Under 19's Leisure Scheme
|Saffron Walden||Great Dunmow|
|Time||7pm to 9pm||7pm to 9pm|
This project provides the following services for children/young people with a disability in the Uttlesford area of Essex :
- two weekly social clubs (1 in Great Dunmow and 1 in Saffron Walden)
- occasional small group activities
- two annual holiday to Center Parcs (one of which is for children/young people with profound/complex needs)
- activity days during the long school summer holidays. In 2008 we provided 5 of these (on the themes of music, sport, drama, art & dance) & in 2009 we are planning to offer 10 days.
- in addition we are hoping to develop a 1:1 befriending service during the next year.
This project was developed in response to the identified needs of children/young people with a disability whose opportunities to participate in leisure/social activities outside school hours were very limited.
Currently over 40 children/young people (aged 13 - 19) regularly access our project and several more access it on an ad hoc basis. As well as seeking to increase their opportunities to participate in activities that would otherwise not be available our project is designed and delivered in ways which are geared towards achieving the following outcomes for participants :
1) reduced social isolation
2) increased self-confidence
3) improved life and social skills
4) the project also has the ancillary outcome of providing reliable, regular respite care for families
5) improved empowerment achieved, e.g., by enabling people to exercise choice and by playing a role in the management and development of the project.
We regularly monitor our project to check our progress in meeting these desired outcomes.
One of the strengths of our project is its staff and volunteers. Staffing on the project comprises of a co-ordinator, deputy co-ordinator and a support worker, all of whom are part-time. These staff are supplemented by in excess of 20 volunteers all of whom are themselves young people - the majority being recruited from local 6th forms. This itself has a number of advantages that include :
- increased interaction for young people with a disability with their non-disabled peers. Opportunities for such interaction are often limited because they tend to attend different schools, etc.
- the provision of positive role models
- opportunities for young people to "put something back into their local communities" and to gain new skills and experiences.