In 2000 the late Bill Hook, a founder member of the organisation, managed to obtain some funding to send several groups of our teenagers on short caravan breaks during the school holidays. These were so successful that the young people have been talking and planning since to have further such ‘Short Term’ Adventure breaks.
It has not been possible to continue these breaks due lack of funding. However with funding from St. James Place Foundation we ran a very successful pilot Adventure Break involving six of our young people in October 2010. The monitoring and evaluation from this has been so positive. The young people liked it better than ‘formal respite’ because they were away with their ‘friends’. Their friends are not just their peers but our fantastic staff who are young, vibrant and very enthusiastic. One of the young people who has severe epilepsy as just one of his complex needs hates respite and usually only lasts 24 hours away from home he just loved the whole experience.
Even all the parents who knew their young people wanted to have this Adventure Break were quite overwhelmed at its success. They also felt they enjoyed the respite the break gave them as carers because they knew the staff who were with the young people and trusted the service. Batteries were recharged and families are hoping that more of these breaks can be funded. Although most of these families have accessed statutory respite services they had all been concerned for some time that this more formal type of respite was becoming ‘time limited’ for their young people and was really having to be accessed to meet their needs as carers and not the aspirations of their young people.
We have many families with us who receive no social work support or help and the only ‘respite’ they have is Buddies Club Playscheme. Although all the children and young people come to us from Special Schools because they have a range of disabilities with no particular health needs (Autism Spectrum Disorder etc) they often remain unknown to social services until times of transition and there has been little or no planning for their future needs. It should also be noted that if their parents and carers appear to be coping no support is forthcoming. The parents and carers of this group of young people felt they would benefit so much from participating in a programme of ‘Adventure Breaks’ if we could continue the work we have started.
We have been lucky enough to receive funding from the Short Breaks Programme from the Scottish Government. In 2011 2012 we received a total of £45,000 and ran six breaks. These have been for 5 days 4 nights and everyone has had a wonderful time. We have used chalets in Perthshire and Argyll and taken our own coach Daisy on these travels. We also to receive further funding for 2012 – 2013 to run another six breaks. In 2013 2014 the Adventure Break programme was for 5-19. We found that many families could not access our holiday club so we were very grateful to Shared Care who agreed we could use the funding so Glasgow Children could access the holiday Clubs. This was also done in 2014 2015 and we now wait to see if we have been successful for 2015 2016 in receiving funding to continue this valuable service.
The young Adults from 20+ are now covered by The creative Breaks programme and we received £30,000 in September 2015 for 4 breaks to be run by September 2016. This programme has also been supported again by The St. James Place Foundation. Fingers crossed the programme will continue to be funded as this is much needed not just by carers but the young people.
Like all our other services we like to get to know young people before we can offer a break as the huge success depends on staff and client being happy and comfortable with each other.
We are offering such breaks in our Self Directed Support and Personalisation plans and some families have already built an annual break into their programme.
Once again contact us directly for further information.