A story by RNIB Scotland
RNIB Activate Project provided a combination of 2 Family Fun Days, 2 Residential Activity Breaks ‘Stepping Out’ for 11-13 years and ‘Promoting Independence’ for 14-18 years
We provided family weekend breaks to develop confidence and personal independence for blind/partially sighted children and young people while supporting parent/carers and providing a respite break for the whole family.
What RNIB Activate did
All activities were delivered on time and within budget. Stepping Out Summer Camp (10-13 years) 13- 17th July 2015
11 blind and partially sighted Children aged 10-13 years attended a 5 day residential Camp at Auchengillan Outdoor Centre, Glasgow. Supported by 6 RNIB volunteers children experienced a range of exciting activities including kayaking, abseiling, crate-building and archery. Workshops promoted independent living and learning through confidence development, cooking skills, accessible technology and peer support sessions.
Promoting Independence Summer Camp (14 -18 years) on 27-31st July 2015, 15 Young People attended our Summer Camp at Broomlee Outdoor Centre, Scottish Borders. This 5 day residential focused on the particular needs of blind and partially sighted teenagers as they prepare for post-16 transition. The tailored programme included various activities including tree-climbing, archery, survival skills and kayaking, with additional input on independent living, travel, confidence development, peer relationships, personal care, assistive technology, employability.
Aberdeen City/Shire Complex Needs/Visual Impairment Family Day on 2nd October 2015. This Family Fun Day was attended by 11 families and provided specific activities that were accessible for this particular group of individuals. We worked in partnership with 2 local authority Sensory Impairment Education teams, the North East Sensory Service, PAMIS and Cornerstone to deliver sensory story-telling, music therapy, arts and crafts activities and also workshops for the parents on Self Directed Support, Guardianship and 'Story-telling for Parents'.
Grangemouth Family Fun Day on 1st November 2015. This Family Fun Day involved activities In the morning for the whole family including, Archery, Song-writing sessions, Petting Zoo, Pirate ship-building, Climbing Wall. In the afternoon, parents were introduced to relevant agencies who would help with their child's disability.
Residential Family weekend Edinburgh on 5-6 March 2016. This was a fun family weekend attended by 17 families with visit to the Zoo and Ratho Climbing Centre.
"He was really nervous about going, and we had to really encourage him a little. He knew Dominic from some of the school support delivered by RNIB, but this was different. It was a good idea to meet before the Camp. It gave Mohammed a chance to get to know the other kids beforehand. While he was away it gave us time so that we could spoil our daughter for a while. We feel she is often overlooked because we need to focus so much on him. That sounds terrible, but she must not lose out just because her brother is blind".
"I need you to know how much this has helped me. I felt lost and nobody around me fully got it. It was lovely to meet **** and ****. Their support and encouragement has been invaluable. It was also helpful to listen to and meet other visually impaired Young People when Haggeye did their presentation.. They were great and I now know everything is going to be ok. Thank you so much".
What RNIB Scotland has learnedDifference made to organisation, RNIB Scotland has been able to significantly improve and strengthen our reach to families living with sight loss. We have also used the evidence gained from families through funding to inform the development of the IRISS Early Intervention project for West and Central Scotland. This project now delivers practical and emotional support to families from diagnosis and for several months after. We spoke to CYP and their families through our events and this helped us to develop and obtain funding for this innovative initiative.
We have learned to plan events throughout the year more effectively giving participants plenty of notice . This also maximises time for preparation and to guarantee that families buy in. They can have time to prepare the young people too.
We have been able to broaden our reach across Scotland as Activate is now appreciated as an excellent resource by professionals working with our families. For example teachers of the Visually Impaired identify young people and promote our events for us. Parents recognise the value of the project and use it as an opportunity to tap into other Services RNIB can offer. Shared Care Scotland support has enabled that to happen and families feel better supported as a result.