Quarriers East Ayrshire Supported Living Service provides support for adults who have physical or learning disabilities. The service promotes independence and inclusion through support both at-home and in the community. Families can access the service through self-directed support (SDS) budgets, enabling them to choose the level of support they need, from a few hours a week to 24-hour care.
The service runs a programme of core activities at its base, including arts and craft sessions and computer classes run by Quarriers digital inclusion service Go4IT. The weekly drop-in café on Wednesdays is particularly popular as it gives people we support the chance to meet up with friends over a coffee and enjoy a range of games and activities.
Participation is fundamental to the work of the service, and the drop-in café is an opportunity for staff and people we support to discuss and plan upcoming activities. People we support play a very active role in choosing how they spend their time, and activities are very much led by their interests. Everyone has the opportunity to put their views across, whether the group is planning special events like an Olympic Games-themed sports day and Halloween parties or choosing what to watch at the service’s monthly film nights.
The service is a prime example of putting Quarriers participation toolkit, the iFive, into practice. The iFive focuses on the five interconnecting themes of information, consultation, involvement, participation and inclusion, which enable staff and people we support to work together to identify opportunities for positive change and easily record each person’s progress as they work towards achieving their personal goals.
The team at the service has also begun using Creative Facilitation planning tools when people we support are working towards a larger project or event. People we support recently created a PATH in which they discussed their vision for the service and worked backwards to identify steps which would help them achieve this. Through this, people we support identified that they would like to have garden furniture for the summer, and planned a bucket collection at Braehead Shopping Centre in Glasgow.
This process helps to build confidence and self-esteem both by looking at the strengths of the people taking part and providing very real, measurable results. The bright, colourful PATH graphic serves a reminder of what they have achieved so far, and is displayed at the service.
Steven used to be reluctant to leave the house and was worried about leaving his dog at home alone. Staff at the service spoke to Steven about his concerns and how he was feeling. They built up trust and Steven began coming along to groups run by the service and expressing interest in activities he wanted to try. He recently went go-karting for the first time, something he had wanted to do for a long time.
As Steven’s confidence grew, he worked together with staff to arrange a day trip to Arran, somewhere he could bring his dog. This was a huge milestone for Steven, marking the first time he had travelled outwith his local area. By supporting Steven to make choices and take more control in his life, the service has helped him to develop his independence and has seen a huge change in him: he enjoyed his trip to Arran so much that he now wants to go back and stay overnight.
“We are really proud of Steven,” says Project Manager Colin Hedley. “He has been on a huge journey with us.”