The Schools Out Continuation Project
A story by ENABLE Scotland
The School’s Out programme will enable children and young people with learning disabilities in Fife, Stirling and North Lanarkshire to participate in leisure activities and link into the community, allowing their family carers to take a break themselves and enjoy life outside of caring.
What The Schools Out Continuation Project did
We have recruited 1 sessional personal assistant and 3 peer volunteers. The young people engaged and were involved in our recruitment process.
Children and families receiving a service from all Enable Scotland’s services were invited to take part in the Schools Out Project. We also contacted family support workers and social work to let other families that may not have the opportunity to be aware of the project.
We supported the young people to go along to different activities, encouraged participation while having fun which supported the young person through the transition process and enabled and encouraged positive self esteem and confidence in trying new things. We offered sessions where we were based in a local community centre and also sessions where we visited external venues.
The sessions varied with the young people participating in drama, dance and music workshops and other activities such as golf, pool and badminton. This gave the young people the opportunity to learn new skills and develop their confidence. There were sessions where we used our time to incorporate travel, communication skills and socialising in the wider community.
One session was to the Edinburgh Fringe where the young people took part in an interactive show delivered by Pipe Up Productions. On another session the young people chose to visit Dynamic Earth. These activities enabled their parents / carers to use this time as they wished, to have a break, spend time with other siblings or family members.
What ENABLE Scotland has learned
The funding has enabled our young people who have multiple support needs to participate in purposeful activities of their choosing, some of which they had never done before. Our main challenge was with some providers of activities, where there wasn’t an expectation for our young people to develop and succeed within the activity. One unexpected benefit was having peer volunteers.
Our young people and their carers all positively commented on having support from someone the same age made a big difference on how they felt about themselves. All young people felt they were taking part in activities with friends rather than with support. Young people and their carers were fully involved throughout project from recruitment to planning and evaluating activities.
We have managed to attract new carers, especially those whose children have multiple support needs by offering child centred service, by identifying positive aspects of each individuals life firstly and then looking at what they may need support with.