Short Breaks for Children with Additional Support Needs and their Families
A story by Central Carers Association (Falkirk and Clackmannan)
We provided short break activity opportunities for children with additional support needs and their families across Falkirk and Clackmannanshire.
The project supports families to have new and fun experiences together, building relationships and providing a break from the stress of caring.
What Short Breaks for Children with Additional Support Needs and their Families did
The project has delivered 6 short break activity days to children with additional support needs and their families; 2 summer outings to East Links Park and the Tall Ship Museum, 3 Christmas Pantomime outings and 1 outing in March to Glasgow Science Centre.
123 children and 121 parent carers participated in the outings across the year. Parent carers who currently access support from the Carers Centre were provided with the opportunity to apply, in addition to the outings being shared on social media and through third sector organisations and newsletters.
The outings enabled families to spend quality time together, which develops and improves positive relationships, which better supports carers to sustain their caring role by reducing stress and anxiety. The activities focused on building confidence, self esteem and emotional health and wellbeing.
What Central Carers Association (Falkirk and Clackmannan) has learned
The project has once again learned that families prefer smaller group outings, more frequently rather than one large one per year. This once again reflected in the activity choices. The Christmas Pantomime outings continue to provide a great opportunity for families to come together at what can be a difficult time for many.
How Central Carers Association (Falkirk and Clackmannan) has benefitted from the funding
By securing Better Breaks funding, the Carers Centre has once again been able to continue to provide outings to children with additional support needs and their families, demonstrating the breath of knowledge, support and services available.
100% of children and young people will have enjoyed the outings.
This outcome was fully achieved. 123 children and young people participated in the outings across the year and 100% reported that they benefited from and enjoyed the experience.
Prior to attending the Better Breaks outings, one family struggled to access activities in the local community due to the anxiety and stress experienced by their child with additional support needs. One of the reasons they decided to take part in the Better Breaks outing was the opportunity to gain peer support and support from Carers Centre staff should any challenges arise. This family successfully attended the Christmas Pantomime and Glasgow Science Centre outing, and both went exceptionally well, which has meant the young person has been able to start going out for short periods of time in their local community again, increasing their confidence and reducing the additional pressure on the family.
100% of parent carers will have had a break from their caring role.
This outcome was achieved, 121 parent carers participated in the outings, and in turn, were able to build positive family relationship, improve their confidence and improve their emotional health and wellbeing.
80% of parents carers will have improved confidence in their caring role through peer support/ emotional support.
This outcome was achieved, 121 parent carers participated in the short break activity days and nearly all gained from having peer support from other families, providing each other with emotional support. By attending outings with other families, parent carers are more able to build their confidence to go out with their family again in the future as they will have gained experience and knowledge from the Better Breaks outings.
One parent carer said that due to the needs of their children, one being deaf and the other diagnosed with Autism, it was wonderful to have an extra pair of eyes and an extra pair of hands on the outing, they really benefited from having the peer/emotional support from other parent carers and this has helped their confidence, and provided a very positive first experience of the short break activity days. Many families also commented on the positive aspect of transport being provided, this lessened stress and anxiety around the trips and provided extra opportunities for families to interact with one another and for parent carers to catch up.
80% of parent carers will have had a positive break/ day out with their family.
This outcome was fully achieved. 100% of the parent carers who participated in the short break activity days reported that they thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and benefited from having time together as a family, knowing there was other support available from peers and carer centre staff.
Parent carers have all said that one of the most enjoyable aspects of having a short break is the opportunity to have lunch with other families/ parent carers in similar situations and that many of the children and young people enjoy spending time with each other while their parents chat and catch up.