Quarriers Chavey Chill Out
A story by Quarriers
Chavey Chill Out provided small groups of children and young people with disabilities and multiple support needs of similar ages and interests, regular opportunities to meet, socialise and do things they enjoy.
Basically to “hang out” and chill with their friends doing things they wanted to do.
What Quarriers Chavey Chill Out did
25 Chill Out sessions were held over the year. This benefited 39 carers, from 24 families, who enjoyed breaks totaling 828 hours. 24 individual children/young people visited the Chill Out 82 times to enjoy 492 hours of activities.
All targets were met or almost met with the exception of hours of service delivered, actual 1320, target 1782. The main reason for this shortfall was the withdrawal of transport by the local authority, transport which had taken the young people directly from school to the Chill Out. A number of parents found it difficult to organise transport to take their child from home to the Chill Out.
The Chill Out sessions have been successful. One contributing factor to this success is the familiarity the children have with the building and with the staff, who know them and understand their needs. A wide range of activities have taken place at the Chill Out, the overwhelming majority of which happened in direct response to what the children and young people chose. The Chill Out has had positive impacts on children/young people's behaviour, social contacts, development of life skills and readiness to try out different options.
It has given them the chance to relax, be themselves and explore friendships and activities at their own pace and in their own way. This has included soft play, garden time, stories and DVDs, 1:1 computer time, interactive music, sensory baths and lights, arts and crafts activities, making health food, interactive music, and Xbox competitions.
Carers have spent their break time in a variety of ways including pursuing existing hobbies or learning new ones; visiting friends or relatives; spending time with other siblings; doing things they find relaxing such as a trip to the cinema or going on a walk, or catching up on chores.
What Quarriers has learned
Carers value the service the Chill Out provides. They clearly see the benefits it provides to their children and young people, and to themselves, and their wider family.
During 2014/15 parents in East Renfrewshire were able, if they wished, to access Self Directed Support payments. However when asked about moving the Chill Out onto a more sustainable footing by paying for the service, almost all of the parents said this would be a challenge for them. Over the coming period Quarriers will work co-productively with carers to gain a better understanding of such challenges, try and identify ways of overcoming them, and set out a plan for a way forward.
We have learned that there is a need to be prepared for the unexpected. In our case the withdrawal of third party transport, which brought children and young people from school to the Chavey Chill Out, made it difficult for some children and young people to continue to attend. In future we will build contingency planning into our project planning, especially when a third party has what appears to be a peripheral, but nevertheless important role to play.
The Quarriers Chavey Down service has deepened its understanding about the impact short breaks can have on children and young people and their carers. It has also broadened its experience of delivering short breaks and extended its knowledge about the sort of practice that contributes to successful breaks.