THE CAFE HOLIDAY CLUB
A story by THE SATURDAY CAFE CLUBS SCIO
The Cafe Holiday Club provided short breaks for carers and fun activities for disabled children/young people, promoting social integration & healthy lives through play, sport, dance/drama in an environment of respect and the promotion of positive behaviours over the 9 week school holiday periods
What THE CAFE HOLIDAY CLUB did
We provided short-breaks for care providers via the delivery of fun activity sessions for their cared for disabled child / young person; enabling carers to engage in activities of choice, confident their cared for child / young person was in a positive, safe, fun space where they are supported by creating opportunities to integrate, play and learn in an environment of respect and promotion of positive behaviours.
Although COVID restrictions continued in 2021 the Cafe Holiday Clubs were able to support 53 individual carers and 66 individual direct service users weekly. Despite the ongoing COVID restrictions we delivered a full programme of activities from Cathcart Old Parish Community Halls including sports, drama, free play, arts & crafts and many more fun and challenging activities. We continued in the main to use our own outdoor gardens and play spaces and our local parks.
We delivered 9 weeks of Cafe Holiday Club in 2021 - Spring (2 weeks) Summer (6 weeks) and October (1 week). We delivered all our sessions face-to-face; whilst maintaining COVID safe delivery. Due to staffing issues we were only able to offer 4 days Cafe Holiday Club during the October break, but we were able to extend the hours offered each day to carers and their cared for child/young person meaning that we delivered more hours per service user than we would have done over the 5 days (carers short break hours rose from an average 9 hours per week to 10 hours).
What THE SATURDAY CAFE CLUBS SCIO has learned
We have been delivering the Cafe Holiday Club for over 12 years and each year we learn something new, but as with most organisations the learning curve over the period of the pandemic has been meteoric!!
1. Continue to evaluate your delivery - don't leave it until the end of a week, month or project. If COVID has taught us anything it is that with perseverance and support we need to be able to adapt and change at the turn of a coin. Ongoing monitoring and evaluating helps you be prepared
2. Keep it simple - such a common statement, but often we find that we are working really hard, yet not very SMART!. Really getting back to our core business early in 2020 has helped us stay focussed on what we do best….providing fun, challenging, exciting activities for disabled children whilst carers enjoy a short-break
3. Make lots of friends - network and get to really know your local community. At a time when our own fundraising activities have been limited (no annual dance, no big Christmas spectaculars) we reached out to the community for their support. Don't be shy - just ask. This resulted in a couple of people doing the Kiltwalk raising those funds we thought we had lost and also just increased the practical help and support we needed to improve our outdoor space
How THE SATURDAY CAFE CLUBS SCIO has benefitted from the funding
In 2020 we said that 'every cloud had a silver lining' and despite the challenges of COVID we do feel that our the last 2 years we have also had many positives. Our reputation as a safe, fun Club for disabled children has grown - demand across all our Clubs (general and CHC) means we have a current waiting list in excess of 30. Our carers and children are very grateful to the fund for the Cafe Holiday Club service as there are very few similar services available across Glasgow and the surrounding LA's making it very difficult for carers to access short-breaks from their role as carer to a child/young person with disabilities. Without this fund this service would not be available - the impact of that would be significant for carers and cared-for in our wider communities.
70 children/young people with disabilities have improved access to participate in fun leisure and recreation activities of choice
66 individual children / young people benefitted from the project. Although this was slightly less than the anticipated number over the period we delivered many more sessions to a greater number of children & young people and more and a higher number of individual carers.
K & K have been attending our general club service for a number of years. The brothers love their time at Club and as great football enthusiasts they have particularly loved the visits from the Football / Sport coaches we engaged over the Cafe Holiday Club. K & K can be very competitive and have loads of energy; mum assures us that the burn off of energy at Club really helps the boys settle at home and the promise of another session at Club really helps to keep them focused.
50 carers of disabled children will more time to access activities of choice free from their caring role
We exceeded the number of carers that we supported over the period. This was due to the fact that we had a number of new carers benefitting from our service.
Over the Summer/ October Break we were able to support 11 new carers to the organisation. This was a huge benefit to them. Mum C stated that her son N aged 6 had never been able to be supported over the holiday period and this was such a benefit to her and her family. Being able to do other activities at home with the comfort that N was having a super fun time at club made her feel she could cope better over the long summer school break. Mum and Dad were so delighted that N was happy and content at Club and praised the staff for all their patience and support.
50 carers will have increased opportunity to engage in (supported or self-directed) activities with other carers / professionals to discuss challenges and good news stories that improves support networks (online via zoom if COVID-19 restrictions persist)
COVID did persist into some of the Cafe Holiday Club periods meaning that restrictions were still in place preventing carers from gathering indoors at our venue. We worked with carers (via our Board and Advisory Group) and it became quickly apparent that online technology was not the way forward for our carers. To ensure we continued to sty in touch we had some individual face-to-face meetings with our carers, we increased our email communications and we extended our outdoor 'front-door moments'. For our new carers we had a well ventilated social distance meeting - introducing them to our Club and to some of the key staff their child(sen) would be working with. We have continually strived to work with other care groups / social work etc to bring as much news to our carers as possible whilst being mindful that the most important aspect of the service we provided to them was their short-break from their caring role. Getting the balance was challenging but we worked with them to do this.
New parents of X (aged 8) found it very challenging to settle themselves whilst X was at the Cafe Holiday Club. This was the first service for children with disabilities that X had attended. In another time free from COVID X's parent carers may have felt more connections with other parent carers and would have found the process less distressing. To reassure them of the fun and enjoyment X was having at Club we invited them to come along to see X at the outdoor play moments. In the first days they viewed from the fenced area - eventually then going to a nearby coffee shop and then going to drop-off / pick-up routine. An early intervention meant that we could support X to stay at Club and support his parent carers to have a short-break free from their caring role.
70 disabled children/young people and their carers will have increased wellbeing and reduced stress through improved access to physical health and wellbeing (information and support) to participate in activities of choice
The number of disabled children / young people was slightly less than planned (by 4), but over the period we delivered more session hours meaning that carers had increased short-breaks and the number of carers we supported slightly increased (by 3). The increase in outdoor activities for our direct service users increased - more outdoor play, increased fun sports and lots of walks to our beautiful local parks. Carers (especially our new carers) reported that the consistency of the Clubs over the school holiday periods was a huge support for them and really helped improve their mental wellbeing meaning they had more space emotionally and more energy physically.
Y is mother to 2 boys A & K. Y herself is currently very unwell and despite having the support of family and friends she says the time the boys have at The Cafe Holiday Club is a huge benefit to her and the boys. To ensure the best possible support for Y we were able to offer cover for full and extended days and we were able to provide a healthy lunch which we hoped would mean less stress for Y when the boys returned home. Y has told us that the support is immeasurable as she could not do the activities with the boys that they are involved in at Club.