SOAR Youth Projects
A story by SOAR Youth Projects
We provided social and recreational activities for children and young people with multiple support needs, who live across Ross-shire and Sutherland.
This enabled our children and young people to develop friendships, independence and participate in many different activities, while their carers had time for themselves.
What SOAR Youth Projects did
In the past 12 months we have achieved many different outcomes, including employing a new Development Manager whose role is to assist to sustain our current successful projects as well as developing SOAR for the future. We have also enlisted 3 volunteer mini bus drivers, to ensure transport is available for our young people.
Our activities were advertised through our newsletters, mail shots, information passed through partner agencies i.e. Social Services, NHS, information passed to parents as well as word of mouth throughout out local communities. We do not operate a waiting list and offer all our young people spaces at each club.
For Holiday Club we offered 50 sessions during Easter, Summer and October School Holidays which ran from 9.30-3.30 pm Monday to Fridays. Holiday Club was based in Alness Academy. Activities included swimming, sports, outings to forests, animal parks, activity centres, art, music, sensory days, cooking an average of 14 young people in attendance.
For Swim/Supper Club, we offered 25 sessions for up to 6 young people per session. This involved swimming at a local leisure centre followed by supper at a cafe. This has proven very popular with families.
Youth Club is run weekly from 6.30pm to 8.30 pm with an average attendance of 20 young people per session. Youth Club is very popular, the young people enjoy socialising, taking part in games, crafts, playing pool etc. Youth Club is held in the Place in Alness.
Although we do not work directly with the carers we have a good relationship with all families involved in SOAR. Feedback from Carers allows us to know that during their respite time carers meet friends, undertake daily household chores, have a bit of me time and most often allows carers to have quality time with the children’s siblings.
He loves getting on the mini bus and he really enjoys swimming as water is one of the things that give him great sensory pleasure. He enjoys going out for supper he gets his food and find somewhere to sit and is really happy this is the only time he gets to go out to eat without his family. He is also a really bad sleeper so the evening he is at the Swim and Supper Club he comes home shattered and by the time he has wound down and gone to bed he sleeps well and stays asleep slightly longer so everyone in the family gets a little bit of extra sleep.
While at Swim Club, Shelbie's family relax and spend time at home, while at holiday club, Shelbie's parents are able to go on outings, for long walks and activities that Shelbie finds difficult to participate in.
Quote from Shelbie's father" We love SOAR, Shelbie is always asking when she can go next, when she is at SOAR, it gives us time to de-stress"
Scott's family enjoy the respite time, during which Scott's mother undertakes daily household chores and the shopping. Scott's family also enjoy the quality time together especially with the grandchildren. Quote from Scott's mother, " I relax and enjoy the time when Scott is at SOAR, knowing he is safe and without feeling guilty,"
What SOAR Youth Projects has learnedThe fund has enabled us to develop and meet needs of families and parents. Through feedback from families, we discovered that an activity involving more swimming was wished for. Having the fund enabled us to develop the Swim/Supper Club which has proven very popular and is now a regular break that we offer to families.
A challenge for SOAR Youth Projects is, as we are becoming more known to families and families are requesting more places at our clubs, due to budget restrictions we are not able to offer as many places to our young people as we are requested for. We do not operate a waiting list, currently we are able to offer out young people 3 days per fortnight when we were once able to offer our young people 2 days per week.