Short Break Activities for Easterhouse Kinship Group
A story by Barnardo's Youth Involvement and Family Suport Project
The Easterhouse Kinship Grup is part of the Banardo’s Youth Involvement and Family Support Project covering the whole of the North East of Glasgow. The group is made up of kinship carers stemming from families affected by substance misuse issues.
The Project sought funding to plan and deliver a programme of short break activities, which was designed, and run, by the Easterhouse Kinship Group. The short breaks benefited the members of the Easterhouse Kinship Carers Group and the children and young people they care for.
What Short Break Activities for Easterhouse Kinship Group did
The Kinship group was very active over the past year. The carers met on a weekly basis for their weekly support group. This took place on Tuesday mornings mostly within the project service base or any other community venue of the carers' choice.
The short break activities were fully planned and chosen by the kinship carers themselves and benefited all their family members. These included a trip to the Christmas Panto, a trip to Blairdrummond Safari Park, the People's palace and a short break to Crieff Hydro during the Easter Holidays among others.
Due to John's attachment issues he barely left his grandmother's side, meaning that Joan was unable to have time to herself - a break from caring in essence. This grant enabled John and his grandmother, together with other grandparents and their grandchildren to have a short break away at Crieff Hydro. Project staff were also on hand to provide support. As part of the break, the facility also provided educational and leisure clubs running twice a day which allowed Joan and other grandparents time for themselves eg to use pool, walks round the estate.
As a result John was able to build relationships with other kinship children over this time and Joan was visibly so happy to see John getting involved with activities such as having fun with other children in the pool. Equally important Joan was able to receive valuable support from her peers, project staff and resort staff - sharing the load together and allowing her time for herself outwith her role of kinship carer - "It was great watching John enjoying himself with other children".
A festive Christmas Pantomine was chosen. The location of the pantomime was kept relatively local to keep the activity accessible however due to the grant given, transport was also made available which was vital for each family in enabling them to attend. This activity was particularly valuable to each and every family member involved as was clearly evident and evidenced thereafter.
For Margaret, Bill and grandchildren this provided a unique opportunity to get out of the house and to spend time together as a full family: having fun, relaxing, talking together, eating all together at a time of year which can be particularly stressful for families as Margaret states "gave the chance for the whole family to get together and have good fun. The weans loved it and it made me feel really good that we could do this all together".
What Barnardo's Youth Involvement and Family Suport Project has learnedThe fund made a tremendous difference to the Service we were able to offer to our kinship carers. Their families are faced by significant financial hardship and thus this fund enabled us to offer activities they would not otherwise have been able to access for themselves.
The benefits were further extended to all the members of their families who were also able to benefit from the activities on offer. This has been significant learning as the kinship carers involved highlighted that they felt that their other grandchildren, not in their direct care, at times were missing out on opportunities to spend time together as the had to prioritise the needs of the grandchildren in their care. This grant enabled them to do so, but furthermore created positive family memories together and fostering resilience and improved well-being for the carers themselves.