A story by Caring Operations Joint Action Council (C.O.J.A.C..)
We provided evening group sessions for 29 adults with disabilities and also providing respite for 38 carers.
We picked up each adult from home by mini bus with escort and returned to centre for activities or went out to pub, snooker or parks. Adults were then transported home.
What SociallyAble did
COJAC provided social, recreational and leisure activities for adults living with disabilities every Tuesday and Thursday evening, 50 weeks of the year. The Tuesday group are around 25 years to 40 years and the Thursday group are from around 40 years to 65 years. We provided door to door transport reducing stress for carers in dropping off and picking up.
Most sessions commenced at 6pm with drop off to home beginning at 9pm. We had included late night costs for trips out from centre including additional staff and bus costs. The adults enjoyed trips to country parks during the summer, a Christmas night out to a local pub/function place, snooker club and bowling.
Many of our older adults are isolated in the evenings and time out with peers is vital for their mental health and wellbeing as well as providing a regular opportunity for their carers to get a break. Other aspects of their programme included, Quiz nights, takeaway food nights, halloween party, karaoke, baking, sensory room and outdoor sensory garden.
We also had input from 4 Occupational Health students during the year which brought new project ideas including sensory and keep fit.
What Caring Operations Joint Action Council (C.O.J.A.C..) has learned
A particular difficulty this year was the death of one of our long standing service users. She had been with us for over twenty five years. One other service user is dealing with her mum being ill with cancer and we are working with other family members in supporting C.
Working with older adults on a Thursday can be challenging as they can be quite set in their ways. We received further funding from Glasgow Credit Union to pay for activities, such as tie dye t shirts and sparklers and roasting marshmallows on November 5th.
Both groups enjoy both going out from the centre and staying in undertaking activities. Service users benefit from our outdoor sensory garden as well as trips to parks outdoor walks in the better weather. A purchase of ice cream after a walk is always welcome!
On occasions we were let down by Community Transport who we used for trips and outings. Bus breaking down, bringing a bus with no wheelchair clamps and so forth. This was very frustrating and though we are conscious of using voluntary sector transport, it may be something we would need to reconsider for future projects.
How Caring Operations Joint Action Council (C.O.J.A.C..) has benefitted from the funding
It has enabled us to sustain our adult services, whilst being able to offer new places. Often the families we deal with, have no input from Social Work and are usually coping on their own. Word of mouth and marketing our service we try and do as much locally through leaflets in health centre, shopping centre, local community centres, attending local events and open days, social work offices, and other disability organisations. We have been able to address our waiting list and increased our numbers by six over the two nights.
Twenty nine adults affected by disabilities and complex support needs will be involved in planning and organising a programme that involves undertaking activities and excursions from within and out with the centre. They will be able to relax, enjoy themselves, be with friends and feel less isolated.
Twenty nine adults were involved in planning their programme of activities. The groups met every Tuesday and Thursday evening and were collected from home and return. This was provided in a fully inclusive, safe and barrier free centre complete with separate adult changing toilet with shower facility. They undertook some healthy living activities in the centre, baking, use of sensory room, use of sensory garden, went ten pin bowling, quizzes, board games, and to snooker club. Local community police visited and gave a talk around keeping safe when out and about and online. They also had their Christmas night out with meal and disco party at another venue with transport provided to and from home. 38 carers were given a regular evening 3 hour break every week allowing them the chance to relax or undertake an activity of their choice. They could relax knowing their vulnerable adult was being cared for by skilled, professional and experienced staff.
A has Fragile X and Epilepsy and was never very confident and never really participating in group conversations. A has been a regular at the group and is now becoming more open and building a good relationship with staff. A (and others in the group) is currently interested in exploring sexual health and relationships. We ensured that staff working with the group were trained and skilled to talk to A about this. A continues to talk to staff members about this as A does not feel comfortable talking to mum about it. The group is important for A to spend time with peers and being able to discuss personal issues with another adult that is not family.
38 carers will have one evening a week to relax or participate in a hobby or their choice of activity.
All our carers benefited from having our service pick up and drop off home. This ensured that they did not have any hassle and could enjoy their free time. Carers also found this valuable if they did not have access to a car, in particular, one carer whose older adult is in a wheelchair. Carers enjoyed knowing that this would be a regular weekly break, thus allowing them to pursue an activity if they so wished, for example, one carer is a brother who cares for his sister and was able to attend the gym with friends every Thursday and then go for a pint after as he did not need to drive to collect his sister. Adults enjoyed the trips out which they had decided on as part of their programme planning. This allowed for more varied activities and thus more fun!
One carer cares for his sister, moving back in to the family home after his mother passed away. He enjoys being able to meet up with friends at the gym every Thursday and then going for a pint afterwards. As he does not need to worry about driving to drop off or collect his sister, he can enjoy his respite with his pals. His sister also benefits from the social aspect as she loves to dance and we make sure this is part of the social programme.
38 carers will be supported through the provision of a quality reliable service for their adult child. They will know that they can enjoy their break without worry or fear as we provide a quality service, with skilled and qualified staff.
We provided a Tuesday and Thursday group session every week for fifty weeks of the year for adults living with disabilities from and out with the centre. Carers benefited from the pick up from home by escorted mini bus and return home in the evening. This ensured they did not have to arrange drop off and collections and meant they could regularly undertake their break in the knowledge that their vulnerable adult was being cared for door to door. The regular weekly break offered carers that opportunity to undertake a weekly activity of their choosing. This meant that carers were able to decide what they wanted to do with their free time and could relax knowing their adult children were being cared for in a professional compassionate way.
One carer has an adult that uses a wheelchair and has Epilepsy. Mum is on her own and usually has to take her daughter to any activities. We have been able to decrease her stress by providing door to door transport and having qualified and Epilepsy trained staff working with her daughter has alleviated mum's fears of allowing her daughter out without her. Her daughter has a firm friend now at the group and this has reduced her social isolation.