Learning Journeys 2 Project
A story by Dundee and Angus ADHD Support Group
Learning Journeys 2 built on our Learning Journeys Respite programme and continued to provide residential breaks for children/young people with ADHD in Nethybridge, Aviemore and Dalguise and a variety of exciting holiday activities.
We provided really successful respite family break in Liverpool.
What Learning Journeys 2 Project did
35 Children and young people with ADHD participated in residential experiences at Dalguise, Aviemore and Nethybridge. All residentials were for four days held in July 2019, October 2019 and another in March 2020. We had another residential booked in May 2020 but this was outwith our grant period so we were not able to carry this one out.
All had a variety of exciting activities and challenges for the participants and the children's suggestions were provided for at the centres. 4 Families went on weekend respite break to the McDonald Resort in Aviemore and had fun, activities and relaxation. These took place in October 2019.
The partnership with the DM Thomas Foundation which allowed us to afford the Hilton at Coylumbridge unfortunately came to an end with the sale of the hotel to another chain which was not supportive in terms of reduced costs. However we managed to secure a good deal with the McDonald Resort ensuring the continuation of high quality and relaxation and fun for the families. The support staff and volunteers made the experiences special with their knowledge and understanding of ADHD and gave real respite time for the carers who were able to do their own thing knowing their children were also having a great and safe time.
ADHD training was also offered to staff at the centres. For the first time and as a request from the children and young people we also provided a respite break in Liverpool and all four families had a great time there!
The Respite breaks allowed the children and young people to make new friends and learn new skills, and the carers relaxed both at home and on the hotel break.
We provided activity weeks during school holidays throughout the year with a range of new and exciting activities and this provided daily respite for all family members. We held a Christmas party for all of the group as we could not find suitable tickets for the theatre to please everyone! This was really successful with our Vice Chairman playing Santa, a great Christmas meal organised by the youth workers and appearance of “The Elf on the Shelf”!
What Dundee and Angus ADHD Support Group has learned
Delivering the Project, by reaching out and engaging with new families and with our new Hub open in Friockheim in Angus we have been able to reach out and engage purposely with many new families throughout Angus. The locality of the Hub has helped with this as has our recruitment of a very able, competent and knowledgeable local worker.
We also provided a range of training sessions in both Dundee and Angus and this resulted in new families coming along. The partnerships we have built with CAMHS and Education have allowed us to provide an innovative programme of training for parents/carers and children and most of the participants are new families.
Following on from the Research into the needs of those affected by ADHD which we carried out in 2018 we are currently carrying out research directly with children and young people as to their needs and their experiences of life with ADHD the results of this research will enable us to continue to provide the right support and activities for them.
Developing New Short Break Activities, we are constantly listening to our families as to their needs and wishes and then trying to meet these as quickly as we can. Our Activity Consultation Events have allowed families to try out new activities before we integrate them into our programme. New activities have been developed from our Learning Journeys 1 programme when photography was selected by group members as an area to continue with and since then this has branched out into animation, printing and photographic art work. Our partnerships with local Social Enterprises have enabled us to provide many new activities and at affordable costs.
The trip to Liverpool came about directly from the young people who wanted to go further afield and also to a good football city! Where better this year! It also provided the ideal opportunity to link with other ADHD organisations including The ADHD Foundation.
Dealing with unexpected challenges as last year seem to go smoothly with all our respite dates we assumed it would be the same this year! Unfortunately we would book a respite break only to have to cancel it as the families had other pressing things going on and they could no longer attend these included additional CAMHS appointments, someone losing their job, illness in the family , school exclusions, loss of income etc
We continued to work with the families and also with our new residential provider in the Highlands but this resulted in us not being able to meet the deadlines of the grant. I think we hoped it would all be OK before our end of grant date so did not get in touch soon enough to enable us to gain an extension – a lesson well learned!
How Dundee and Angus ADHD Support Group has benefitted from the funding
We were able to continue to provide quality experiences for children, young people and parents and carers. The partnerships we have in Dundee and Angus enabled the respite breaks to be offered more widely and also for us to be recognised for our services with more people and in different areas. With the opening of our Angus Hub we were able to offer respite to the most socially, economically and health-services-isolated families and having this funding enabled this to happen. The partnership with Better Breaks is positive and encouraging and will help us continue to apply in the future and to develop the respite breaks in different ways as we come out of the Coronavirus crisis.
Children/young people with disabilities (20 and under) will have opportunities to have fun, friendships and do activities they enjoy. All participants (50) will have had fun, made new friends and carried out new, different activities. Targets, 3 x 3/4 day outdoor residential opportunities as well as 3 local activity sessions.
We had 35 children/young people at residentials taking part in kayaking, swimming, forest trails,ropes courses, photography,archery, zip wire, etc. Residentials were held at Dalguise, Aviemore and Nethybridge. All were three/four days long. We held 4 weeks of activity weeks during all school holidays with a range of new and existing indoor/outdoor activity for 50 children/young people. Parents/carers see this as essential respite so they can meet friends, share interests and have worry-free relaxation! New activities included animals, jewellery, animation, bike-ability, ceramics, outdoor art, cooking and more! Young people now make ceramics/jewellery for sale at an Art Shop. The young people volunteered in these weeks working on farms, with Police Volunteers, with Brownies. Some volunteered in ADHD shop learning new skills, raising awareness of ADHD to local people. With our ADHD Hub open in Angus we started youth activity nights weekly in January and also parent/carers support nights.
From the children “Its good to be able to get a break from home” “I loved that we can go to dynamic earth, I only ever go with the club” “I love the sea life centre the most” “I just love it, it’s so fun” “I liked the residential because you could work to make the boats float, I love to swim so I loved it” “I like to be around my friends” “I loved it because you get peace from your family and the staff make it fun” “I like that I can do activities that I’ve never done before” “I want to be able to stay there for longer” “its good to be able to get away from home”
Carers of children/young people with disabilities (20 and under) have opportunities to enjoy life outside of caring role, 100 Parents/carers will have respite and time for enjoyment away from caring. Targets 3 family respite breaks x 3 days and chosen activities and relaxation time offering respite.
Parents/carers of 35 children were able to spend time with other family members including partners, relations, other children. In two of the residentials parents and carers were able to come along but the ADHD Group Workers and volunteers took all children on separate activities allowing the parents./carers time to spend relaxing, shopping without an ADHD child, spending time together, getting their hair done etc (We had another respite break booked for 5 families but it was not in our grant period so we had to cancel it) Parents and carers took part in a cycle fundraiser as well as bingo nights for the Liverpool trip this allowed new friendships to begin prior to the trip and to be continued on their return. Evaluations were received after all residential experiences and respite time is continuing for parents and carers with more nights being offered to the children with new activities this is including a new young adults group where the young people themselves designed their breakout area
A has a teenage daughter who attends the group and a younger son who is un-diagnosed but shows many traits of ADHD. By attending our family respite weekends she is able to spend some much needed time alone, resting an relaxing without her children. During one of the weekends she was also having to care for her elderly mother, however for her daughter she made the time to come on the trip and allowed herself some much rest time during what was a difficult time in her life.
Carers will be supported at and after respite breaks by ADHD group staff Targets At respite breaks provide youth workers and activities for children allowing respite time and chosen activities of carers Provide monthly support with staff and specialist advice to help with caring responsibilities.
We provided 5 breaks/trips and Carers were able to do their own thing with children looked after/having activities/doing new things. Parents went shopping, sight-seeing, swimming without stress of risk-taking ADHD children all the time. Walks, time together, sharing/gaining mutual support/friendship with other parents/carers. We held two family residentials with 11 parents/carers and 13 children. These were enjoyed by parents/carers both in Aviemore and Liverpool. Staff attended to take children on activities so carers could have their own time. Each evening families got together to do joint activities/eat together. We continue to provide monthly support for parents and we provide crisis support, advocacy etc. We provided additional/advanced training for parents from Fintan O’Regan UK ADHD Specialist. Evaluations were positive! We hold social nights e.g. Bingo, Quizzes etc and this is a chance for carers to relax, enjoy themselves,share stories/experiences of their lives with ADHD.
D (Mum) was worried about going to Liverpool on her own with R as she initially thought that they were travelling alone and spending the majority of the weekend alone as well. She doesn’t like to take R out to places she doesn’t know. She was reassured that we would be using our minibus for travel and that the group would be sight-seeing mostly together so her mind was put at ease. She asked if R’s Dad could come to Liverpool, they are separated and Dad lives in London. We arranged for Dad to go on all of the trips and booked him into the hotel. After the trip D (Mum) came back and having received support from our volunteer on the trip she felt that she would be able to find new ways to support her son with our help. Dad had a great weekend and really enjoyed spending time with R and his Mum together This from R’s mum- “We all had a brilliant weekend in Liverpool. The hotel was in a brilliant location and the food was amazing. R wasn’t interested in football before his visit to Anfield but now wants to join a football club and loves wearing his Liverpool top. Thank you for that – this is something we could never have afforded and it was great to see him enjoying time with his Dad. The trampolining and ferry trip was good fun and the visit to the museum although the highlight for R was sitting at the top on the hop on hop off bus. Thanks again for a great weekend we all really enjoyed ourselves - it has also given me the confidence to take R out to places that I'm not familiar with.”
Children/young people with disabilities (20 and under) and carers have improved wellbeing Children will do new activities/skills/feelings of wellbeing. Carers will see difference/value support for wellbeing Targets, Hold youth groups/have new activities and hold activities/parents support meetings
Every week, three times a week, 50 weeks of the year, 50 children and young people respite breaks for both children and parents are provided. These take the form of sessions including sport, arts, computing, homework help, cycling, cinema, volunteering, evening trips etc - both parents and children gain respite from these regular activities. Many new activities have been introduced this year and have included ceramics, environmental art, printing, outdoor sports and games competitions, music, cooking and selling their produce, volunteering in ADHD Charity Shop. Day and evening trips have been made to local farms, climbing wall, cinema, Dynamic Earth, orienteering and lots of BBQs in a variety of different places – Tentsmuir, St Andrews etc. We continue to hold monthly Parents Support evenings and at the same time have a child/youth night for all their children so parents can be free to support each other and hear from guest speakers on subjects that are important and chosen by them
L came along to our parent support group looking for support and advice about how best to support her son with ADHD. L was nervous to begin with about disclosing the fact that their family chose not to go down the medication route. However L is now happy to come along and discuss this with other parents and explain how they manage Js behaviours without medication, talking about her family supporting other parents in the process.
Raise awareness of ADHD More people will be aware of ADHD and have a better understanding of ADHD Targets, Hold annual conference providing information and advice for those affected by ADHD and provide advocacy and training.
Instead of a conference, this year we held a series of training sessions provided by ADHD expert Fintan O’Regan and also produced 100 Hints and Tips Cards for Parents and Carers to use to fit their needs at the time. We continue to hold monthly Parent Support meetings and to provide immediate critical support and where requested will attend school/health meetings with parents. We have also opened an ADHD Support Hub in Friockheim in Angus to raise awareness in the more rural and isolated areas and this is being recognised as a “godsend” by parents, carers and their families. Numbers of individual, confidential support sessions completed there in first three months 86 these support sessions have happened face to face, either at the Angus Hub or within the parent’s locality/home. Then continuing our services in Dundee families contacted us 634 for information and support. Families have reached out for help with extreme behaviours, feelings of inability and coping strategies.
Here are evaluation quotes from teachers, support staff and parents Parent “I found this training so helpful – I recognised traits and found the strategies to be things I can try and helped me to be in my child’s mind so I can develop coping strategies for him. I’ll also pass on to my husband for our son - he’s in for a treat!” Teacher “Have learned different things about how strategies work with different children It would be amazing to have the presenter deliver to the whole school.” Support Worker “ I gained a wider and deeper understanding and knowledge of all children with ADHD – specially in the classroom and a better understanding of the daily challenges ADHD children face and mechanisms to assist them. I have some new techniques to use in my job and refresh my current techniques to think out of the box”