The Adventure Network
A story by ENABLE Scotland
The Adventure Network continued to introduce local children and young people with learning disabilities in East/North Ayrshire areas with similar interests to one another through a range of social events. Weekly activities were provided to children enabling their parents/carers to have valuable respite time.
What The Adventure Network did
We recruited two volunteers and have used ENABLE’s own support staff to support the young people to take part in their chosen activities. We promoted the Adventure Network in a number of ways including communicating with head teachers of additional needs schools in East and North Ayrshire. The head teachers directed the Project Co-ordinator to children who they knew had limited access to social and leisure activities and to families that don’t receive any breaks from caring, either informally from family or formally from social work.
We delivered after school activities for 5 hours per session. Some young people were collected from school and supported to take part in activities including skiing, bowling , drama, arts and crafts. Other young people were supported to take part in an after school club and engaged in badminton and drama activities. Families with younger children were offered one to one support to go to the park, the beach or soft play.
The parents and carers are really positive with their feedback they are pleased their children are getting the time to socialise with others their age. They told us their children would not be able to take part in these activities without the support of the Adventure Network due to living in rural areas and lack of finances at home. While the children and young people were engaged in these supported activities, families & carers told us they were able to give time to their other children, cook the dinner in peace, get a chance to relax or sometimes catch up on sleep particularly in cases where their child wasn't sleeping and it is having an impact on their own sleep.
We support C with other young people his age to take part in fun football sessions. We collect him from school, support him in the football sessions then take him home. Mum and C’s brother get a chance to have a break and relax. Mum feels like she can relax and unwind while knowing C is safe and will be brought home so she doesn’t need to get buses to collect him. She can catch up on chores she needs to do, read a book or watch a film in peace. Mum and brother feel they can support C better because they are having some free time
Mum, after getting to know the coordinator and staff is happy in the knowledge that her daughter is safe and having fun and importantly and staff are able to administer T’s medication. Mum feels happy for her daughter to be out mixing with other children her age and mum feels better supported in her caring role.
The Project Co-ordinator has supported K to build her confidence and social skills. She now has two close friends, other girls in a similar situation as her. She has gradually built trust in the staff and has overcome her fears in trying new activities and as a result has become very good at bowling.
What ENABLE Scotland has learnedThe funding from Better Breaks has enabled ENABLE Scotland to develop extensive local knowledge which informs our social activity programme for children and families who are not supported by any other service provider. We have been able to support young people and children with a learning disability who are isolated from local society and almost forgotten about.
We linked with the school guidance teachers and head teachers to identify families who needed respite but hadn’t been able to request it. To increase their confidence in accepting respite, we introduced them to one of the Adventure Network’s friendship groups and invited their child to attend an activity. The child was picked up with other children their age and was taken to an activity followed by dinner. We have made the service more personalised by taking the time to listen and get to know the families, carers, young people and children to find out what their needs were and how the Adventure Network could best support them.