Home Activity Sessions and TOFFEE Club Sessions for Children with Multiple Support Needs
A story by Geeza Break
We delivered TOFFEE Club 5 hour Play Activity Sessions at St Mungo’s Academy, Gallowgate, during school holiday periods and Home Activity Play Sessions for children with multiple support needs which also provides respite for their parents/carers.
What Home Activity Sessions and TOFFEE Club Sessions for Children with Multiple Support Needs did
Due to the pandemic we provided home based activity sessions to 12 children/YP – we have provided more of these to cover for the TOFFEE Club sessions which could not be provided. The Home Activity Respite sessions consisted of 4 hour play activity sessions either indoors or when the weather was fine and restrictions allowed outdoors at local parks. Parents were happy for sessions to be delivered within the family home as often it is more suitable due to specific disabilities.
We also took the children/YP to our community flat which is set up with sensory play equipment. Additionally, we provided families with arts/crafts materials and activity packs. 138 x 4 hour sessions delivered. Carers have enjoyed a few hours to themselves. Sometimes that was just doing household chores or shopping in peace. Some also met up with family and friends or simply had the chance to relax. 1 Carer took a course of yoga classes and 1 Carer was able to undertake training on autism and ADHD via zoom with a local organisation and access a support group to talk to other parents.
The families who received the service mainly self referred. However, some of the families were referred to our service by other local organisations and health visitors. A 1:1 assessment is carried out with each family to ensure what is being offered is tailored to their needs. We ensure that all local organisations and health services and professionals are aware of our services and we promote via leaflets and posters.
Prior to the Home Activity Sessions taking place staff took the time to read up on each child’s condition. Our project addressed the following priorities:-
Complex needs, Sports and active leisure and Independence.
What Geeza Break has learned
The importance of being flexible and the ability to provide Respite Sitting sessions instead of Toffee Club sessions especially during emergency situations was a life line for many families.
The Respite Sessions are tailored to the needs of each family and the respite sitters take time to get to know the child/family and adapt sessions accordingly
Securing funding to enable us to make up arts and crafts bags encouraged the children to be active and engaged outwith the respite sitting sessions. Again these were appreciated by the families as budgets are often tight.
How Geeza Break has benefitted from the funding
The funding enables us to deliver the respite services specifically to families who self-refer. Without this funding we would not be in a position to offer this respite. The funding builds our capacity to offer respite as well as continuing to build our skills and knowledge of dealing with multiple support needs and ensuring the necessary training is delivered. Overall the funding also acts as a catalyst in securing other funding towards the programme.
10 children with disabilities/multiple support needs will have more confidence and improved health and wellbeing by taking part in fun activity sessions
We delivered 138 x 4 hour sessions of fun activity sessions in the home or in our community flat or outdoors in the park which provided 12 children/YP with stimulating activities keeping them active and engaged.
R is 7 and is a double amputee from the knee joint down and is therefore permanently wheelchair bound. Mum self-referred for support as she also has her own health problems and other children to care for and is a single parent. Child R’s father is an inconsistent figure. Home based respite sitting was put in place with lots of activities such as arts and crafts and baking. The respite sitter also took R out to the park in his wheelchair when the weather was good which he loved, especially feeding the ducks. Sessions also took place in the community flat which got R out of his home environment. Both mum and the respite sitter noticed a considerable difference in R’s moods and behaviour since receiving the respite sessions. Below is some feedback from R "I had the best day ever, I had the most fun baking and drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows, I love spending time and doing art activities with the sitter"
15 Carers and 10 children with disabilities/multiple support needs will have visibly improved their overall health and well-being
138 x 4 hour home activity sessions – each carer received approximately 10 x 4 hour periods of respite 14 Carers reported that their stress levels had reduced whilst their child received the Respite Sitting Sessions and overall they had more time to themselves which overall improved their health and wellbeing. Also the 12 children/YP have been able to take part in fun and stimulating activities via the Respite Sitting Sessions and overall have good fun which helped improve their health and wellbeing.
F is parent to 4 children - 2 of the boys have multiple support needs. F was also trying to care for her elderly parents and felt she never had a break. F advised that her youngest 2 were very hard work and extremely destructive and she was finding them a handful especially during lockdown. F self-referred to Geeza Break for support and respite sitting sessions were put in place for the family to enable mum to have some free time and reduce her stress levels and to provide some activities for the 2 younger boys. The sitters planned respite with the 2 children in order to give them the best experiences which included outings to the local park as well as working on their development at home and within the community flat with arts and craft activities, jumping clay, painting, puzzles and baking. F said “I feel it's made me closer to the boys as I recharge my batteries when they are at respite and I can manage them better when they come back. It has been good even to get the shopping done in peace. It has also allowed the boys to play better together and their relationship has improved. The boys are always excited when they return from respite and can’t wait to tell me how much fun they have had. Geeza Break provided me with an invaluable service when I needed it most.”
15 Carers will be have the opportunity to access other community resources or peer support groups during their respite sessions
138 x 4 hour home activity sessions – each carer received approximately 10 x 4 hour periods of respite 14 carers advised that they got peace to clean the house, get shopping done and all carers enjoyed time to themselves to relax and put their feet up. Some carers also got to spend some time with each other
M & husband J were both struggling due to lockdown and the added stress of looking after 2 children, 1 of whom has multiple support needs. M was also receiving mental health support as she was severely depressed and overwhelmed with life’s challenges. The couple were advised to self-refer to Geeza Break for support for their son and some respite for themselves. M gave the following end of service review. “Had I not received support from Geeza Break I think I would have become much worse and family life would have been intolerable for us all. What a blessing to be able to access this service, it’s a benefit to my son D who has grown in confidence and is more comfortable around other people and it has given us both some time to focus on our relationship as a couple and also spend quality time with our other son. A very heartfelt thank you to all the team for their support.
15 carers will have improved health and wellbeing and be less stressed with the time to look after their own health and wellbeing and spend time with other family members
138 x 4 hour home activity sessions – each carer received approximately 10 x 4 hour periods of respite Carers reported that their stress levels had reduced whilst their child was receiving the Respite Sitting Service and overall they had more time to themselves which overall improved their health and wellbeing. Several carers reported that the respite sessions were a life saver.
C is a single parent caring for her son A and was feeling extremely isolated and mentally exhausted when she contacted Geeza Break for support. 4 hour respite sessions were put in place to give C some time to herself and to look after her own health. C advised that she felt less stressed and felt more relaxed when the respite took place and that the respite took the pressure off. C felt that the respite was good for he son in helping him to maintain his social skills during a very difficult time when he was not attending school and that their relationship had improved. C was able to access and participate in a 6 week yoga course within the local community which she said improved her health and wellbeing and she felt less isolated.