A story by Caring Operations Joint Action Council (C.O.J.A.C.)
We provided staff support, transport and activity costs for our Tuesday evening disabled adult group with transport to and from home. This helped tp provide social and recreational activities as chosen by the adults and some respite for older parents/carers.
What SociallyAble did
The group met every Tuesday throughout the year with staff collecting from home and return. Transport is vital to ensure there are no barriers to attending. There is very little public transport in the evenings, not all families/carers have a car and waiting on taxis can be off putting. In particular, the transport ensures that parents/carers do not have the additional hassle of dropping off and collecting.
The group are picked up from 5.30pm in the evening with two buses going round collecting and drop offs commence from 9pm with staff finishing between 9.30-10.30pm.
This group of adults are thirty years and up to fifty-nine years. The majority of the adults live with older parents/carers who often do not want to be involved with social work and have looked after their disabled adult all their lives on their own. As the parents/carers get older, they often, begin to have their own health issues. Combining this with their caring role can be challenging.
The Tuesday evening group enjoy the independent time out from home having time with their peers undertaking activities that they decide on. This year they have participated in, Karaoke, Zumba, Halloween disco, Christmas disco and party night, Valentine’s night, C in The Park and a residential weekend to Blackpool.
Our biggest success was the weekend away to Blackpool. The group stayed in a hotel on Saturday and Sunday evening with entertainment both nights. This included breakfast and dinner. During the day they went to the circus that they all (and staff) stated was brilliant with walks around the centre, promenade and beach. One lone parent carer stated that it had been over four years since she had overnight respite and used the time to go through to Edinburgh with her friend for an afternoon tea and overnight stay.
Thanks to Shared Care Scotland staff for supporting us with information/meet up with other providers regarding organising this residential as it was a new venture for us!
What Caring Operations Joint Action Council (C.O.J.A.C.) has learned
We were able to secure additional funding from the Bank of Scotland Foundation and Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector Wellbeing Fund that supported additional costs of the project and the trip to Blackpool.
We continue to find recruitment and retention an ongoing challenge with three members of staff leaving this year. The additional costs of recruitment, induction and training is an added burden and cost for the centre and project. Staff leave as hours do not suit, better pay and conditions in other sectors and funding instability.
We provided a weekend break to Blackpool for two nights with dinner bed and breakfast for the cared for. This was a new venture for us and we received support and advice from Shared Care Scotland who put us in contact with other organisations that had experience of this.
How Caring Operations Joint Action Council (C.O.J.A.C.) has benefitted from the funding
As previous, the funding allowed us to attract additional funding and we provided a weekend residential break to Blackpool offering time away for the cared for and a break for those that care. This was a new venture for us and we were supported by Shared Care Scotland staff with advice from other organisations that had experience of providing residential breaks.
Parents and carers will have one evening weekly to relax or participate in a hobby or activity of their choice.
16 disabled adults attended our Tuesday evening group with mini bus transport collecting them from home and return. This ensured that their was no extra stress for the parent/carer to drop off and collect. The transport was vital in ensuring that their was no barriers to attendance as public transport is limited in the evenings. 21 parents/carers had one evening per week for 50 weeks of the year that they could call their own with the knowledge that the person they care for was being looked after and having a good time with their peers.
One parent carer who is a sibling carer uses the time to go out to the gym or have an evening out with friends. He enjoys the fact that he does not need to drop off and collect and the fact that he knows his sister who has Downs Syndrome, non verbal and learning difficulties is being cared for in a supportive environment.
21 parents/Carers will be supported through the provision of a reliable service for their cared for adult. They will know that they can enjoy their break without worry or fear as we have many years' experience of delivering this service.
We provided a supportive disabled group every Tuesday evening with transport to and from home 50 weeks of the year. This provided a regular evening break for parents/carers without the added stress of drop off and collection. Also, through additional funding we provided a weekend residential break to Blackpool offering parents/carers a weekend respite from their caring role. This took place in September 2023 with mini bus transport leaving on Saturday morning and returning on Monday afternoon. 21 parents/carers were provided with a whole weekend of respite from their caring role.
D joined the group and had been isolated at home not in work or education. His mum was worried about his mental health as he was not leaving the house much. Mum was worried he was spending all his time on the computer making him socially isolated. D has learning difficulties and Asperger. D has now started to make friends and looks forward to attending C.O.J.A.C. each week. D has shown interest in Karaoke, arts and crafts, comic book making and has participated in new activities bringing him out of his comfort zone. D's mum has noticed the difference with him and how it has improved his confidence and reduced his anxiety.
16 cared for adults will have an opportunity once a week to be out of the house, mixing with their peers and undertaking social activities reducing their isolation & improving their overall wellbeing. 19 parent/carers will have a break one evening per week knowing their adult is safe and cared for.
We provided a supportive disabled group every Tuesday evening with transport to and from home 50 weeks of the year. This provided a regular evening break for parents/carers without the added stress of drop off and collection. The group participated in activities that they had chosen, including, Christmas disco and meal at the Glencairn in Rutherglen, Valentine Disco in the centre, C in the Park, Karaoke, Quiz nights, Halloween disco and Rumba. Also, through additional funding provided a weekend residential break to Blackpool offering parents/carers a weekend respite from their caring role. This took place in September 2023 with mini bus transport leaving on Saturday morning and returning on Monday afternoon. 21 parents/carers had the benefit of a three hour evening break to themselves 50 weeks of the year. They also benefited from an additional weekend respite as we took the adults away to Blackpool for the weekend. This included mini bus transport there and return.
One our parent carers is a lone parent with triplets all with a learning disability. She had not had an overnight respite break in over four years. With us taking the triplets away for the weekend, she was able to enjoy an afternoon tea and overnight stay in Edinburgh with a friend which she thoroughly enjoyed.