Splash Playschemes 2015
A story by SHIP & Splash
SHIP provided holiday play schemes for children with complex additional support needs so that they can have enjoy activities that they may not normally be available to them. This provided carers/parents and their families with vital respite to enable them to continue in their caring role.
What Splash Playschemes 2015 did
We have organised a range of day trips for young people to a variety of local venues. During the Easter holidays we organised four day trips, each for up to 25 young people. This was repeated during five weeks of the Summer holiday, and one week of the October holiday. This represented a total of 28 individual day trips, each offering up to 25 places for young people. Venues for these trips have included Active Kids (Stanley), Riverside transport museum (Glasgow), Almond Valley (Livingston), Cinema trips, Craigtoun Country Park, Deep Sea world, Cairnie Fruit Farm, Kelvingrove Museum (Glasgow), beach trips and visits to soft play centres.
These trips have offered a range of experiences tailored to the varying needs of the service users. During each trip service users have been supported at least 1:1 by fully trained volunteers. We ran a Christmas respite pilot on two Saturdays in December. These were exceptionally popular with 20 children being accommodated on each session. The children enjoyed the various play schemes offered throughout the year. Taking full advantage of the fun offered at the various venues. Carers advised us that they had been able to achieve a more balanced life as a direct result of our programme. Many taking the opportunity to spend quality time with other family members that would otherwise not have been possible.
M’s mother K said, as a working mum, I find the play schemes run by Splash an absolutely invaluable service. My six year old son has both Down's Syndrome and Autism and is able to spend days away with the Splash volunteers who make sure he has great fun and is looked after safely. They are a fabulous team!’
This is how ‘E’ described what this has meant to her and the family. ‘My son A comes to the Ship and Splash Holiday Club and loves the trips and activities that he does. It is invaluable for me to have some time out in the holidays, as caring for A is full time, and with 3 other children and a job, the holidays become a real juggle and quite hard work. The club enables me to get some of my work done plus do something with my other children to give them the attention they deserve. Thanks Ship and Splash!’
‘SHIP has given us the respite we could not have done without. The long school holidays present significant challenges for families with children with complex needs in terms of resources and ability to provide necessary stimulation and friendship opportunities and no other provider offers what SHIP does. The volunteers are consistently able, reliable, self-motivated and resourceful young people who are a pleasure to be around. They are a credit to themselves and their parents and a (future) employer's dream! They build up relationships with our children (who have a huge range of additional needs, INCLUDING autism!) and bring fun and excitement to them in a very focused and safe way.
Parents can relax knowing their children are safe, happy and often learning new things. I don't think the local authority is aware of how important this service is because it helps prevent crises and helps families to keep going, how do you measure that? Usually our children cannot feedback, but the parents can see the benefits in the child. It is a group which has multiple beneficiaries-,the children, parents, siblings and the volunteers themselves.
If it doesn't sound too grand I would argue that the community benefits society. Our children are more visible in the community when out with SHIP and there is a general increase in awareness, understanding and acceptance amongst the public which is great for our young people who are often marginalised and isolated.’
What SHIP & Splash has learnedThe Better Breaks Fund enabled SHIP to deliver our 2015/16 Play scheme programme. Without this funding this would not have been possible.
The success of the Christmas Saturday respite pilot has increased demand for Saturday Play schemes to operate throughout the year. This creates an additional challenge for SHIP to find the resources to deliver these going forwards. The funds allowed us to evaluate alternative venues. What we are now trialling during 2016/17, are Play scheme allocation based on personal preference of the child as opposed to our previous age based arrangement.