A story by SNAP (Special Needs Action Project)
We provided fun and exciting leisure and social activities for young people, that could be enjoyed with their friends, both in their local community and further afield.
The chance to access these activities would not ordinarily be available to our young people without support from family
What SNAP Breaks did
The majority of our activities and trips away are suggested by our young people. We delivered 22 x 6 hour Saturday Out & About Breaks and 6 X 48 hour breaks. Some of the activities we have done over the past year, Bonfire party, Cinema, Tai Chi, Rock Music Workshop, Pamper Day, Archery, Sausage Sizzle, Beach visits, BBQs, Paint Party, Girls Night In, Swimming, Garden Party, Dolphin Watching, Sports Day, Art Attack, Safari Park visit, Christmas Party, Yoga, Massage, Karaoke, Go Karting
Places we have stayed included, Badaguish stayed in a lodge in the Aviemore area. We had a fairly chilled weekend did some Christmas activities and went to the cinema. Lagannlia stayed in a lodge and had great fun with snow all around! Snowball fights and rambles in the forest. Embo twice, with 2 different groups. Stayed in 2 large caravans (first time we have stayed in this type of accommodation). Our accommodation was right on the beach which we took great advantage of, we walked, paddled, built sandcastles, swam and generally mucked about in and around the water. We went into Dornoch and also accessed onsite facilities in the campsite such as evening entertainment and swimming pool.
Ardenbeg we stayed in a bunkhouse in Grantown on Spey. A high energy, boys only weekend they went Go Karting and 10 pin bowling. We took one of our young men away for the first time away from home without his parents. Aberdeen stayed in 3 apartments in the city. We went shopping and sightseeing then went to see a show (Wonderland) at His Majesty's .
Our families told us they spent time with other siblings or family members. For some they managed to have a weekend break away or quality time with their partner or friends, for others they managed to recharge their batteries and caught up on their sleep
However this time around we were delighted we managed to persuade him and he stayed for a 48 hour break and although anxious initially he was for the majority of the time relaxed, he stuck in there with support and he really enjoyed it. He was sociable and funny and engaged with all the activities we took part in over the weekend.
He was ecstatic that he managed to do it, his self- esteem was through the roof! He couldn't wait to tell people and was making suggestions on where our next break would be. This positivity also reverberated further, as his confidence boosted and his anxiety lessened he coped easier with things in his life for some time after this one weekend.
The staff know her extremely well and are very tuned into her methods of communication, which means that there is no frustration surrounding her integrating into the group or her communicating her needs, they can also take care of all her other support needs. She loves coming to us. While she is with us her mum gets a regular break where she stops thinking about Chloe's needs coming first and devotes time to working a few hours in a part time job which has enabled her to make social connections elsewhere, whilst generating some extra finance for the family home, also in addition she has recently taken up studying.
She has told us what a difference it makes to them both to spend that time apart from each other. She has said that she feels that if her daughter hadn't had SNAP in her life she thinks Chloe would have drifted into depression and as a mum she couldn't fill that gap in her life for her it needed to be filled with other people and especially with friends. These breaks have allowed them to maintain their caring and positive relationship with each other and both are benefiting from that same break in different ways.
His mum managed to have a break and managed to spend some quality time with John's sibling doing activities that they both loved, putting a priority on what they wanted to do. John while he was away with us this year was an absolute joy it was like he gave himself permission to have fun silly weekends, his normal demeanour is quite passive and quiet but so many times we heard him absolutely belly laugh at the goings on over the weekend, he was part of the group, and everyone so loved to see him like that. This weekend was again a mutually beneficial experience for both carer and cared for.
What SNAP (Special Needs Action Project) has learnedWe have learned that as always it is so important that we adapt and change to continue to offer challenges to our young people and just as importantly to offer some fun. The grant allows us to provide what we think are vital services for our over 20's, there are very few other opportunities for this age group to socialise together like this.
We ask our young adults what they like to do most and without doubt it is our weekend breaks that comes out on top time and time again. Our carers tell us that nobody else is offering them these services.