We have delivered three Fun and Friendship Youth Clubs every week enabling 37 young people aged 12-18 with additional support needs to attend a weekly social club.
The Clubs ran Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings as planned and enabled young people to attend a weekly social experience independently of their parents/carers and enjoy building friendships and new fun activities.
At the same time, their parents enjoyed the regular break from their caring responsibilities and had the opportunity to spend quality time with their partners, friends, or with their other children.
To date we have delivered:
• 3 x 48 hour weekend breaks – to Lagannlia near Aviemore, Grantown on Spey and Nethy Bridge.
• 1x 28 hour weekend break on the banks of Loch Ness. We have stayed in accommodation as diverse as bunkhouses, wigwams, chalets and a converted railway station.
• 9 x 6hr (Out & Abouts) breaks, Out & About in the community or based at Drummond School. Our activities have ranged from den building, swimming, Art & Craft days, going to Eden Court to see the Singing Kettle, go-Karting, trips to town for the teens and watching Inverness Caley matches to name but a few.
We exceeded our target level of services and activities delivered with the creation of a new project worker post.
This gave us the resource to expand our one to one and literacy skills work as well as providing the following; Sunday evening club, afterschool workshops, leisure club, drama group, outings, outdoor activities and adventure holidays.
The project has delivered 61 one to one sessions for 27 young people aged12-20 years and provided respite to 50 carers .The coordinator has carried out 27 detailed assessments of needs for 27 young people and 50 assessment of needs for 50 carers.
Young people have been supported by staff to plan and access activities e.g. attending local youth clubs, meet friends for cinema and bowling trips, participate in community events, visits to the science centre,art gallery , shopping , sports etc.
Carers have been able to access gyms, visit relatives, pursue hobbies, relax and have time to themselves.
During the last 8 months PLUS has succeeded in providing a flexible and creative respite service for 24 children and young people and their families.
We have listened to the requirements of both parents and children in order to meet their needs. Since April 2013 we have enabled 40 parents/carers to have regular breaks from caring. We met with each family prior to getting breaks underway and we assessed the needs of the children and young people and agreed individual outcomes with parents/carers .
Some breaks are taken at home and others take place out in the community. Activities have ranged from story-telling, craft and baking to horse-riding. We have on some occasions, linked up with other children/carers during breaks to facilitate social opportunities.
We have delivered three residential breaks for children and young people affected by disability; 11 children and young people benefitted from these breaks. One residential break was for 4 young carers.
These breaks took place at Wiston Lodge which provides outdoor and bush craft experiences.
The children and young people participated in wall climbing, archery, nature walks, welly walks, camp fires and group/team building exercises. Children were asked to step out of their usual comfort zones to try new activities and to build on there existing skills and abilities.
Opportunity PLUS has delivered 57 x 2 hour play sessions for children aged 3-5 years with disabilities and 57 x 2 hour sessions of free time for parents/carers.
Children participate in baking, arts and crafts, free play and sensory play in small groups. Siblings aged 3-5 years are able to attend sessions as well which, in some instances, ensures a more complete break for the parents/carers.
Some parents/carers opt to spend time in our family room whilst others choose to do some grocery shopping or to spend time with their other children. In addition to this, transport was provided to some families to remove access as the barrier to inclusion in the project.
To date we have held four events: a night out bowling, a DVD & pizza night at our main base in Edinburgh, a bonfire and BBQ within a community garden, and a Festive Fun party to celebrate the holidays coming. 35 young folk have attended between 1 and 4 events of their choosing, with each attending an average of 2 so far.
We provided a weekend camp (Friday 17th May – Sunday 19th May) for the whole family who have a child with a serious illness or condition.
Using our Therapeutic Recreation model, our families participated in age appropriate activities ranging from ropes course, games, arts and crafts. The weekend gave families an opportunity to focus on being together as family.
The Voucher Scheme enabled families to access activities such as swimming, dancing, out for something to eat visits to the animal farms, sensory rooms within the Renfrewshire area an outwith.
The Scheme has so far delivered 1472 hours of respite to 22 families, 38 adult carers, 19 young Carers and 26 young people with multiple complex needs. Families have accessed personalised tailor made respite through redemption of Care Vouchers to Care companies.