Inclusive Family Fun Activities Programme
A story by PAMIS
The development of a blended approach to online and outdoor events and activities has been provided to ensure that people with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) could access purposeful and meaningful activities that supported them through the difficult times that 2021 brought.
What Inclusive Family Fun Activities Programme did
The short breaks activities delivered were a mix of online and in person activities that supported people and their supporters to provide a range of meaningful activities. The activities took place regularly online throughout the year at the monthly PAMIS friendship clubs and outdoors where possible. People with profound and multiple learning disabilities and their families participated in the range of activities on offer. The participants were mostly people who regularly access the Pamis family support service but others were new families who heard about the programme and requested to join. Carers of people with PMLD have had to care 24/7 over the Covid period so they were grateful for the time they spent together with the person they cared for and to have activities that were meaningful and appropriate for them provided was a life saver. This programme supported their isolation and loneliness during this period as they met carers from other areas online. We purchased equipment that helped us make films to develop additional resources that can be used in the future and not just for the life of the grant. The programme supported complex needs, sports and leisure, transition to adulthood and under fives. The groups were designed to meet the needs of all of the above and there was something for everyone in all the activities provided. The particular successes were the online project groups where people with PMLD really got actively involved in the programme and got opportunities to showcase their work nationally. The online element ending with a live outdoor event celebrating their work was hugely successful in both forging friendships across geographical areas as well as enhancing learning opportunities. In the main the project went to plan with only a few planned face to face events having to be diverted to online delivery due to the fluctuating Covid rules. One planned outdoor event had to be postponed because of Covid regulations but the tickets could be carried forward as the event was rescheduled.
What PAMIS has learned
1.Transfering the learning from this project to other projects involving people with PMLD having a more direct role in the creative process. The work undertaken with this project around the learning that developed through creativity has been the framework used to secure other funded projects.
2. This programme has highlighted that a blended learning approach to delivering activities enables and supports friendships across geographical areas resulting in less isolation. This approach is now favoured by PAMIS.
3. 6 week blocks of online activities work well and are enjoyed more than one of one of events in some cases, eg music, art and story.
How PAMIS has benefitted from the funding
Funding from Better Breaks has allowed PAMIS to explore a blended learning approach to delivering activities. It has also enabled and supported us to experiment with new ways of designing, developing and delivering stories to people with PMLD, their families and supporters. Through new ways of working with the funding Better Breaks have enabled PAMIS to strengthen links within communities such as museums, cultural heritage sites and as a result helped to create a more inclusive society, therefore strengthening our reputation. Continuing to develop awareness of our group through the use of the resources we created with this project project and also enhancing the skills and knowledge of people who organise festivals and events.
At least 20 children and young people will have made music in the band. We will deliver two 6-week online music projects. We will develop the ‘recyclable junk band’ and produce a film (we did all this and have produced a film and story booklet with accompanying story making ideas).
This outcome was achieved and resulted in a 6 week online project that saw children and young people enjoy creating online musical instruments for a junk band and then enjoying a live performance in Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow. For their second 6 week project the theme was the environment and this was fully online as Covid restrictions prevented families from feeling comfortable with a live performance. Both projects were delivered together with a multi-sensory story resource that accompanied the final events. The climate change story and music tied into COP 26 and that enabled people with PMLD to feel a part of a national event. This was successful of number of levels. 1 It provided fun activities where people with PMLD could get together and enjoy making instruments, playing music and laughing together. 2 It provided family carers with time to spend together online and meet new families from other geographical areas. 3 It provided an ongoing programme of fun activities.
Being actively involved in these online programmes has provided friendship, lessened isolation and provided opportunities for this group of people and their families. The participants in both these music and story projects have enhanced their skills as well as had fun. The projects offered them the opportunity to participate in a national event on climate change and feel a part of it. The gathering in Kelvingrove park was emotional as people had been isolated for so long and there were tears of happiness at being able to be together physically again. Before the project people felt isolated and alone. Now they feel empowered, confident and love taking part in meaningful project work that supports their well-being but also enhances opportunities for them to grow and develop their learning through creativity.
50 families will have taken part in friendship clubs and family activities. We will run 12 friendship clubs in each area. We will host 3 celebratory events.
The programme achieved huge success and everyone enjoyed a variety of activities through the friendship clubs and the celebration events. Friendships were created and new activities experienced through online programmes such as yoga for carers for example. The programme was successful because there was something for everyone. Here is a selection of what was offered: Wake Up Shake Up Storytelling Friendship Club (1 ‘in person: Xmas) Sound Lab Music Accordion Disco Carers Chat Stories/Songs ‘What Moves You’ bespoke drama Mo’s Rhythm Fi Sharp’s Music - regular sessions separate from the project sessions. Carers Yoga Carers Meditation Christmas in person event. Online Christmas and Halloween events.
Our online activities for our regular friendship clubs is fantastic but to be able to meet in person at Christmas albeit in smaller groups was amazing. It was lovely to see everyone again and the Christmas event is one that we all enjoy. It was a bonus for us to have the Christmas story online then have the Christmas party face to face as well as a Christmas friendship club. Before Christmas we only had our online meetings and friendship clubs which were our lifeline but as a family the Christmas party always means so much to us because our children never get asked to a party and we see all our friends at the Christmas party. We were grateful for the chance to meet in person although the numbers were smaller it was amazing to have been able to attend after the long period of isolation.
Carers of disabled children and young people (aged 20 and under) will feel better supported to sustain their caring role. Family carers will have grown in confidence and have engaged their children in a range of fun activities.
Developing online resources has been an amazing way of increasing knowledge transfer and ensuring all the work undertaken with the stories benefits a wider audience. We developed a climate change story and an online story that was adapted from an oral story. There is a film and a resource booklet to enable people to work with the story long after the storytelling session. The story adapted also accompanied the music session for earth, air, fire and water, making the resource a more sustainable one. Engaging families and support staff in the creative process through making their own items for the story builds understanding of the story and builds confidence in multi-sensory story making. Through the production of a film the story experience is enhanced in several ways. 1. People can watch the film and enjoy it as a film. 2. People can use the film to build their story skills 3. People who don't feel confident to tell the story can put on the film but use the items created
We absolutely loved being involved in this story in Glasgow's Kelvingrove Park. Combining it with our music project meant we had fun and then we could recreate the experience again in our own way. We loved making and creating the music and story items we could use. Through being part of the online group creating the items for the resource we made friendships with families across other geographical areas. Then we met in person for a celebratory event in Kelvingrove Park and the music and story came together in a wonderful performance. The resource is currently being used for story performances and it is great to have a resource we can create and perform on our own as a family but also together in a group too.
Disabled children and young people (aged 20 and under) and their carers will have improved wellbeing. Family carers will report an increase in mental wellbeing and feeling less isolated.
The creation of the online resources included an online art exhibition and a story art project in partnership with the Edinburgh International Book Festival. The PAMIS Art for Well-being group enhanced the lives of those with PMLD and their supporters. Having programmes of meaningful activities over a longer period of time such as art, music and story improved mental and emotional well-being and reduced isolation. Working over a few weeks on the projects provided a focus and increased learning opportunities for those with PMLD. Creativity provided the framework for learning and development, as well as being entertainment for the the groups. The planned project enhanced well being by providing these meaningful opportunities and reduced social isolation by offering a space that allowed people to work together.
Working with Alexandra Strick and Steve Anthony at the Edinburgh International Book Festival made us very proud. We helped make their book, You Can, accessible to people with PMLD. We created our own version of this book and this was presented alongside them at the festival. The book we created demonstrated our own stories. Before the project we never created our story in art. It is great to have these opportunities and experiences as we love the book festivals so much. Before the online groups it was hard to physically attend a local art group but to be able to work with people online on a weekly basis but meet up in person regularly too is amazing. To be able to participate in the book in such a meaningful way is a great feeling too.
Additional project outcome
There will be a suite of online resources available for dissemination and people with PMLD and their families will have had a fun and exciting time being involved in the making of these resources.
There were a few additional outcomes but I will concentrate on the work of The PAMIS online art for well-being group in this section. The group created their won version of You Can as described above. This work was well received at the book festival but has gone on to influence a wider audience. The work of the art group has now gone on to be an integral part of the consultation process on the care service review plan. It represents the voices of Children and Young People and what they would like in the future. This group have also had an exciting opportunity along with other children and young people with PMLD but this can not be revealed yet but will be announced over the next few months. https://pamis.org.uk/news/news/i-can-if-you-can/
Additional project outcome
Creating their own story props to tell a story has helped to reveal the power of the creative process in learning and understanding the story through the journey of creating items to use in the story. This will be a focus moving forward as will exploring soundscapes in stories.
As a group we learned so much about the creative process and what it teaches. We loved creating items for all the projects we were involved in. Before these projects we borrowed books and bought the items for the stories but now we love creating our own items and thinking up new ideas.