The Cafe Holiday Club
A story by The Saturday Cafe & Associated Clubs
The Cafe Holiday Club provided a range of short break recreation activities in a fun, safe environment for disabled children/young people.
At the same time provided short breaks from a caring role, enabling care providers to engage in activities of choice with confidence that their child/young person is in a positive, safe and fun environment.
What The Cafe Holiday Club did
We had a fantastic 9 weeks of Cafe Holiday Clubs in 2015, 2 weeks Spring break, 6 weeks Summer break and 1 week October break. We are delighted to report that we had an average of 25 disabled children aged 5 - 17 years and 12 disabled young people aged 18 - 21 years attend our Clubs. The additional Café Holiday Club fund and provision for our Ozzy’s Youth Club members was again a great success.
The young people and their parent/carers have reported back that this has been a “great help” over the breaks and particularly the long Summer session. We had a great mix of activities centred across 2 main themes: 'Let's Get Physical' which included dance and drama, always a hit with the super talented children and young people at the Cafe Holiday Clubs. Sports and games, keeping our children and young people healthy and fit and arts and crafts, messy play being the biggest hit. Just looking at the pictures of our staff with faces full of foam and cream and you'll see what a great time the young people had!!
Our second theme was 'Inside Out - Outside In' we all know the importance of being outside in the fresh air - weather was no excuse for us so we after the sunniest Spring we just had to live with the wet Summer that followed and a very crisp October break....but all good and we had great fun joining in our wild stuff games, wild nature garden, a project that exceeded our expectations and has continued on since the Cafe Holiday Club. We now have our own secret garden and we just keep making it better. Then finally in our outdoor theme was our wild arts and crafts, so many winter themed decorations and noisy mobiles for our garden and to take home.
Our Cafe Holiday Club for our younger age group ran 5 days each week Monday to Friday for 8 hours each day a total of 360 hours. With an average of 25 children each day this amounted to 9,000 service hours. For our older young people we had an average of 12 users for 8 hours each day 3 days per week and one evening each week for 3hours. We had a total offering of over 3,000 hours for this age group.
Our children, young people and their care providers all tell us that they had a fantastic break.
P is a 13 year old girl who has great difficulty dealing with noisy situations. We worked with P to develop a transition strategy from engaging with a very small group participating in a sporting activity to being able to engage with the whole Club during the summer months in an outdoor sports day. This indeed was a huge achievement for this child and has opened up her access to the wider group activities we offer. P's parent has told us that this has also made a significant difference to P at school and at home. Although very loud noise is still a challenge, mixing with larger groups of noisy children has certainly been overcome.
Through a planned intervention agreed with John's carer and his social worker and due to the fact that we have been able to support him with a 1-1 Play Assistant we were able to develop a strategy to engage him in activities side-by-side with his peers. The success of this intervention can be seen in J's behaviour across all activities, but especially at the arts & crafts table where he can now sit closely with other children and join in the fun.
J has made great progress and his carer has told us that this improvement to his behaviour has extended to the home which she tells us has made a huge difference to her life as John's carer and more confident to explore other short break opportunities for J and he continues to have some challenging moments, but these are less in number and less extreme.
What The Saturday Cafe & Associated Clubs has learnedThe fund continues to make such a difference to all our service users, children, young people, carers report that the Cafe Holiday Club gives them opportunities that they would not have if we did not have the funding from Better Breaks. Although we knew that the demand for the Cafe Holiday Club outstretched our supply we had not gathered the demand figures.
We have learned that it is important to gather this detail and now have a process in place moving forward to gather this information and to ensure that from the data we are able through discussion to support those children, young people and families most in need. We have a process in place for 2016 to open up access to new service users.
We learned to reach out to the community and we learned so much about our community in 2015, making use of as many offers of support as possible. We got to know the community better through our open sports day and we will build on this for our 2016 Cafe Holiday Club. We have also learned that something's just happen without a plan.
One our biggest successes through 2015 was the development of our 'Secret Garden'. Outdoor fun was always on our agenda for our Cafe Holiday Club and the improvement of some outdoor space was planned - but the children and young people and our fabulous staff and volunteers took this plan and just ran away with it and we now have our secret garden - named by our children and used every day.....