The Mallard GO2
A story by The Mallard
We provided one to one support to children and young people with physical and learning difficulties to allow them to take part in activities of their choice in the community.
This allowed their parent/carers to have some time to themselves on a regular basis to persue their own interests
What The Mallard GO2 did
During the 12 month period we successfully provided opportunities for young people with physical and learning difficulties to take part in activities of their choice in the community. We also introduced young people to new activities.
Activities includes music sessions, swimming, football coaching and the Brownies. 9 young people took part providing 15 parents with a regular short break. The sessions lasted approximately 3 hours and took place in the evening and weekends during school term time as this is when most clubs run. Parents who used the residential service were made aware of the new service by information leaflet. Those who responded were given the opportunity to be part of the new project.
We named the project GO2 reflecting the desire to support young people to get out into the community and be active. Staff ensured that activities were accessible to all the young people including those who had physical disabilities. The staff who supported the young people were already working on the project part time, sessional or volunteering. They were given additional hours to support the young people to the different activities. The staff already had training, experience and skills and were provided with additional information and training relevant to the young people that were identified to be part of the project.
The parents and carers were very enthusiastic about this new service and because it was happening on a regular basis were able to plan their own time. One parent was pleased to have the Sunday afternoon to prepare for the week ahead and to watch some TV. She said she looked forward to it knowing her son was enjoying himself swimming - he came back relaxed and this also helped her in the evening as she prepared her family for school next day.
What The Mallard has learned
The Mallard has provided residential short breaks for 20 years. We have been very aware that parents and carers benefit from a menu of services. Before applying to Better Breaks we held a special week for young people and their parents introducing them to different activities and gaining their views on what kind of services they would most benefit from. We were all aware that Self Direct Support would allow a greater choice and give more control to the young people and this would be a positive thing.
The outcome of that week of events encouraged us to apply for Better Breaks funding. The project allowed young people to be supported to access community resources - allowing them to be part of already established groups such as the Brownies or football coaching as well as accessing swimming and music workshop . The young people were very enthusiastic and the parents knowing the enthusiasm and positive feedback from the young people felt able to plan activities for themselves.
This gave us the confidence to apply to the Care Inspectorate for a new registration to provide a community based service from the already established residential service. We gained this certificate in March 19th 2015 and will commence the service in the summer. This will allow us to extend the service to young people and families who do not at present use the short breaks residential service. It will provide an other option for families as they are assessed through the SDS process.
We learned as an organisation that there is a need for a menu of different services to support the young people and their families. and learned that involving the young people and their families through the different stages of development results in a service that will benefit everyone. We learned lots of small things about organising the service that will allow us to confidently provide the service to a wider group of young people and carers.
An example of this is the need to allow more time to transport young people to and from the activity, to check out the wheelchair access and equipment by visiting the venue and the need to be able to be flexible as the activity is not always what the young person expects it to be