SNAP Short Breaks for Carers of Adults aged 21 and over
A story by SNAP (Special Needs Action Project)
We provided weekend breaks and outings for adults aged 21 years plus who have substantial special needs, providing opportunities for our young adults to reduce their social isolation, try activities with support and thereby giving their carers a well deserved break.
What SNAP Short Breaks for Carers of Adults aged 21 and over did
SNAP delivered a total of 20 “Out & Abouts” throughout the year – 6 hour breaks to a total group of 26 young people aged over 21. This allowed their carers valuable, planned time away from their caring role which allowed them to spend quality time with other family members or friends, or simply relax, safe in the knowledge their young person was having fun times with friends in a safe environment.
All activities were planned and decided upon by the young people accessing the service and as such, they differed greatly depending on the needs, likes and dislikes of the young people attending. Activities such as a pizza making night, boxing sessions, pamper sessions, archery sessions, cinema trips, bowling, cycling, masterchef, and a nightclub night (held in an inflatable nightclub) were enjoyed immensely and were all in the local area of Inverness. In addition to this, craft and art, days out to the beach and just hanging out with friends at SNAP are forever popular too.
SNAP also delivered 4x2 night “Sleepovers” one in caravans at Embo, where our young adults had a great weekend despite the weather, they went to the Friday night entertainment night on the site, played pool and air hockey in the arcade, went to the park, played tennis, went to the beach, went swimming, had a BBQ on the Saturday evening. Everyone loved it, whilst parents were able to go camping for the weekend, “gutted the house”, had a quiet weekend, had a night out, or went out for dinner.
Some other weekends away were in the Aviemore area, at Badaguish and Lagganlia. We were able to access a wide range of activities such as forest walks, play tennis, badminton, football, Archery, beach visits, river paddling, roasting marshmallows. Young adults tried foods they hadn’t tried before and some were pleasantly surprised, others less so!
Comments received were that they had fabulous times away with friends “I feel like it’s being with my other family” Parents were able to plan weekends away, have a catch up with friends, spend quality time with siblings, or just relax at home.
What SNAP (Special Needs Action Project) has learned
Project planning, each short break needs to be planned well in advance to allow carers to have a meaningful, well planned break. Dealing with unexpected challenges or opportunities, we have learned always to expect the unexpected!
Investing time and energy in those families who have not used a SNAP short break before reaps benefits, for us, for the young adult and their families and is so worthwhile on so many levels.
How SNAP (Special Needs Action Project) has benefitted from the funding
The funding from The Short Breaks Fund, Creative Breaks programme allowed us to continue to run our short breaks service for this age group, giving their carers a much needed break. Our breaks are well known for being extremely fun and rewarding as well as good value for money, so it also strengthened our reputation.
50 carers will have experienced increased wellbeing
43 carers had access to a planned short break. In all, we ran 5 48 hour weekend breaks. This allowed carers time to relax or catch up with other family members or friends, safe in the knowledge their young person was being well looked after with people who knew him/her well. Some parents were able to plan a weekend away, or a meal out with friends.
One family seldom spend time doing “family activities” due to the disabilities of both of their boys. However, when their eldest was on a sleepover with us, they were able to go wild berry picking with their younger son, something they were able to plan for and which they wouldn’t have done with both boys. Fantastic quality time spent meant increased wellbeing for the whole family.
50 carers will tell us they have had the opportunity to enjoy activities outside their caring role. They will look relaxed and invigorated by their short break.
We ran a total of 20 “Out & Abouts”, which resulted in 26 young people having access to activities with their friends at SNAP. Carers could relax, safe in the knowledge their young person was safe and having a good social activity.
One of our young adults’ sisters got married and her Mum booked her onto our “Out & About” the next day. It meant that, as the family home was still full of other family and friends, that her parents had time to catch up with them all and devote time to them whilst her daughter was with SNAP. Her daughter also enjoyed telling everyone at SNAP all about the big day. Mum was delighted that SNAP once again was able to help the family have a break which allowed them to do things they wanted to do.
50 carers will have felt supported by SNAP to sustain their caring role
SNAP staff and carers increased dialogue concerning the content of the Weekend Breaks and Saturday and Sunday outings prior to them taking place. We gave as much information as possible to carers about where we were going and what we planned to do. SNAP staff make every effort to personalise the activities we provide to help and support carers so we help share the load a little. We also tried to target activities at that are of most benefit to ease pressures within families, this is where communication between carers and staff is vital to sustain this outcome.
We were delighted that one of our young people had their first ever time away from their family overnight during this funding, on a 2 night break at Badaguish. This young person suffers from extreme anxiety, is hyper-sensitive to noise and has many dietary requirements, so a lot of time and effort was spent in dialogue with his mum and himself in the planning stages. Mum sent photos in to us of us foods that he could eat which made it easier in that respect. As a result of SNAP being able to take this young person away, mum was able to visit his sibling and her baby a few hours away from the family home, a trip that just would not have been easy had he been with them, if possible at all. Mum was able to spend quality time with her daughter and grand-daughter, with peace of mind that her son was with people who knew him and his needs well. Her son found certain parts of the weekend challenging, but overall had an amazing time and it was so good for him (and his Mum) to finally experience a SNAP sleepover.