Monday Social Club
A story by Crossroads North Argyll
We provided a weekly social club for adults who are socially isolated due to reduced physical and mental well being we gave their carers time to have a break from their caring responsibilities.
What Monday Social Club did
We provided 50 weekly sessions where we supported 'cared for' people to allow their carers a break. We ran a social club in church hall or on 14 occasions we took 'cared for' out to cafés. We supported one cared for person to an evening pantomime which allowed the 'carer to also take their 3 year daughter to the pantomime in their local island community.
We took 3 'cared for' on two occasions to visit friends in residential care, took 2 'cared for' to hear the visiting Phoenix choir in a rural village church, we had a Christmas party. We organised a birthday party with surprise cake in a nice restaurant with lovely sea views. We went to the local library and found books with pictures of old Oban which people enjoyed looking at it and reminiscing their younger years plus all the changes over the years.
The club is advertised in several community newsletters for example Dementia Resource Centre, TSI, plus we promote it to our carers in our respite service. We did not work directly with carers. Carers used the time their 'cared for' person was with us to do activities not related to caring for example lying down and resting, going for long, brisk walks, meeting friends/relatives for coffee.
Recently family were visiting and the carer was able to go for a coffee and sit outside in the sun with them while cared for was with us.
The club, combined with our respite care, allows two of the three carers to continue in employment without worrying the 'cared for' person is being left alone at home for long periods with subsequent deterioration in the cared for person’s mental health.
While they are with us the carer lies down on the sofa and has a rest. We also offer the carer support by telephone, acknowledging how difficult the caring role is for them and providing a listening ear. This helps the carer continue in their caring role as they get a break plus feel heard.
What Crossroads North Argyll has learnedThe fund has allowed the club to continue for another year in a time of general financial restraint. The numbers attending are low but the impact is high for the carers and the attending 'cared for'. The main challenge has been staffing the project. Our only volunteer became unwell during the year and they were our only driver. We have had two staff leaving and have to date been unable to replace them. All care agencies in this area are struggling to recruit staff.
We ask people what they would like to do. For example one week two people wanted to hear a visiting choir in an outlying village while one did not wish to do this. We organised the trip to the choir in the village while another staff member took the other personn to a café to ensure they also had a trip out.
They enjoyed reminiscing about the town and the changes over the years. Acknowledging this we went to the library and inquired if they had any books with photos of ‘old’ Oban. The library staff were very helpful and allowed us to borrow two reference books to take to the club. They were very useful and found many pictures of buildings/streets which they remembered but are now considerably changed.
We have struggled to attract new people. When we set club up a number of years ago there were few similar services. More have now been developed but for a number of reasons our existing members are reluctant to attend these. However the wider range of activities may be one reason for lack of new members.
In addition we have limited transport available to collect people and this may restrict people from attending as more people are now elderly with increasing mobility issues. We had planned initially to fund devoted development hours for the club but were unsuccessful in this bid. We therefore had no staff time available to develop and promote the club as originally planned.