No Limits P&K
A story by Live Active Leisure
We provided fun, social and active opportunities for children and young people with disabilities, living in Perth and Kinross and their parents/carers.
Opportunities included preschool play and movement, swimming lessons, skiing, holiday activity sessions, an activity residential, wellbeing MOT’s delivered by Live Active and their partners.
What No Limits P&K did
A range of sport and leisure opportunities for children and young people with a disability and their parents/carers from across Perth and Kinross were created between April 2017 and June 2018. They were accessed by 124 children of school age and 73 parents/carers. The project aimed to address the priority of providing more opportunities to take part in activities which are fun, stimulating and rewarding, but contributed to all in part.
Holiday Activity sessions, Leisure staff led a range of activities within a local wrap around care service provided by SHIP. Wee Springers Sessions for preschool age. 5 staff completed the gymnastics disability training course, 2 taster events took place and a weekly session has now been established.
A residential trip to experience outdoor activities in a supported and safe environment. Skiing lessons from qualified instructors at outdoor and indoor locations.
Community based one to one/family swimming lessons outwith school time. Each activity offer was targeted for a specific school or age group and promoted via schools, Active Schools Coordinators and partners working with families, preschool and school aged children.
Carers primarily took part in the activities or attended with their children but with additional support that enabled some respite. This provided a new and rewarding shared experience and has built confidence in families trying new things. Carer respite was an outcome for some where support was available for their children.
Staff development has been integral to the project with training and peer support happening in each case. Relationships with volunteers and other services have been developed and strengthened to support sustainability of future plans.
Working in partnership critical success factor, recognising the expertise in different fields. The commitment of all partners to persevere to find solutions was testament to everyone’s belief in the value of the programmes. The impact of the swimming and skiing lessons was a highlight and the mainstreaming of a Wee Springers Session. Planned walks and rural pre school activities did not take place due to unanticipated capacity challenges.
What Live Active Leisure has learned
Project planning and budgeting, Live Active Leisure took the approach of testing a number of interventions under one umbrella. The project ideas came from different teams with a variety of approaches and partners arrangements. This resulted in a disparate approach to evaluation and in some cases low prioritisation of evaluation.
Key learning points being, too many projects delivering on a range of outcomes is quite complex to report on. In future we would be more specific with the outcome we are principally addressing and try not to be everything to everyone. More emphasis on the involvement of parents and partners in the design of the programme and the pre evaluation. with separate budgets needs a tagging system to coordinate specific grant spend.
Developing new short breaks activities, as a leisure provider we had strong relationships with partners that had resulted in the majority of the evidence of need. We would have benefited from more direct engagement with the potential beneficiaries in advance of the application. Scheduling engagement once the funding had been agreed highlighted things that had not been considered and then delayed the implementation process.
There is significant competition for staff time and resource. In the timeline from discussion, to application, to agreement and then implementation the lead person had changed in some cases and the commitment was not necessarily a priority for new leadership. The involvement of schools across the projects highlighted the great pressure in that setting that just means things are not done even with the best intentions. However, the commitment to getting things done as soon as it can is there. Some of the projects areas that did not happen are still committed to in the future.
Partnership working, we have learned a lot from our partners and grown in confidence in understanding the specialisms and skill of each team. We did not spend in some areas as the added value that partners can bring – good use of resources
Dealing with unexpected challenges or opportunities, we had real concerns about the slippage in timeline or failure to deliver the projects planned. Despite best efforts from all stakeholders we all suffered from challenges in staff changes and capacity over a year. All partners made every effort and there had to be acknowledgement that the project relies on the whole being in place to deliver. Any part missing puts a process or programme at risk. We have learned not to be so hard on ourselves realising that this is an issue across stakeholders.
How Live Active Leisure has benefitted from the funding
Learning – staff development and confidence working with children and families with a disability Increased awareness of local needs from our partners and stronger connections with families with children with a disability New programmes established and increased awareness of LAL as a provider LAL venues buy in to new programme development for disability - confidence increased to develop further new provision Improved partner relations New skills and qualification In gymnastics being cascaded to wider teams Better use of resources - all partners contributed significant in-kind and other support from other funded roles.
10 new activity programmes will be established across Perth and Kinross, 130 participants will have taken part in programmes and report positive outcomes. 10 activity programmes/projects will be delivered for 167 participants and 15 staff and volunteers will be trained to lead activities.
The aim of the project was to deliver a set of new activity programmes that had been identified by local children and families as things they wanted to try, or by partners and their users as something that was challenging to access in mainstream provision. 7 new programmes were delivered out of the planned 10, 124 distinct children attended opportunities and 73 carers, 10 staff and volunteers were trained to lead activities The feedback from participants from skiing and swimming lessons illustrates the fact that some families would not have considered such activities without the programme and have been delighted by the fun and enjoyment that has come from taking part in something new. We did not manage to deliver the planned rural preschool playtime sessions, 1 residential trip and a lowland walking programme. Significant changes in staffing and competing pressures in venues and schools were the main reason. Both projects are committed to for making happen.
The Active Schools Coordinator for the Blairgowrie High School Cluster had identified through consultation with pupils and parents that many young people had never experienced skiing or considered it something they could do. Blairgowrie is located close to one of Scotland's principal skiing locations and many schools in Perth and Kinross will organise skiing sessions at some stage during secondary years. The offer was made for 8 pupils to have 1:1 ski instruction with the aim of building family trust in the providers of such services and to provide an amazing first time experience for the young people. Arrangements were made with Disability Snowsport Scotland (DSS) who are specialists in this provision and deliver session at Glenshee. All families were encouraged to attend the sessions in the hope that this would encourage parents to take their child up the slopes. All pupils have benefited from this experience not only from skiing but also getting to the top of the mountain. One parent shared -‘My son sometimes struggles with sports activities and has low confidence to the point that he nearly backed out however, he decided to go for it and everyone was so encouraging and positive, putting him at ease and engaging with him.’ Parent 2- At the beginning of this adventure we were a little afraid of how X would get to the top and how she would manage. It was amazing for us how they put her with this monoski on the chairlift and everything went very well. The instructors did everything very cleverly and you could see that they have a lot of experience in what they do. X had a very good time and she would like to repeat it. For the next week she was still talking about it. We would like to see her to do this again.' Building on the confidence gained in Glenshee lessons were arranged at the Snow Factory . Although the pupils were a bit nervous their confidence grew throughout their lesson and by the end they were all skiing by themselves on the bigger slope. All pupils learnt new skills from measuring up the own skis/ using the tows to actually being in control down the slopes. As a result of the programme there is a commitment for Active Schools to deliver Skiing annually and secure funding to do this. It is hoped that family confidence will result in some pupils being supported beyond school to try skiing again.
100 carers will tell us they have improved physical, social or mental wellbeing because of taking part in programmes, 130 Children and young people will tell us they have improved physical, social or mental wellbeing because of taking part in programmes and 30 carers will take up the Wellbeing MOT.
Feedback from carers in relation to their own physical and mental wellbeing was limited due to the nature of evaluation activity carried out. Wellbeing MOT's were promoted to parents of Fairview School at a parents evening and a meeting took place with the parent council to promote the opportunity to work together to integrate wellbeing and lifestyle advice and support in to planned events. 8 health checks were carried out and the offer to receive a wellbeing MOT was well received. There was no direct uptake outwith the parents evening of the MOT. Live Active Leisure will support the school in their activity in the year ahead. Parents feedback from their involvement in the participation opportunities for their children does illustrate the opportunity to have time away for caring and the enjoyment that parents have had in seeing them try something new and confidence being built. All mental and social wellbeing indicators.
Wee Springers session for children of pre school age was developed in recognition that involvement in play and physical activity from the earliest age brings physical, social and mental wellbeing benefits. Parents also benefit from increased social connections and the creation of new friendships and networks. Prior to the creation of the dedicated class we had evidence that parents were not accessing services that would provide them with a break or more support due to lack of confidence. As a consequence children were also missing an opportunity to be active and have fun. Taster sessions were organised promoted via partners working with the target group. 20 children took part in the sessions and parents reported they would be interested in a regular opportunity. Staff attended a disability specific gymnastics training course to build confidence and ensure quality of delivery. A weekly session was established alongside existing mainstream provision. The opportunity to participate weekly has seen positive returns for participants. Coach feedback - 'The coaching team, along with the parents saw a considerable difference in two children who have low muscle tone. Through the use of our fun, wobbly bugs the children were encouraged to sit on the equipment where they had to engage their core and leg muscles to adapt to the ‘wobbliness’ of the kit and keep steady. On observing where they were on the first week of attendance to the last the coaching team noticed that the improvements were very noticeable. ' 'One child climbed up a set of soft stairs on to a small table. Her mother was visibly taken aback, as the child had never climbed up stairs before. This was a very big achievement for the child and it was a privilege to be part of. ' Moving forward, we have agreed to continue the programme for next term and would like the class to follow our mainstream sessions, by creating achievement cards. This will be tailored for the needs of the children in the class and will aim to enhance confidence and independence as well as looking at physical achievements. The coaching team feel that this class has been a huge benefit to the children attending but also to the parents who have seen their child come on and who have felt comfortable attending a session like pre-school gymnastics with their child.
Carers will enjoy time on their own to do things for themselves and feel benefits for themselves when taking part in programmes with the person they care for. 10 activity programmes/projects will be delivered for 130 participants, wellbeing information event and MOT’s offered to parents and carers.
Our aspiration for parents to enjoy time doing things for themselves was achieved through the pupils residential trip and the Wellbeing MOT offer although uptake was limited. The benefits that the new activity programmes for children have brought to carers are evidenced in small ways with feedback that suggests that involvement in supported activities feels less like a caring role and is more enjoyable and relaxing.
Swimming Lessons were offered to pupils of Fairview School. The school offers swimming lessons as part of their curriculum but at a community level there was evidence that families were not accessing swimming lessons independently of school and that demand for 1:1 lessons for children with additional support needs far outweighed the availability. The waiting list is currently closed with a waiting list of up to 1 year. Many families wish for lessons to provided permanently and do not transition in the same way as the general lesson programme. There was also evidence of the complexity of taking a family swimming that was a barrier. The programme was designed to support families to gain confidence in accessing a pool independently and to provide a catalyst in learning to swim. The offer was made to all pupils recognising that the timing of lessons may not be suitable for all. Or lessons may not be a choice. 4 children from the school took up the offer. 4 others were invited via partners who support children with a disability and from our extensive waiting list to fill the 8 places. The lessons were offered for free to reduce the financial barrier. Prior to the offer swimming lessons were not accessible or available to all. Children confidence to swim was low and family confidence to support and guide in the water was limited. Each child was given 3 1:1 lessons while parents enjoyed time in the cafe and could watch the sessions provided by qualified swim teachers. What benefits from this programme were gained for parents or cares? 'Having something for M after school which was active was excellent as she only moves with her legs in water. Great exercise and feeling of happiness knowing it is just for her. As a parent it gives myself a chance to spend a short time with her sibling which is not easy as a lot of my time is making sure M's needs are met.' 'Being able to relax knowing someone with specific training could cope with my son'
30 Carers will access Wellbeing MOT’s will feel supported by project staff and peers in achieving goals to improve their wellbeing. 10 activity programmes/projects will be delivered for 167 participants, wellbeing information event and MOT’s offered to parents.
The mixed project approach has resulted in the creation of new opportunities for children that are providing parents a supported experience that allows them and their child to make connections with other families; build trust in Live Active Leisure and partners who deliver the activities; and build confidence using venues and services not used before. The benefits to parents have not been well evidenced but there are examples of strong carer peer support and new relationships being developed. Live Active Leisure and providers have been acknowledged for providing good quality and trained staff which reassures parents and allows them to relax more even when still involved in a caring capacity in some of the activities.
No specific case study available as there was no specific carer support initiatives. 73 carers have benefited from increased opportunity to engage in activities and connect with other adults and families. There is increased connecting between partners. Agencies supporting carers are now more aware of the benefits of physical activity and local opportunities and we will work to build on this and improve connections further going forward.
10 new activity programmes, parents and carers will tell us they feel more confident to access Live Active Leisure services and are happy with our service, parents will continue to participate in swimming after lesson support. 10 activity programmes/projects will be delivered, uptake of Live Active Card.
7 new activity programmes were delivered increasing the range of opportunities available in Perth & Kinross. The introduction of a dedicated additional support needs Wee Springers Session has resulted in increased parent confidence and the Creation of a permanent mainstream class that also supports transition to other activities. The increase in the availability of 1:1 swimming lessons immediately alleviated pressures on waiting lists and opened up the opportunity to school pupils who may not have considered lessons to be an option in the past. Confidence in water for the child and parent has resulted in independent attendance. The skiing lessons have opened a door for Live Active Leisure, the schools and families and everyone's confidence in the provider and the approach means that there is a commitment to delivering more programmes each year and to families attending on their own. The school residential trip provides carers with a break and time to spend with family and other siblings.
Evidence gathered had identified that there were barriers to accessing existing opportunities and considering new, adventurous activities. Programmes not available in some localities, lack of confidence to access existing opportunities, perception by parents that their child would 'disrupt' classes. Activity is too risky and there are no staff that are skilled/qualified, limited staff capacity to organise and deliver activities. The projects aimed to deliver a set of new opportunities to different markets to provide evidence of the appropriateness and effectiveness of the approaches that would then inform future core programme development by Live Active Leisure and its partners. The focus areas were, pre school activity, swimming lessons, adventurous - skiing and enhanced holiday, school residential trip. All activities will now be delivered with partners on a rolling basis. The availability of the new programmes has had a very positive impact on participants and their families. Parent/carer/staff feedback, ' X really loves the class, there is absolutely nothing else like this for him locally' ' One child who wasn't comfortable in big open spaces like our gym came over on his own without prompting or his comforter. The teacher said this was a major thing for him as he viewed the bench as a 'safe space' and would always need encouragement to go over' 'Instructor Karen was amazing and knew exactly how to make X comfortable without making her pressurised to do things' 'As a school we aim to achieve a Residential Trip now each year, however it is very difficult to plan and ensure we build a relevant, fun and supported trip due to a more limited range of sites and services available. Therefore the costs in making this happen also increase, so support from funding such as Better Breaks is invaluable to help ensure our young people have a full Residential Experience as their sisters and brothers do, and providing their families with the security and comfort knowing they are enjoying themselves away from home, giving the family and siblings quality time together too.' We have evidence that families have taken up activity independently of the programmes as a result of increased confidence.
Some programmes are mainstreamed in to venue and community team programmes, programme evaluation tells us we have delivered programmes that meets needs and identifies where there are still unmet needs to inform future plans/Live Active Leisure is recognised in the third sector as a trusted provider of opportunities.
Live Active Leisure and its partners have successfully delivered a range of programmes that respond directly to needs that have been identified in relation to disabled children/young people and their carers. Programmes have either been mainstreamed or are committed to by partners to continue to deliver in future and to work together to secure resources to do this. Our evaluation could have been stronger but we have good evidence of satisfaction of participant and carers in relation to the sessions offered, their quality and their impact. We need to invest in further engagement activity directly with the priority groups ourselves rather than through partners. Live Active Leisure is now recognised by schools, third sector partners as a provider of opportunities for children and young people with a disability.
Live Active Leisure is now leading some work with a network of local partners who provide support and opportunistic for disabled people and their families. The aim is to improve coordination of the design, delivery and promotion of opportunities for disabled people. This will include shared approaches to engagement and mapping of needs, creating a shared training pathway and joint approaches to funding and resourcing. The Better Breaks funding has increased Live Active Leisure's understanding of short breaks and how the Trust can contribute locally. We have gaps in the equity of offer across Perth and Kinross. Our work with SHIP in the support of wrap around care in the holidays is the best example of a clearer understanding of the expertise and roles that each partner can play. Our Active Schools and Venue teams are more aware of local needs and have identified that further training and experience in working with our partners would be beneficial to improve our offer for short breaks.