A story by Action For Children
Children who do not regular access overnight respite care have been offered a range of outward bound type experiences to build confidence, self esteem and self image whilst giving main carers a short break.
Youngsters who have had significantly more sheltered lives are now taking part in high quality, high value activites with an increase in their own feelings of achievement and self belief. Families are experience meaningful support which is not in the traditional manner of over night residential care.
Tip 1:You need to be ready to go, to have a vision, to wish to bring about change and be committed to changing the face of short care breaks.
Tip 2:Be prepared for a major increase in your workload and have a plan to address this, either through good local support or by good time management.
Tip 3:Getting staff in place quickly is a major challenge. It may take up to three months to employ a new member of staff and this is a challenge when you receive word in March and are expected to start in April. Speak to HR in plenty of time.
Case Study Jim had been having problems at school. There appeared to be a downward and self fulfilling role of issue after issue which meant suspension and the inevitability of exclusion. Home life was following a similar path and tensions were rising. Jim fell between stools, other youngsters scored higher to access residential support whilst his behaviour driven by ADHD proved challenging to mainstream support. Jim has been supported by Wowee Zowee to work in a small group of four and to go to a wall climbing activity for a number of weeks. He has found a positive way to channel his energy and discovered that concentration can at times be a good thing! He has seen himself achieve on his own terms and has a real sense of self achievement. He has demonstrated the ability to build up positive relationships with the staff team. Last session he pushed himself forward to assist and chum a young person who was struggling with some aspects of the activity. Jim spent his time with this other child supporting him and encouraging him. It was lovely to see and shows how far Jim has developed in the short time we have been supporting him.
Case Study: Ben's mum felt he went to a club every fortnight but in a year had been out only twice and both times were to visit a local shop and buy a packet of his favourite crisps. Mum felt the horizons were limited and expectations low. Since attending our Better Breaks funded provision he has been off climbing walls, swimming, tobogganing and is soon to go horse riding. Mum feels she is seeing her son get the same chances as everyone else and is more content in her role as a parent.
Wowee Zowee has demonstrated a more mainstream type of break. Carers see their child head off once a week to a valued fun activity, similar to their siblings going off to Cubs or Brownies. It has a natural rhythm which fits better with the stress and joys of real life. Parents have said it feels good.
Case Study. Knowing that her child is off each Tuesday night to his Better Breaks funded ski-ing activity has allowed Tina to arrange to spend more regular quality time with her other son. This has helped this relationship tremendously as it builds week on week rather than happening once every six weeks when everyone is too exhausted anyway.
We have really enjoyed working with the Shared Care Scotland team. It would be nice if the early attitude of allowing folk to get on with it could be maintained in face of a growing requirement for more reports, more evaluation and more paperwork.