A story by The Saturday Cafe Clubs SCIO
We provided short breaks from care for carers of adults with complex support needs by enabling carers to participate in activities of choice free from their role as carer whilst their cared-for adult is participating in activities to improve their health and wellbeing and have fun with their peers.
What Ozzy's One-Ups did
The service for our One-Ups Project was increased to include a Sunday morning session to overcome the challenges we faced in relation to the COVID pandemic. This was a great success and really assisted us to embrace many more outdoor activities and continue to ensure that all our carers continued to access a short break from their caring role.
2022 was also a huge milestone for many service users as we were able throughout the year to assist these young people to discover new leisure and recreation activities meaning our Class of 2022 graduation was one of the largest transitions, we experienced from this project making this a really successful year for our service users.
2021/2022 has been about utilising our local parks with our extended Sunday Sessions mainly engaging in health and well-being activities outdoors; walking is a favourite fun activity, taking lots of pictures outdoors and sharing these in our restricted group has been of great benefit to carers and cared-for adults alike. Weather was previously a deterrent to outdoor activities, but we (staff, carers and cared-for adults) now understand it's not about the weather it's about our clothing to ward off the cold and rain and this turned into a fun element of our weekly adventure walks - bright jackets became the hot-topic for our trendy adults.
Over the winter months and the dark nights, we were able to bring our cared-for adults back indoors (some of the time) - using each week to build our social network of friends and really support them to make arrangements to continue these friendships out with the Club environment. Engaging in outings and visits to other leisure / recreation establishments continued to be difficult at the end of 2021 into 2022, but we managed a couple over the months February to April really built on these through May - July ensuring we had as much exposure to many different fun leisure activities.
A significant challenge has been (and continues to be) staffing. For 2022/23 we have not applied for funding for the project as we currently have 6 service using families (7 cared-for adults) using the service and we are confident that we can support this provision in-house.
What The Saturday Cafe Clubs SCIO has learned
We have been honoured and delighted to deliver our creative breaks funded project for many years. Over the years the project evolved and became more and more led by our adult service users. Our creative breaks funded project finished in October 2022, but our One-Ups service will continue to support young adults transitioning from our Ozzy's Youth Club to adult service leisure providers.
Over the years we have learned that you have to be prepared for change and this was most challenging over the CoVID period, but we also learned that we have an amazing team of Trustees and staff and service users and with that blend we were able to face these challenges head on and find a positive way forward.
How The Saturday Cafe Clubs SCIO has benefitted from the funding
The organisation has grown and extended service provision thanks to Creative Breaks funding. Over the years we have accessed this funding we have supported 60 carers and 30 cared-for adults each year. We learned so much from our adult service users and from that group we have had many volunteers to our general clubs, and we are so proud to say that a One-Ups member who volunteered with us and now moved into contracted employment for us. He has brought so much to our organisation and to the children and young people who use our services
60 carers of adults with disabilities aged 20 years plus will have improved access to peer support and social activities to assist them to share achievements, discuss challenges and meet new friends / peers
Even post COVID it has been challenging to bring carers into the building and to re-build our Advisory Group. Access and egress restrictions were not fully lifted at the venue we use so we had to think of other ways to support carers to share challenges and achievements. IT seemed the obvious solution but was simply not accessible to all our carers. In discussion with carers we opted for a hybrid approach - networking via email communications and front-door moments to ensure we could capture concerns, challenges and of course achievements and share these out (when agreed) with our carer network. The other aspect was to have as many outdoor sessions as possible to ensure carers could come along, chat and meet - but as expected this was often weather dependant for our carers! Seeking feedback from carers on how we could improve in this area we were told that having 'short-breaks' was what they needed most at this time to continue to support them to engage in other activities of choice
A & A are the parents of C a young woman with additional support and learning needs. C was attending the Club throughout the COVID period and into 2022. C was one of our older members who if COVID had not come along would have transitioned from our service in 2021. C's primary carer contacted us to say how concerned she was about C's emotional wellbeing as she would have no other service to attend having not had the opportunity to transition during the pandemic. A was also concerned about C's sibling X who was struggling with her own mental health, and she felt that she also needed respite from her sibling to re-charge and spend time with her parents. We continued to support C through 2022 and we were delighted that C transitioned to other activities and graduated from the service in July 2022. A, A & X who wrote, "thank you does not seem enough for all the care you have shown Chloe and the family across the years."
30 cared for adults with complex support needs and 60 carers of the group will have participated in a range of activities to improve their physical and emotional wellbeing, attaining a minimum of 3 personal activity participation goals
Throughout the year we supported 52 individual carers and 27 cared-for adults. This is below our intended target, but 7 carers and 7 cared for adults attended 2 x weekly sessions which overall saw us deliver more short break hours. We supported these dual attendances as the carers had presented with the most need for support. We worked hard with carers and cared-for to achieve their desired goals and we are delighted to say this resulted in 18 of our cared-for adults and their carers achieving all of their goals even though some of these changed across the project year. The remaining cared-for adults and their carers achieving at least one of their goals and still excited about their time at Club and enjoying the social aspect of being with others doing activities of choice.
J is a young man with additional needs who was a member of the group pre-COVID and continued to attend throughout the life of the project. Both J and his primary carer are keen gardeners. Over the COVID period J and his carer became involved in a voluntary capacity (out with Club sessions) to tend to and maintain the outdoor areas around the venue, and when J's carer returned to work, we continued to support J to come along as a volunteer doing the thing, he loved best gardening. Over the school breaks (2022) J's involvement as a volunteer increased and he became involved in our Cafe Holiday Project. With the support of J's dad over Summer 2022 we were able to have gardening sessions for all the young people at our Holiday Clubs and even recruited another carer with our gardening maintenance. J's dad told us that the time spent gardening with J was precious - the time spent socially together was of mutual benefit to both dad and son and really helped dad develop a greater confidence in J's ability to work and play on his own. Being outdoors engaged in an activity we both love was a life saver over the COVID pandemic and beyond. We are also happy to report that at the end of the project J continues to volunteer in our gardens (without dad) and he "simply loves it" - that is J's own words.
60 carers of adults with complex support needs will have a minimum of 3 hours additional short break time free from their role of carer
With 52 individual carers and 27 cared-for adults being supported we fell short of the planned outcome in attendances, but we exceeded the overall care hours we provided to carers. By increasing our service provision to an average of 6 hours weekly we extended care hours for those carers most in need.
C is a mature young man with complex needs. C was finding it challenging to be in social settings which his carers felt was exasperated by the COVID pandemic as his other service providers were closed. C joined us in June 2020 - his carers were unsure if C would settle into the sessions. From March 2022 we started to support C to transition to other adult leisure services - we supported him to attend our Sunday morning walking group which helped him to transition to other outdoor groups with peers from Club. Craig graduated from our sessions in summer 2022 and now has a wider group of social activities with his peers.