A story by Enable
A school holiday club that provides specialist support, play and learning opportunities to young people with a disability, whilst providing short break/respite time to parents/carers. Young people are encouraged to participate, have fun and engage with peers whilst achieving individual outcomes.
What RASCALS FUNSHINE did
We delivered RASCALS FUNSHINE holiday club throughout Easter, Summer and October school holidays. The club was impacted again by not having access to a building base. Despite searching, we have been unsuccessful in sourcing a new building to use. The staff have responded positively and creatively to not having access to the building base and activities have continued to take place in the homes and local communities of the young people, as well as having day trips and outings.
Supporting the young people at FUNSHINE has provided parents/carers with the opportunity to continue employment and spend time with their other children. It has also given some much needed respite time to do things important to them such as shopping and leisure activities. Parents have said that this time has helped to sustain them in their caring role.
Staff recruitment and retention has been an issue across the sector due to many contributing factors. We have invested in our staff to ensure that they are paid competitively above the sector average to encourage more applicants. Although it has been a challenge we have recruited some new staff who are proving successful.
We have met the 4 Better Breaks priority areas, though have not had as great an impact with the project as we would have hoped due to the various difficulties experienced throughout the year. This year’s success has been our ability to continue delivering FUNSHINE despite the many challenges that we have faced. Although FUNSHINE has not been delivered to its fullest extent, the young people and their carers have benefitted from the support throughout the holidays. Another success has been the bringing together of young people from RASCALS FUNSHINE with our sister club PALS FUNSHINE as it has created opportunities to build new friendships.
What Enable has learned
1. Dealing with unexpected challenges or opportunities
There have continued to be staff shortages (similar to the experiences across the sector). However Enable implemented a Committed to Care strategy. We invest in our teams so that everyone feels included, trusted and empowered. Our people bring the benefit of all their talents, values and personality, to serving the young people we work for. Our Committed to Care ethos is our belief that to deliver human rights driven, self-directed support, we need to remove any barriers that stop our people from achieving this. That's why everyone who works with us is empowered to build genuine relationships with the people we work for, and to problem-solve, challenge and advocate for their human rights every day. Committed to Care provides all our staff, including our frontline care workforce, a minimum rate of pay no less than the real Living Wage. Other benefits include a £1,000 refer a friend payment, and a similar qualification payment for new staff who have already achieved their SVQ qualification demonstrating their personal commitment to care. This has proven to be a successful initiative that has assisted in us seeing improved trends in recruitment and retention.
We have continued to be unable to access a building base despite many attempts at sourcing something suitable. we have had to think creatively about how support can be delivered within the community. Many of the activities we have provided have never been experienced by the young people we support, thus required careful planning and risk assessing. Families have been eager to hear how the young people coped in different environments and have reported that it has given them the confidence to try different activities with their young people.
The challenge of not having a building base gave us the idea of bringing our young people together with the young people at our sister club PALS FUNSHINE. This was a great opportunity for our young people to meet and play with new young people, which was a great success.
2. Targeting families most in need of support
We continue to provide support to the young people and their families who need us most. Support has led to a greater understanding of the abilities of the young people in a non-domestic setting. Such communication and supports are key to ensuring the service makes a positive difference to families during the holiday periods.
Through recent engagement with Families and staff, the Services Manager has a good understanding of how everyone would like to see FUNSHINE develop.
3. Developing new short breaks activities
Our team is skilled in working with our young people and being able to read individual needs, especially in new settings. We have been able to provide multiple fun, entertaining, and challenging experiences. In addition to the activities on offer, we created several opportunities for the young people to come together and play with the young people from our sister club PALS FUNSHINE. This gave the opportunity to interact with new peers and build new friendships. The young people from both of these clubs benefitted from this experience.
How Enable has benefitted from the funding
The funding from Better Breaks has allowed us to deliver this much needed service in the North Lanarkshire area. As we deliver a term time after school club to many of the young people who attend FUNSHINE we understand the difficulties that some of the young people and their families experience during the school holidays. Many of the young people we support struggle with a lack of structure and routine during the holidays and their parents struggle to find appropriate resources to fill their time. Other holiday clubs do not have staff with the right knowledge and training or have sufficient staffing ratios to safely support the young people who attend FUNSHINE. We continue to have strong links with the local schools and social work department to ensure the service is known to any prospective new referrals. Word of mouth continues to prove a positive source of feedback and ongoing referral enquiries. This means that we are in a young person’s life from an early age and can support them and their family through different phases of their lives, such as transitioning from Children to Adult services. In some form or another at a time when it has never been more needed, the funding has allowed us to be flexible in our response.
12 young people will be supported to take part in our FUNSHINE holiday club, during which we will have seen evidence that they have enjoyed participating in a varied activity programme where they have built relationships with peers.
This outcome has been achieved. The young people have enjoyed the varied programme of activities adapted to meet their needs. All activities were designed to promote peer interaction, learning, and fun. Examples of activities chosen by our young people include outings to the cinema, bowling, M&D’s theme park, Glasgow Science centre and to our sister service at PALS. This provided the young people with a wide variety of different activities that catered all of their interests and needs. Some young people require fully accessible changing facilities which can limit our options due to the lack of these facilities. We always have at least two opportunities per week where we have fully accessible facilities to allow these young people the opportunity to attend. Everyone enjoyed the activities offered and each day allowed an opportunity to interact with peers in different ways to help build relationships. All progress and outcomes have been captured in daily recordings and pictures.
Two of our young people SM and ML during the October week appeared to develop a positive bond and it was evident that a friendship was growing. Both of these young people have autism, they are more independent than some of our other young people who attend and they are also both very interested in science. Conveniently they also live within the same area of North Lanarkshire only 5 minutes from each other. There is a 3 year age gap between the two boys and due to attending different schools they had not met before. During the course of the week, these two boys enjoyed sending time in each other’s company, they enjoyed the competitiveness of the bowling and the loved attending the science centre and wandering around the different experiments on display together. It was lovely to see their friendship develop and this was reported to both sets of carers. Since FUNSHINE the boys have maintained contact with one another and have regularly socialised together sometimes with the support of our children’s services Personal Assistants and sometimes organised by their parents.
26 parents/carers will have had the respite time afforded by their young person attending FUNSHINE, during which they will have enjoyed life outside of their caring role.
Due to the additional needs of the young people who attend FUNSHINE, many families struggle to find time for themselves or the siblings of our young people and everyday tasks can become a struggle due to the additional supervision our young people need. Knowing that their young people are safe and enjoying themselves at FUNSHINE allows our families to participate in a range of activities that they otherwise would be unable to do. This includes being able to attend employment, arranging activities for their other children, dealing with other caring responsibilities and household tasks or having time to themselves to take part in an activity or hobby they enjoy and to recharge themselves. All of our parents and carers reported that FUNSHINE allowed them some much needed free time during the holiday period in which they were able to participate in the activities listed above and gave them much needed respite during the holidays that they otherwise would not of had.
LD is a 13 year old male who struggles out with a one to one situation. Due to this he can become dysregulated attending our group activities and cannot manage to travel with the group on the bus. LD’s parents are separated and he spends alternate weekends with his dad, therefore mum has the majority of the caring responsibilities. Her own physical health had not been great in recent months and she has been recovering from an operation. A work around was created for LD to not have to use the bus and offer his mum at least some respite during the holiday period. It was agreed that a member of staff would collect LD from home and meet the rest of the group at our day out at PALS FUNSHINE. This way LD did not have the stress of travelling on the bus and as PALS is familiar to him from previous outings he could manage to be part of the group for at least some of the day. When things were becoming too much for LD then he could be taken for a short drive with his allocated staff member in order for him to have some time away from the group and become regulated again. This worked incredibly well and allowed LD’s mum some much needed time to catch up with friends and enjoy some free time. LD also struggles when people visit his home, and mum has advised that she misses this aspect of socialising. Therefore when LD was out with FUNSHINE mum was able to invite her friends over for lunch, enjoy her time relaxing and catching up and recharging her own emotional well-being.
26 parents/carers will have had the respite time afforded by their young person attending FUNSHINE, resulting in them feeling better supported to sustain their caring role. We will also have parents/carers utilising our Family Connect service for additional advice and support to help sustain them
FUNSHINE has provided opportunities for carers to have periods of respite that have made positive impacts on their lives. Parents have reported of the stresses of their caring role and the impact that this causes them and their family. We know of families that may have reached a point of crisis if it had not been for our support. Parents have reported that the FUNSHINE sessions have enabled them, for example to have focused time to spend with their other children and continue to work during holiday periods. Also recharge their batteries by catching up on essential tasks, taking time to enjoy a personal activity or having some valuable down time to relax and not have to worry about their caring role. We continued to encourage carers to use Family Connect, our service to help support family members and loved ones of people with a disability. We continue to gather feedback from parents and carers to influence how we further develop service to best meet the needs of parents/carers.
T&O are brothers 12 and 8 years old. Their parents both work full time and they have another brother at home who is 14 years old. T&O require constant supervision at home and they have a disrupted sleep pattern generally only sleeping for 4 hours and then are awake from the early hours of the morning. T&O’s father’s employment often has him working away from home for several weeks at a time, which means mum is regularly the sole carer. Mum is a teacher and holiday periods are important for her to recharge not just in terms of her caring responsibilities but also her professional ones. T&O’s attendance at FUNSHINE allows mum some much needed time to spend with her oldest son, catch up on sleep and also to take part in activities that she enjoys to relax, this is mainly walking with her headphones in and just allowing herself some much needed breathing space. Mum regularly reports that FUNSHINE is a ‘life saver’ for her as she knows her children are well looked after, participating in activities that they enjoy and mum receives the valuable respite that she and her other child require. Without FUNSHINE, mum has advised she would be burnt out and could not keep up the pace that her caring role regularly requires of her.
12 young people and their 26 parents/carers will report having improved wellbeing. This may be improved physical or emotional wellbeing which has resulted from the positive impact that FUNSHINE has had.
At FUNSHINE we offer the opportunity for our young people to socialise with peers and take part in activities that may otherwise be impossible for their families to arrange. Due to the needs of the young people who attend FUNSHINE they are often marginalised from everyday activities and the usual opportunities that young people have to explore peers relationships, develop new skills and interests and take part in physical exercise. FUNSHINE offers all of these opportunities through taking part in physical games and activities, seasonal themed arts and crafts and ensuring that there are group activities where the young people can learn to communicate with their peers, build friendships and learn skills such as co-operation and sharing. For parents and carers knowing that their young people are participating in these activities while being cared for and having fun allows them some much needed respite to recharge their own well being and be better prepared for their caring role.
KS is a 16yr old male who has a complex medical history and is wheelchair dependent, he also requires fully accessible changing facilities with access to a hoist. Unfortunately, due to the limited access to such facilities we cannot offer a service to KS everyday, but we do try to ensure as many outings as possible have the required facilities. KS has limited verbal communication but he can communicate in his own way and his contagious smile is one way he shares that he is enjoying himself. KS has also recently been expressing to mum that he wants more independence and he is keen to have Personal Assistants attend to his daily care needs, rather than being dependent on his carers. KS’s mum has reported that when he attends FUNSHINE his mood is lifted as he loves socialising with other people, being away from the family home and getting the opportunity to spend time with his peers. KS is also reported to sleep better after having been out with FUNSHINE. As mum and her partner are main carers to KS, it also affords them some much needed time to be together as a couple and enjoy activities on their own without having to worry about KS. Mum has stated that KS’s attendance at FUNSHINE has had a hugely positive impact on the family as a whole as they all get to experience some much needed time being separate from each other and KS is afforded the opportunity to become more independent without having to reply on his mum which is something he is so keen to have.