enabled the young person to feel more confident going outside the home and enabled the carer to take part in more opportunities and have a like outside of caring
Carers of children and young people with disabilities (aged 20 and under) will feel better supported to sustain their caring role
85 children and young people had the opportunity to participate in 3 outings and/or go on outings to enable parents to work or time out, trips organised to Heads of Ayr, Sea Life Centre, Vikingsar in Largs, Blair Drummond Safari Park and the Snow Queen Pantomime at Paisley Arts Centre Staff provided respite by either taking the young person to the trips to give the carer a break or enable them to get to work and provide activities within the community, This was provided to 39 carers for 22 children through 517 hours of respite Parent carers offer one another peer support and felt less stressed.
Anna is a Parent Carer who has 2 children, one who has downs syndrome and the other who is on the ASD spectrum. 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. Anna was a bit apprehensive to contact the Centre as both Anna and her husband work. Anna thought that she wouldn’t be eligible to attend the trips as both her and her husband work. ‘ This is the first time my children have been included, they miss out on a lot because we both work, we don’t usually meet organisations criteria , I was delighted when we were told that we could go, you have no idea what that meant to my family, To be given the chance to socialise and mix with other children out of school and my husband and I got to meet other parents’. ‘This was invaluable to actually be with other parents who actually get your situation’. Since Anna attended the outings she has attended workshops arranged by our Training project on Autism Spectrum Disorder sensory issues and challenging behaviour. Anna and her husband have since attended the parents support group of children with disabilities at the Carers Centre on a regular basis and came along and enjoyed our social evening meeting up with other parent carers and having something to eat. ‘Coming along to the trips gave us the opportunity to meet lovely people who are now our friends’ These trips have given parent Carers and their children the chance to try out new activities while being supported by staff volunteers and other Parent Carers. This funding has provided positive outcomes for Parent Carers and those children and young people they care for equally, improving their quality of life, opportunities and well- being. The peers support she received from other parents at that first outing has greatly benefited the carer as caring for a children with a disability can be extremely exhausting and draining- this has enabled her to feel better supported to enable her to sustain her caring role These trips have been an enormous benefit to the entire family by enabling parents like Anna to see they are not alone in their caring role.