Our project ‘Weekend Wellbeing & Independence’ has been developed to move beyond our initial COVID response projects: Therapy at Home project (launched in May 2020 – funded by Foundation Scotland’s RRR Fund) & Inclusive & Meaningful Play project (launched in June 2020 – funded by Scottish Government’s Wellbeing Fund).
As demonstrated from our work already in response to COVID-19, providing an inclusive, fun space for the whole family to safely engage in meaningful movement activities and therapeutic play is the ‘bare minimum’ of what they need during these challenging times.
This new project will see us put funding towards employing a ‘bank’ of part-time Play Assistant’s to work weekend shifts. All Play Assistant staff will be expected to undertake some mandatory training: e.g. Child & Adult Protection, First Aid, COVID Essentials, Introduction to Play, and more!
This will enable us to confidently open our therapy room to children and adults, and their families/carers, 7 days per week! Our core Occupational Therapy staff (Callum & Francesca) will continue to primarily work Monday – Friday, but will be on call various weekends to support the Play Assistants. In addition, both Callum and Francesca will be able to be ‘on call’ throughout the week to chat with parents about how to make the most of their time during the weekend time slots (in person or via MS Teams, if pre-booked).
In addition to our plans for employing part-time Play Assistants, we have been lucky enough to secure a small pot of funding to grant families:
- Inclusive Play Equipment (to continue play and therapeutic intervention at home)
- x35 licenses to Calm app (Premium) – https://www.calm.com/
Can we help you buy inclusive play equipment?
Can we help you buy Calm Premium? – 12 months fully-funded access to the Premium version of the mindfulness and meditation app
In which area(s) will the project take place?
Stirling, Falkirk, Clackmannanshire (Forth Valley)
How many people will benefit directly from the project?
Primary outcome for the project –
Improve health (physical / mental / emotional)
Second outcome for the project –
Support vulnerable people
Third outcome for the project –
Increase access to sport, exercise and leisure activities
What difference will this project make to the people involved and the wider community?
We believe the people who use our services are clearly in need of support during this challenging time – and for the foreseeable future as we are all aware that COVID will not ‘go away’ soon. From our previous social impact and current response to the virus outbreak, we are confident that our service can meet some of the needs of this population.
Recent research from key organisations within this field highlight 91% of adult carers have stated their life has been more challenging during COVID19. The main themes to emerge from Mencap’s research show that feelings of being “Exhausted, Lonely, Anxious, Guilty” is common within adults/carers.
Furthermore, the Scottish Commission for Learning Disability (SCLD) recently highlighted “loneliness, isolation and lack of support” are having a severely negative impact on the health and wellbeing of both the individuals with disabilities and the family members supporting them.
From our own market research, there are very few inclusive activities locally that individuals with disabilities and their family/carers can access safely and consistently – this was the case pre-COVID but it has been significantly worse during lockdown.
Furthermore, we have heard directly from families – and other service providers themselves – many of the parents of the families we support are struggling to care for their children as social care hours have been cut; meaning they do not receive any respite.
The sessions we want to offer during the weekend will allow individuals with disabilities, and their family/carers, to engage in fun, inclusive therapy and play that will improve their mental and physical health and wellbeing. As demonstrated from our work already in response to COVID, providing an inclusive, fun space for the whole family to safely engage in meaningful movement activities and therapeutic play is the ‘bare minimum’ of what they need during these challenging times.
Many of the skills acquired through participating in this type of “therapy” enables children, young people and adults with a wide range of lifelong disabilities to successfully integrate into mainstream society more independently than before. The approach of coaching parents and carers within this project will aid the transition from being reliant on professionals and local services to support them and their integration into mainstream society.
We have collected feedback from our customers stating their mental and physical health and wellbeing has improved by accessing support from bOunceT during lockdown.
“thank you bOunceT, we had a fantastic time!. This was the first time the kids were out after this lockdown started. They were very happy.”
“I spoke to Francesca about the difference the support you are offering, it is invaluable to us as a family with various chronic health conditions.”
“Thank you very much for making both my children very happy during these hard times… big thumbs up to you all”
“It’s wonderful that people like yourselves and Plus are out there coming up with new ways of doing things to support our kids.”
What consultation have we done to ensure this project will meet the needs and interests of those involved?
We have strong evidence to back up why this project should happen.
First, we released an online survey to all our customers and we put this onto our public social media platforms. This survey asked for feedback about how we can best support families at this time. In addition to the survey, we have consulted with parents and carers within our Parent Partner’s group – all of whom have agreed this project will benefit them and other families across the local area.
Furthermore, having ‘responded’ well to the COVID19 outbreak, we are now ready to ‘recover’ from this and build a sustainable service that meets all of the health and wellbeing challenges faced by this population. We have learnt from feedback about the benefits of these projects, the things we can improve on, and value these projects have been for the people who use our services: ‘invaluable’ & ‘lifesaving’ being main words quoted by families.
As a result, we want to combine what has been most effective from each of these projects, and build a sustainable element into the project by employing a variety of ‘bank staff’ to ensure we always have staff to support the delivery of this project.
The need for co-production and co-working
As we develop this project we will liaise with key contacts from organisations across Forth Valley to promote our project – whilst working with them to promote their services, and come up with ideas about how we could co-deliver services to benefit our local community.
Children and young people ; Families/Parents/Lone parents ; Carers ; People in care or suffering serious illness ; People with learning difficulties ; People with physical difficulties ; People with mental health issues ; People with low skill levels.
Early years (0-4) ; Children (5-12) ; Young people (13-18) ; Young adults (19-25) ; Adults (26-65)
Disability and access issues ; Caring responsibilities ; Counselling/Advice/Mentoring ; Education, learning and training ; Mental health ; Poverty and disadvantage ; Social inclusion and fairness ; Sport and recreation ; Supporting family life