A story by SNAP
SNAP provided fun leisure activities of 6 hours at weekends and weekend breaks of 48 and 28 hours to children aged 5 to 20 with multiple support needs.
This helped their parents and carers to have time to themselves and helped our young people to increase their independence and social skills.
What SNAP Breaks did
Recruitment, ongoing volunteer recruitment as at present we have 12 volunteers, including 3 service users. Staff recruited, 2 Relief Team Workers. In choosing who we ask to attend our breaks SNAP staff carefully consider who from our existing groups will be best suited to the activity taking place e.g. some children benefit from a relaxed atmosphere where they can just “chill out” and bond with their friends, whilst others want to be more involved and active in physical activities. We also match up according to our individuals personalities involved to make a coherent and workable group. We also most importantly take into account whether individuals would actually like to do the activity or would benefit from it in some way. Also a factor can be individual pressures that are placed on families that may necessitate them being able to access a break.
This year 27 x 6 hour breaks included the following diverse range of activities were provided, the Cinema, Snow White on Ice, activity trips, rock pooling, laser tag, bowling, grass sledging, and sports days, water zorbing, exotic animal visits, sushi making and craft days. Other types of breaks included Easter, Halloween and Christmas themes, also international days exploring different cultures.
2 x 28 hour breaks took place at Wigwams in Forres, and at railway station accommodation in Nethybridge, 6x 48 hour breaks took place at Lagganlia, Grantown, Aberdeen, Findhorn , Aviemore and Pitlochry.
Feedback from Carers told us some of the activities they did during their break. These are, attended a Ceilidh, one family had visitors to stay something unimaginable if their child was there, one parent managed to redecorate their child's room. One break was held during in-service day and the family took advantage of this to spend more quality time with their other children, for others it also removed the stress of arranging extra childcare for their children, one parent managed to take another of their children to a hospital appointment in Glasgow
The sheer bliss expressed by one set of parents, who receive no other form of respite, going out for a meal and a night out just the 2 of them!
We took her away a couple of times on weekend breaks and have let her access some of our Saturday Activity Days so she could retain her social bonds with her peers. She is supported by staff who know her extremely well, know her potential and work hard to help her get back to where she was. She so looks forward to meeting up with everyone and over a weekend she becomes the girl we know her to be vibrant, fun loving and caring.
We customised the weekend and activities around him to maximise the chances of success for him. He took part in group activities: a BBQ at the beach, helped with preparing food, went grass sledging, water zorbing and did archery with the other boys. He also shared a room with a couple of the other boys. His parents had a well earned break and this weekend away will hopefully lay the foundations for others to come.
For his 28 hour break we constructed a group which included a number of his school friends, it was an action packed physical weekend away which gave him a much needed social and physical outlet which he totally embraced.
What SNAP has learnedSNAP is grateful to Better Breaks for giving us the opportunity to provide more short breaks for our clients. Our grant has given us the means to provide a range of services which suit the varied needs of the children such as 6 hour breaks, 28 and 48 hour breaks which we tailor to every child. Challenges to our services continue to be last minute withdrawals to planned breaks. Often these are due to illness as some of our children have high medical needs. We always attempt to source replacements but this is not always possible if a child pulls out at the last minute. Our staff do make strenuous efforts to do this as far as possible.
SNAP always tries to personalise our services and will always have at the forefront of the delivery of our services suggestions from both young people and their carers on the types of activities we do, places we go and when we go.
SNAP staff work hard to encourage our new parents and carers to access our services. These parents and carers of children who are new to SNAP services often are reluctant to leave them for prolonged periods of time but our staff work hard to gain their confidence and the confidence of their children to make them feel happy about allowing their children to go away with us. If the carers have absolute confidence in the SNAP staff then they will enjoy their own breaks much more and better relax.