SNAP Short Breaks 2018-19
A story by SNAP (Special Needs Action Project)
We provided short breaks for carers by offering their child or young person (aged 5-20) with substantial special needs 6 hour breaks and weekend breaks of up to 48 hours.
This provided social, recreational and leisure opportunities for the young people whilst giving a valuable break for carers
What SNAP Short Breaks 2018-19 did
We delivered 30 short breaks of on average 6 hours with activities from rock pooling at local beaches, trips to landmark forest adventure park, pizza making to boxing sessions, tennis sessions and sensory workshops. Children were invited to attend each session in groups loosely based on their ages and stages and friend groupings with careful attention paid to new friendship groupings to encourage socialisation. Activities were chosen by and with the children.
57 places were filled at a total of 6 sleepovers in places such as Lateron Wheel in Caithness, Badaguish in Aviemore, Findorn, Aberfeldy and Lagganlia. As above, children were invited dependent firstly on friendship groupings and if spaces were available through some children not being able to attend, careful consideration was given to filling the space. Because carers knew in well in advance of each short break, whether for 6 hours or 48 hours, they were able to plan their own "free" time accordingly.
We were able to take 2 brothers on the same weekend break which allowed their parents to have a weekend break in London - the first time they had every done so. Other parent simply used the time to recharge their batteries, or re-decorate their children's bedroom, or send some quality time with their other children.
Obviously, having the correct staffing in place is a priority and SNAP has always been so lucky to be able, on the whole, to retain their staff so that we are well known in the local area as a staff who really get to know the children. This means staff are able to push boundaries if they know children are capable of doing that bit more, like trying new foods or activities and parents gave said how much they value this side of SNAP.
Regular staff training is obviously also very important to us, and this is also something that SNAP takes very seriously and we are always looking out for new training which will increase staff knowledge and confidence. We were able to take several children on weekend breaks who had never stayed away from parents before something we feel absolutely honoured that parents places much trust in us, so we feel the project has been a success.
What SNAP (Special Needs Action Project) has learned
By getting to know families as a whole, and not just the child who uses our services, we can better understand the needs and therefore target help and support as and when needed.
Planning breaks well in advance really allows carers and parents to plan their own activities so they also have a well planned and meaningful break and taking our children away on short breaks really allows us to get to know them better and we feel so lucky to be able to do what we do and have such good relationships with parents.
Having an open door to help parents whose children haven't accessed a short break before helps to allay any fears and worries. We always spend a lot of time with new parents so they understand what their child will gain from coming.
How SNAP (Special Needs Action Project) has benefitted from the funding
Funding this time allowed us to travel slightly further afield than we have previously fo this age group, to a place with a pool which the kids loved they were exhausted and slept well when they got home! Funding allowed us to take some interested kids along to a Sunday boxing group which was a new link with the Can Do project. This was a 6 week course and children got a certificate and medal at the end. One of the attendees still goes each week which is fabulous as it has given him a new interest. SNAP continue to learn from each and every activity we undertake with this funding. We feel that receiving this funding opens up other sources of funding which is very important at a time when funding is short in amount but high in demand.
45 children will attend a 6 hour break approximately one a month.
Project outcome achieved 45 children had a Saturday or Sunday outing once a month
X had been on our waiting list for more years than we were happy to admit, but we offered them a place during 2018 to come and try our after school club. At the age of 15, this young person had been taught in a class on their own due to their extreme anxieties and autism. Mum said she didn't think they would be able to tolerate other kids, but in typical SNAP fashion we wanted to give this teenager the opportunity to try our activities. All children who attend our after school clubs can then access our Saturday outings and our weekend breaks, so we needed to get to know this young person first before being able to offer the breaks funded by this project. It is has been a huge success for all concerned so far. Mum is delighted. Dad wishes that they had pushed them to attend SNAP years ago and feels they have missed out on s much as a result but is just so delighted to see their young person actively taking part in activities with groups of 8 to 15 young people it has got them off social media and gaming and actually interacting with people, and looking forward to coming each week. Once their young person started to access Saturday 6 hour breaks, they were able to get a proper break, giving them time to recharge. This young person has still to access a weekend break, but we're working on it and are so looking forward to seeing what else we can do with this teen.
By having had planned breaks from the caring role, parents and carers have improved wellbeing. Children will have had more access to leisure and social opportunities, also resulting in increased wellbeing.
This project outcome was fully achieved. Carers have provided feedback to staff which shows they feel they have improved well being through their children's regular access to SNAP short breaks, they feel happy that their child are accessing more leisure and social pursuits and in that they feel happier and their family are also happier as a result.
X will not leave the house unless it is to go out with Mum or to go to SNAP. The chance for X to access a short break with SNAP gives mum a much needed break and it is something she looks forward to and needs, especially during the long summer holiday period. Mum is home all day and Dad work very long hours to support the family. Extended family used to help to give mum a break, but fell they are now too old and don't have enough energy to cope, so mum has told us how much she values and needs SNAP short breaks to give her a break its what keep her going.
68 carers will have a 6 hour break, relaxed in the knowledge their child is in safe hands with SNAP. If they so desire, they can access activities which take them outside their caring role or just relax, and take time to recharge.
68 carers have been able to have a 6 hour break whilst their child is at SNAP.
We have two brothers who have been coming to SNAP for a few years. Their first language is polish and the only family they have in our area are Mum and Dad. Due to the high needs of the boys, their parents have never had a break away together since before their eldest was born. Due to the difference in ages of the boys, they normally come to us on separate days. This allowed their parents to spend valuable time with each of them on a one to one basis, but did not give their parents a proper break. Through SNAP staff getting to know the family, we asked if they would like us to take the boys away on a sleepover together to give them (the parents) a break. Mum had concerns as the younger brother would not eat at all when away from home, even at school. During our shorter 6 hour breaks over a period of time, we managed to get him to eat for us, so Mum felt relaxed enough to be able to allow for both of her boys to go on a 48 hour break, so relaxed, in fact, that her and her husband booked a trip to London and had an amazing time. SNAP were so pleased to be able to make such a difference to this families life in this way. The younger brother now also eats a lot more in general when away from home, and at school.
68 parents and carers of children who attend SNAP will have a 28 or 48 hour break whilst their children go on a “Sleepover” break with their peers and SNAP staff.
Fully achieved. 68 parents and carers of children who attend SNAP have had a 28 or 48 hour break whilst their children go on a “Sleepover” break with their peers and SNAP staff.
Both parents are extremely supportive but their child's behaviour and issues obviously have a knock on effect to their own mental health. We have supported this amazing young person through sitting their exams, and through some major transitions in his life. Mum has said how much she values the support she has received from SNAP staff. Her young person finds it difficult to join in with the fun and frolics at SNAP initially but quickly gets drawn into activities he just can't help himself, so it really take him out of himself. To be able to take him away for a whole weekend is immeasurable both in terms of the effect it has on his mood and behaviour, but also in terms of the knock on effect once he goes home and has so much to talk about to his parents. SNAP staff feel truly privileged to be able to play such a role in the lives of our children and their families