A story by ENABLE Scotland
We delivered 5 weeks for 4 days a week of summer activities which included the following
Week 1 Out in the community which included visits to The Time Capsule and Millport
Week2 Sports which included wheelchair basketball and animation
Week 3 drama and rock school
Week 4 drama and dance/cheerleading
Week 5 stage production/rehearsals and summer show
During week 5 we also delivered Inspire Me workshops which included team building and motivation
This year’s Summer Spectacular’s aim was to offer a comprehensive programme of activities ranging from sports to art and communities activities and culminating in a spectacular show to give young people who have learning disabilities and their families/carers choice, support and respite over the summer holiday period
Tip 1:1. Involve the young people and their carers in the planning of activities
Tip 2:2. Build an honest relationship with parents/carers to best establish needs of the young person and support required.
Tip 3:3. Always remember why we do it. Be flexible and ready for change, things don’t always go to plan but always enjoy it no matter where the day takes you.
This supportive approach enabled the young people to experience and increase their talents in a number of activities including playing drums/guitar/percussion, zorbing, animation, hip-hop/dance/cheerleading, wheelchair basketball, photography and story telling.
Comments from the young people who attended the summer activities include
'It was hard doing the movements (stop start animation) but fun to learn', 'Loved it to bits really good can't wait till next summer to do it all over again :)" "Learned new song on the drums".
One young person expressed a keen interest in learning the guitar. Project staff made the Rock School Tutor aware of this. After the Summer Spectacular, the young person said "I have always wanted to learn guitar properly and Johnny is a total legend as he took the time to show me how "
One parent said “What can I say? FAB FAB FAB! My son had a great time and he is so confident now – thanks!”
One parent prior to the project beginning explained that her young person becomes bored very easily, always needs entertained and when not becomes restless, frustrated and angry. She also explained her young person has no friends in the local area and often feels the summer holidays are too long. This results in worry for her young person and herself on how life would be affected within the family home. When asked again during the project this parent described feeling huge relief that her young person was happy and in a place where he was accepted without judgment. She further described a huge improvement in his behaviour at home, in his social skills and confidence as a direct result of this project.
During the show we had a graffiti wall available for parents/carers to write comments and feedback on. We asked parents/carers “What has this project meant for you and your family” comments included “I couldn’t survive the summer without ENABLE, please keep it coming! ”
"My daughter said this is the best summer she has ever had as her mum it is obvious she has had a brilliant time getting to do so much with wonderful people”
A parent who had a young person coming along to the project for the first time said “This is my daughters first year and she has loved every minute – she has made new friends and gained confidence – thank you.
Another parent commented "Fantastic keeps kids busy doing something they enjoy – gives parents some free time!”
One family said without the project Dad would have had to take time off to help Mum during the summer. As a result of the Summer Spectacular this was not required and Dad could take his annual leave at a later date.
One tutor from JCP Cheer and Dance said “Everyday was great – I had the opportunity to work with fantastic young people at ENABLE”.
The Rock School Tutor commented “Thank you so much for bringing me back to do the Summer Showcase Rock School again this year. It was great to see some of the gang from last year and also working with new people this year too.The group picked some tough songs to learn but that’s all part of the fun and challenge of it and they absolutely put on a great performance at the showcase night. If you want me back for next year, count me in”.
At “Combat City” one of our community activities staff went the extra mile to ensure the needs of our young people were not only met but exceeded. Some of our young people had difficulties using the equipment, due to their disability, and staff worked with the young people to overcome this in ways they were comfortable with.
For parents/carers the most important factor was that their young people are safe and in a positive environment that sees past their disability. This helped decrease stress and anxiety for parents and young people alike.
This means the young people have access to their traditional respite break but also to varied activities throughout the day. The result of this is young people who are in respite can still attend and is not an alternative but an added feature to their current short break provisions.
Young People have a chance to be involved in all aspects of the show and allows parents/carers the opportunity to see first hand how far their young person has come and what they have achieved over the summer.
This year a number of them applied for and were successful in obtaining jobs as session workers within the project applying their experiences of being attendees in to their work
Parents/Carers and Teachers alike have been recommending the project to others and when it was advertised in the local paper we were inundated with new referrals.
We also had a number of young people this year who had physical disabilities including cerebral palsy. Many of our young people have multiple support needs and multiple diagnosis. Some of them also come from deprived backgrounds.