Junior & Senior Clubs & Activities for Children and Young People up to18 Years
A story by Include Me 2 Club SCIO
Include Me 2 Club delivered increased activities for Cared-for children with disabilities and additional support needs, 3 x weekly clubs, 18 x Pop Up Street Play Events, and 15 x Outings.
Our programme helped improve the wellbeing, resilience, and quality of life of both children with disabilities/additional support needs and their Carers
What Junior & Senior Clubs & Activities for Children and Young People up to18 Years did
Funding enabled us to respond to increased demand and deliver increased activities incl., 3 x weekly clubs, 18 x Pop Up Play Events, and 15 x Outings in 2019-20 which improved the lives of 111 x total children/young people with disabilities/multiple additional support needs and 139 x total Carers: nearly double the target set.
2 x weekly Junior Youth Clubs supported 24-27 disabled children under 12 each session and 1 x weekly Youth Club supported 20-25 disabled young people aged 13-18 each session – 1 more club than initially planned. Children/young people engaged in activities incl., sensory, messy, and nature play; arts/crafts; science experiments; games; adapted sports; Animal Petting Zoo visits; Jo Jingles Song & Sign Sessions; Kidnetick Dance & Move Sessions; etc.
We also ran several trips to our growing allotment in which children/young people learned about/engaged in growing vegetables/herbs. Young People aged 13+ also achieved Youth Achievement Awards, supporting increased confidence and aspirations.
Pop Up Play Events supported children/young people to engage in physically-engaging, inclusive sport activities they normally wouldn’t have access to but which helped them build key life skills, confidence, and improved health. 6 more outings were provided than the 9 initially expected, offering chances for disabled children/young people to engage in new life experiences and increase their independence. Overall, disabled children/young people developed new life skills, confidence, and increased independence and improved their inclusion, resilience, physical health, and overall wellbeing.
Whilst children engaged in these activities, Parents/Carers received much-needed respite to de-stress, focus on their own wellbeing, spend time with their partner/friends, and engage in hobbies/activities outwith their caring role, with many meeting up at the nearby café to share their experiences/peer support. By receiving regular respite breaks, Parents/Carers experienced improved wellbeing and confidence in managing their caring responsibilities: helping them better cope/continue carrying out their caring responsibilities.
What Include Me 2 Club SCIO has learned
Your support helped Include Me 2 Club deliver an increased activity programme that was overwhelmingly successful, both in popularity and in the range of positive outcomes achieved by beneficiaries, with more activities run and beneficiaries supported than initially planned. Whilst the 2 x weekly clubs initially planned ran successfully throughout the year, increased demand led us to set-up a third club for children under 12 in the Barrhead area via which we ran 2 x initial monthly clubs to build up both the skilled volunteer base and participants and also raise awareness of the new service itself though this progressed forward quickly to offer weekly activities for children under 12 with disabilities/multiple additional support needs.
Our overall programme benefited an incredible 111 x total children/young people with disabilities/multiple additional support needs and 139 x Parents/Carers: far more than expected and nearly double the annual targets set for 2019-20. Approx., 82 x children/young people accessed support on an weekly basis.
Most of the families self-referred to our programme after hearing positive word-of-mouth feedback although others were referred by local organisations, social work departments, and schools and/or found out about our work via leaflets we distributed throughout the community, local newspaper articles, and via promotional “taster” activities we ran for local individuals of all ages living with disabilities/additional support needs.
The grant kindly awarded by the Better Breaks Fund helped Include M 2 Club secure additional grants which enabled us to purchase more sensory and other key equipment/materials and offer a wider range of club activities for the increased number of children supported, several family-wide activities which helped strengthen family relationships, and also 6 more outings than the 9 initially planned (15 overall).
Whilst we did not experience any significant challenges during the year, we did deliver slightly fewer Pop Up Play Events than initially planned, with 4 additional events scheduled to run in March 2020. However, the COVID-19 pandemic required us to pull these events and temporarily pause all of our face-to-face activities.
Although we delivered fewer Pop Up Play Events, we conversely ran 6 more outings than the 9 initially planned. The 15 x total outings ran were very popular, providing unique opportunities for excluded children/young people with disabilities/multiple additional support needs engage in new life experiences that would otherwise be inaccessible due to their complex support needs and financial disadvantages and increase their confidence and overall independence. These changes led us to amend our overall service plan for 2020-21 to arrange fewer Pop Up Play Events and more outings.
To support delivery of our on-going activities for children/young people with disabilities/multiple additional support needs, we secured three-year funding in the autumn towards the costs of a new part-time Children’s Worker whose support has already made a big difference to our support capacity and by developing/delivering a more structured club-activity programme in the last 5 months of the year-long programme: helping children experience a wider range of significant, long-lasting outcomes. This has included offering more learning activities, incl., fun science experiments, which has ignited new passions and school-motivation.
The increased number of targeted beneficiaries accessing long-term support during the year shows that there is a clear and significant, on-going demand for targeted activities/support. We have therefore taken considerable steps to recruit/train new sessional workers and volunteers and further adapt this evolving programme so that we can continue meeting the changing needs of the vulnerable children/young people supported.
This is assisted by our Children & Young People’s subgroup, which regularly meet with our Board to plan all activities. We also began working with local partner organisations in February/March to establish a new weekly after-school programme via which we would all work together to provide a unique, evolving range of activities, however, this has been paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We aim to resume discussion and activity development once the lockdown has ended and it’s safe to resume group activities, esp., as the provision of free activities will be even more important for those greatly impacted by this crisis period.
How Include Me 2 Club SCIO has benefitted from the funding
Funding kindly awarded by the Better Breaks Fund enabled Include Me 2 Club to build upon successes experienced during an initial pilot and run an increased activity programme to better meet the needs of the communities we support, incl., a new weekly club we had not originally planned for but which developed as part of the project to meet increased demand for support. It also acted as a catalyst to securing additional funding which enabled us to purchase more sensory and other key equipment/materials and offer a wider range of club activities for the increased number of children supported, several one-off family-wide activities which helped strengthen family relationships, and also 6 more outings than the 9 initially planned (15 overall). The programme was very successful and supported nearly double the annual targets set. We simply would not have been able to support this increased number of beneficiaries nor offer the additional unique activities run without your very generous support. The overwhelming successes experienced in the first half of the project led us to establish a new part-time Children’s Worker role for which we’ve now secured three-year funding. This new post-holder has already made a big difference to the overall activity programme by increasing our support capacity and developing/delivering more structured activities for children/young people with disabilities/multiple additional support needs. We’ve also recruited/trained additional sessional workers and volunteers incl., both able-bodied volunteers and those with disabilities/multiple additional support needs providing new opportunities for local people to develop new practical skills, confidence, and hands-on experience to support their long-term aspirations and overall life-long success.
65 children/YP with disabilities/multiple additional support needs will have engaged in recreational/sport activities they can’t typically access but via which they’ll gain key life skills, new friendships, and improve confidence and resilience. As a result, children/young people will feel less isolated and happier/more positive
111 children/young people with disabilities/multiple additional support needs engaged in 3 x weekly clubs, 18 x Pop Up Play Events, and 15 x Outings during which they engaged in many activities otherwise inaccessible incl, interactive games; inclusive sports; games; sensory, messy, nature, and science play; music/dance sessions; outings to Science Centre, Safari Park, Soft Play, Bowling, Pantomime, etc. 45 x young people aged 13+ also achieved Youth Achievement Awards: supporting aspirations and success. By engaging in these activities within a safe, encouraging space, exploring/taking on new challenges independently, and building new friendships/networks, children/young people with disabilities/multiple additional support needs developed key life skills, confidence, and increased independence and improved their inclusion, resilience, physical health, and overall wellbeing. The benefits of these outcomes reach beyond the Project: helping children/young people feel stronger, less isolated, and more positive/resilient.
P is 10 years old and experienced significant isolation and exclusion prior to joining our Junior Youth Club as a result of his multiple additional support needs. Although P was initially very shy and it took some time for P to build the confidence needed to fully engage in the activities provided, he has since flourished and grown in confidence, improved his communication and other key skills, and is overall happier and more positive/resilient. P has also developed vital new friendships and social/support networks with other club participants and he looks forward to each club session and taking part in the range of activities provided with his new friends, especially cooking and the adapted sports run. He now dives right into new activities whereas he was very hesitant when first accessing support, giving insight into his improved confidence/self-belief. P has developed such strong social/supports networks that he now regularly meets with his friends outwith the club incl., for birthday parties and other special events whereas before accessing our programme, P typically sat home alone playing on his computer as he was completely excluded from his class’s social group and always overlooked for parties/etc. We’ve also observed a range of other positive outcomes; for example, P’s ability to cope with challenging situations has greatly improved and he doesn’t breakdown as often as he did in the past. It’s been such a joy to see P grow as a person and realise his true potential, explore/improve his independence and wellbeing, and become much stronger and resilient. P is Cared-for by his grandmother who advised: “The club has been amazing for P’s confidence and building a circle of friends. He loves to go along and try new activities, it’s great to see such a change in him already and other positives that come from him taking part in an amazing club, where he wouldn’t have before. It’s just amazing.” QUOTES “These activities are vital for our children who can have the same experiences as their peers and support families facing hardship and barriers. Doing this as a group is supportive and helps better cope.” “Since joining I have seen such a difference in JJ; it’s really been a god send as he finds it really difficult to interact with other children. JJ really enjoys the play approaches, which play to his interests and also challenge him to try new activities and build on his senses, tactility, and interactions with others. Building a strong connection with his peers and the team of staff and volunteers has been vital to him and he can hardly wait for each session “Juniors is fantastic, it gives SL* an outlet and a chance to try new activities; she loves the pets and jo jingles sessions the most.” “It’s hard to afford these types of activities and trips with 3 kids with disabilities/ The club has been able to offer us a lifeline especially during the summer with days out and fun experiences the kids will remember for years to come. It’s just so great we are able to have this opportunity in our community.”
65 children/young people with disabilities/multiple additional support needs and their 85 Parents/Carers will have been supported to re-engage in the community, engage in opportunities that are otherwise inaccessible, and develop new skills/support networks: improving their health, happiness, resilience, and overall wellbeing
111 children/young people with disabilities/multiple additional support needs engaged in a range of fun activities that are otherwise inaccessible due to their complex support needs and financial disadvantages during which their 139 x Parents/Carers accessed regular respite breaks, helping them de-stress, focus on their own wellbeing, and better cope with/continue carrying out their caring responsibilities which, in turn, improves that of their children. By providing unique opportunities for disabled children and their Parents/Carers to independently access support, focus on their own wellbeing, and build new friendships/networks, families developed stronger relationships, improved resilience, and felt happier/more positive about the future. Several family-wide activities run further strengthened families, incl., 2 x Christmas Parties and 2 x Summer Fun Days each attended by approx., 100 x disabled children, siblings, and Parents/Carers in Glasgow and East Renfrewshire (respectively).
K & K are 4 year-old twin girls that each have multiple additional support needs and, before accessing our programme, really struggled with separation anxiety with their mother, V*. In the beginning, the girls would have significant breakdowns and were unable to concentrate or each play with each other/others without their mother’s presence; however, by providing targeted 1-to-1 support over several weeks, we helped them become more comfortable, build their confidence, and gain improved coping strategies/resilience so that V could begin accessing the respite she desperately needed. In addition to enjoying weekly respite breaks whilst her girls engage in one of our weekly clubs, V has made a number of new friendships with other Parents/Carers with whom she/her girls now regularly meet outwith the Project: reducing each family’s wider isolation and improving their long-term wellbeing and resilience. This has also provided unique opportunities for V to share her experiences with other Parents/Carers, what worked/didn’t work for her, talk about/get advice on new/on-going challenges, and share peer support. V said “ I first joined the club to get the girls some support and help them build their independence away from me, however, it’s been such a unique chance to have adult interactions, get some advice from other Parents/Carers and share experiences between other parents which has been so important for me. [The girls] are now more confident in themselves, and cope better with large crowds and places, and are more comfortable to play with each other, themselves, and/or others whilst I enjoy time for myself. The club has been a god send for us and me.”
85 Parents/Carers will have receive regular, much-needed respite breaks to focus on their own wellbeing and engage in new activities previously inaccessible due to their 24/7 caring role. Parents/Carers will report feeling less isolated and more resilient/positive about their caring future.
We provided increased activities for children with disabilities/multiple additional support needs during which 139 Parents/Carers accessed regular, much-needed respite breaks throughout the year. These breaks enabled Parents/Carers to de-stress, focus on their own health/wellbeing, and engage in new hobbies/activities, with many meeting at a local café near our clubs to share experiences/peer support. This vital support has helped Parents/Carers feel less stressed/hopeless, stronger and more confident in their own caring abilities, better able to cope with/continue carrying out their 24/7 caring responsibilities, and build positive peer friendships/networks. These outcomes, in turn, positively impacted each family unit: improving their communication, relationships, and long-term wellbeing/quality of life.
K* is the primary carer for her grandson PL.* Before to accessing our programme, K felt extremely isolated as PL struggled to interact/connect with his peers and refused to try or take part in anything outside the house which caused K great stress and limited her ability to get out, make connections, and get support. K supported PL to first engage in our promotional “taster” activities during which we provided PL’s favourite activities to make it easier for him to settle into the inclusive, supportive space, connect/make friends, and be happier. K was delighted to see that PL enjoyed the activities provided as she felt at her wit’s end and like this was her last chance to positive community engagement. K thrived as a result of accessing new respite breaks; she took up a new hobby and alternated between this and enjoying time with other Parents/Carers whilst PL was engaging in activities, helping her build positive new friendships with other Parents/Carers. Through these new connections, K became involved in our organisation’s Carer subgroup and Event subgroup that meet regularly with Board to assess our on-going success and plan on-going activities/services via which she got involved in supporting our fundraising efforts which helped her build additional positive community connections. K also took PL to the Queens Award for Voluntary Service presentation, which she highlighted as a particularly proud experience. K now loves to be so heavily involved in both our own organisation and the wider community, something she said that she never would have achieved without our support as we gave her the space to enjoy life outwith her 24/7 caring role. K said “The club has been fantastic, its given me so many opportunities to get involved and do something for myself out with my caring role with my grandson, its something I really love doing now and hope to support for many years to come.” QUOTES: “The Juniors club is a lifeline for the family, a chance for S to meet with new friends, it’s really helpful for me as a parent to find out information, learn from others who have been down the same road but only a few years ahead of me: their knowledge and advice is invaluable.” “I am able to cope better with the support of others.”
85 Parents/Carers will have receive regular, much-needed respite breaks to focus on their own wellbeing and engage in new activities previously inaccessible. Parents/Carers will report feeling less stressed/isolated and more resilient/positive in continuing their 24/7 caring responsibilities.
We provided increased activities for children with disabilities/multiple additional support needs during which 139 Parents/Carers accessed regular, much-needed respite breaks. These breaks enabled Parents/Carers to de-stress, focus on their own health/wellbeing, and engage in new hobbies/activities otherwise inaccessible, with many meeting during our clubs to share coffee, cake, and their experiences/peer support. Parents/Carers also received information/support to support their caring roles. This combined support helped Parents/Carers feel less stressed/hopeless, stronger and more confident in their own caring abilities, better able to cope with/continue carrying out their 24/7 caring responsibilities, and build positive peer friendships/networks. These outcomes, in turn, positively impacted each family unit: improving their communication, relationships, and long-term wellbeing, e.g. reducing stress helped Parents enjoy their time with their child(en) rather than focusing on day-to-day challenges faced
Our chairperson first met J* at a local event during which they chatted about their children living with disabilities/multiple additional support needs, their general caring responsibilities/experiences, how J felt completely excluded ‘from life’ and unsupported in providing a positive life for her children. She subsequently came along to one of our clubs and shared coffee, cake, and conversation with some of the Parents/Carers whilst her children engaged in fun club activities. They both enjoyed the support provided and continued to access our weekly clubs via which they made very strong friendships and social/support networks. Sharing experiences, information, advice and support with other Parent/Carers helped J feel much more positive about her caring responsibilities. She also attended several of the workshops we ran for all Parents/Carers engaging with our organisation including Parenting Advice & Support, Money Advice, Carers Rights, Self-Directed Support, and more as well as received information/advice from our team on new strategies she can use in the home to better support her children. The combination of support accessed helped J build her knowledge and become more confident with her caring role. J now regularly meets with other Parents/Carers on weekday mornings whilst their children learn as well as during club-hours, which has helped J feel much more connected to the community/her peers, stronger and more resilient, and more confident/capable of continuing her caring role and on-going caring responsibilities. J advised: “The club has been amazing for me and my family. I feel more connected, supported, and confident. I now have somewhere to turn for advice and even to have a shoulder to cry on and an ear to vent. I feel I have grown so much being part of Include Me 2 Club. I have been supported to do things I thought were out of reach.”