The Social Club
A story by The Yard Adventure Centre
We provide a weekly social club for up to 17 young adults each week with a range of disabilities living in Edinburgh. The Club provides a chance to meet up with friends, try out new activities and basically have fun on a Saturday night whilst providing a chance for their parents/carers to have time for themselves.
What The Social Club did
There are currently 28 young people registered to The Club, with a regular 12-15 young people attending each week. The weekly club continues to give young people with a wide range of disabilities the chance to have independence and freedom from their parents/carers whilst still benefiting from the support of the club staff and volunteers.
Over the past year we have increased our staff team, and a number of new staff have been involved in the delivery of the club along with the familiar team. On the whole these changes have been well received by the young people particularly as they have developed new relationships with the staff and volunteers as the months have progressed.
We continue to provide a range of activities which are driven by the young people, which are accessible for all members and also provide a variety of Yard based activities with external evenings out. This year we went to the Festival Fringe for the first time and the group managed this well, enjoying soaking up the atmosphere. The young people are also getting more confident in making choices about new places to eat out, cafes to visit etc. Whereas previously they would always choose Pizza Hut which they know well, they are very happy now to try new places and this has been a great development over the past year to see there confidence increasing in social situations and the willingness to try new experiences.
The feedback we have received from the young people and their carers has been excellent. The young people love the chance to meet up with friends, hang out and catch up together each week. Their parents are loving having a regular break to catch up with friends, spend time with their partners, safe in the knowledge that their child is happy and supported.
'Mandy has a great time at The Yard. She has come out of her shell as previously she didn't do well in groups but now she is confident with the others in this group and looks forward to going to The Yard.'
'Pleased at knowing how much my child enjoys, and looks forward to the club. Relief at how well she likes and gets on well with all in the group, plus how readily she is to say to me 'you go' when I drop her off. It is lovely to have the time, for the duration of the Club, free on a Saturday evening - feels 'normal.'
'The Club has given my daughter the chance to meet friends, and new people her own age that she would not otherwise have done.' This club is an answer, I believe, to helping resolve the problem of isolation experienced by many young people unable to go out on their own. I hope that this Club can be replicated.'
What The Yard Adventure Centre has learnedOne thing that remains clear today is the lack of social provision for this age group and older. We have found that there are not as many social activities for those aged 18+. We have also been inundated by requests from adults post 25 who are keen to join the club.
As an organisation we have made a decision to work within the European definition of a young person up to the age of 25. We do still exercise an element of discretion around this for young people who are currently in the Club, but we have to be careful that we do not have too many people beyond this age limit.