Strollers Better Breaks
A story by Glenrothes Strollers FC
The regular Saturday morning football sessions were the bedrock of the scheme, giving regular and routine activity. We were also able to enter the team in various different tournaments all over Scotland.
These tournaments offered the young people a whole day out around a structured football event, thus providing respite and a break for the parents/carers, as well as an exciting football day out for them.
Starting off with a regular once a week session, this would give all the benefits associated with team sport participation, as well as some some respite for parents and carers. As relationships and trust grew more services/activities would be offered to extend the respite/time away from caring. Holiday football camps, day trips away to tournaments etc.
Tip 1:Keep it simple, don't aim too high too soon.
Tip 2:Communication, the parents and carers must know what is going on and why you are doing what you are. The greater involvement they have the more they will benefit.
One parent said, "This team helps my son with interaction, social skills and most of all he has made good friends, He is part of something, this is very important to an autistic young adult as often they can be isolated. he loves his team and they love him."
This was a wake up call for us, and one which highlights the need for the families themselves to drive the plans and thought processes behind the services. An unanticipated benefit has been the impact of the project in the whole club; the interest and willingness to get involved has been pleasantly surprising.
The group is now represented at the main club committee meetings, and is now viewed similarly to any other team within the club. One nominated club representative has been appointed to oversee the whole project, which makes them the central contact point for all involved. We also brought in an independent assessor to review the program and ensure we got all opinions on the project to date and direction ahead.