The Super Sailing and Creative Arts Project
A story by Partners in Play
We continued to provide our Water Sports Project advancing the technical sailing skills of some of young people. Alongside this we ran 4 Creative Play Workshops on dry land. This allowed us to weave our younger people into our activity programme.
Partners in Play help to support young people with a disability access unique and exciting opportunities throughout North Lanarkshire.
What The Super Sailing and Creative Arts Project did
Our sailing project carried on from the success we had with our previous water sports programme. We paired up again with our friends at Castle Semple Outdoor Centre to offer both beginners and advanced sessions on the water at Loch Winnoch. These were coupled with mini mountain bike trails and adapted bikes on trails around the nature reserve.
We were lucky to have a staff team who were keen to get back on the water and support our young people in these challenges. This year we could offer 9 Sailing day sessions and 1 overnight woodland adventure experience. These were focused around the Summer and September months when the weather was kinder and parents required the most respite. Alongside sailing our beginner and advanced programme also incorporated kayaking, power boating, inclusive cycling and some outdoor education workshops.
This year we also wanted to include some of our younger children within our programme who had been excluded from the sailing due to insurance purposes or hesitant parents. We were thrilled to be able to offer 4 Saturday creative play workshops that these young people could attend. An allocated support worker meant that parents could leave their Younger child with us and enjoy a few hours to themselves. This was particularly suited to the children under 8 year with a number of complex needs as the groups had a relaxed structure and offered things like Messy play, music therapy, body art, mini obstacle courses and arts and crafts.
In December 2015 we held our annual celebration event for our young people where we distributed certificates of achievement, showed the children and parents the film we created of all the summer activities and consulted with parents about what they did whilst they had a break. These were varied for example, meeting up with friends, shopping or watching TV was something they looked forward to and time to concentrate on the housework without interruptions was a relief and helped to reduce stress levels in the family home.
No volunteers were used. One Co-ordinator has their contract extended by 6 months to be able to deliver this project.
Parent A expressed her fear about letting Child A attend activities with Partners in Play, she knew this would benefit her daughter in the long run but she was really apprehensive about letting her out of her sight, particularly onto the open water. She was reassured that her daughter would be given support and allocated a key worker to help her with these activities. After a home visit and additional information, she seemed much more willing to try and expressed a gratitude that it would allow her time with her other children.
Partners in Play staff were able to send Parent A some photos of her on the speedboat and sailing boat. Parent A was delighted that Child A could undertake such an activity as she never thought it would be possible. ‘My daughter, the Sailor! Thanks to everyone at Partners in Play’
It was also hoped that a group setting could help to implement some structure and help to establish a basic routine. The influence of other young people could help to promote positive behaviour. Child B would often spend time running about and trying to escape. It would take Child B time to settle into environment and participate in sitting down activities like Colouring in and painting. Child B would enjoy using different colours of glitter to decorate pictures.
Parent B was nervous and hesitant at first to leave Child B at the group. She knew it would benefit him in the long run but was worried that Partners in Play wouldn’t be able to cope with his needs and poor concentration span. When she returned to pick him up she was incredibly thankful for everything.
‘Thank you so much for looking after my son, I didn’t think I would be able to leave him for that amount of time’ He loves his Saturday group’ She was relieved that he would be able to attend more groups in the future and felt much more confident in leaving him on his second group meeting.
Parent B has been extremely proactive in delivering him to the different locations of groups and transport does not seem to be a barrier for her. This has meant he has been able to attend a larger number of group experiences.
On his first sailing outing, Child C didn’t want to go in the boat and after time spent by staff trying to convince him, he just went a walk during the morning session. He participated well during the cycling in the afternoon. On his second outing Child C went sailing and on the speed boat and thoroughly enjoyed himself.
Parent C wanted Child C to attend more as he would just sit in the house and play games consoles. She informed staff that once he had become familiar with the new environment, he would interact better. When Child C got off of the bus talking and laughing with peers, mum was delighted. ‘You’ve managed to put a smile on my boys face. Thank you’
What Partners in Play has learnedThe fund has been indispensable to our Summer Programme. It has meant that we have been able to offer a service to more young people and parents, existing funds to provide group activities are limited and being reduced each year. We learned to operate our activities during busy months for parents like the Summer months. This is when they are most likely to really need the respite for themselves, plan a trip, or see friends.
We personalized our activities by giving our young people a choice in what they wanted to do. Whether this was sailing, cycling or creative arts. We tried to think outside the box and provide inspirational, thrilling activities that the young people might not have had an opportunity to try before.
The new carers were those of the younger children who accessed the arts sessions. These seems to be confidence building for the parents as much as the children. There were also some new carers attracted by word of mouth from last years’ sailing activities who didn’t want their child to miss out on an opportunity.