Choosing how I spend my time

Personalisation is transforming adult disability services.

Through self-directed support, Quarriers works closely with people we support to develop personalised services which truly meet their needs and enable them to get the most out of life.

Quarriers Calvay Service in Glasgow supports adults with learning disabilities to live in their own tenancies and access their local community. Project Manager David McFadden explains that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to providing support, and that giving people choice and control is fundamental to meeting their needs.

A significant part of this is identifying opportunities for people we support to take part in meaningful activities, which help to improve self-esteem and wellbeing. Through discussions with people we support, staff arrange and plan activities such as an annual fishing trip to Inverness. This has proved so popular that a second trip has been added to accommodate everyone who wants to take part.

Since summer 2014, people supported by the service have been attending community allotments in Barlanark. In addition to growing fruit and vegetables in their plot, people we support have been learning woodworking skills with the help of volunteers, and have been building sheds, benches and walkways for the plot as well as making bird houses, wishing wells and wheelbarrow planters. The team has been selling the handmade planters, with money raised going back into buying materials for the gardens.

Peter, who is supported by the service, often comes along to the allotments five days a week to work on his patch. He has really enjoyed having the opportunity to learn lots of new skills and meeting new people.

Indeed, spending time at the allotments has had a very positive effect on the health and wellbeing of the people we support. Learning new skills and engaging in a healthy activity outdoors has boosted their confidence and self-esteem, and has even led to one person we support coming off anti-depressant medication.

David comments that people enjoy coming to the allotments so much that even bad weather doesn’t put them off, and that people we support will pop into the office at the allotment for a chat and a cup of tea if it starts to rain.

The allotments have opened up connections within the local community. In May, Quarriers held an open day, inviting local schools and neighbours along to see the gardens. People we support enjoyed talking about their work, and one young person supported by the service DJed at the event.

Staff also have the opportunity to share experiences they enjoy with people we support. Alistair Baird, who volunteers with the service, helps out with the River Clyde Foundation through its Clyde Riverfly Monitoring Partnership. Because so many people supported at the service enjoy the fishing trips, they were keen to get involved and learn about the ecosystems of their local waterways. With Alistair’s support, a group of people we support are regularly monitoring the wildlife in Tolcross Burn and report their findings back to the Foundation.

Project Worker John Davidones says that this has been a great opportunity for people we support to feel like they are giving something back to the local community and that they are part of an important project. And the benefits of activities like this are plain to see: not only do people we support spend time doing something they enjoy, they have a sense of purpose and confidence to live the life they choose.

Giving people choice and control over their support is fundamental to meeting their needs.

  • David McFadden, Project Manager