Interest Link Report to Blackhill Windfarm Fund on the grant of £1,500 made in December 2015.
We aimed to benefit 10 people with learning disabilities in Duns and Gavinton, and achieved exactly that (all live in Duns) through the 1:1 links and the four befriending groups we run. Over the whole of Berwickshire, 48 children, young people and adults with learning disabilities benefited, along with over 70 carers. This report covers all our activities in Berwickshire, not just the ones specifically funded by the grant.
2. Activities included:
People linked 1-1 have gone fruit picking, to the beach, swimming, walking, making stop animations, going to the cinema, visiting Dunbar, having lunch, drawing, dancing at a Country & Western Club, lunch at Carfraemill, visiting the the Hirsel, visiting Edinburgh Dungeons and going on train journeys o the new Borders Railway.
The three youth groups (Children’s, Young people’s and ACE groups) did a great range of activities, including: bushcraft and wild play sessions; scrapbooking, Halloween and Christmas parties, going to the panto, group games, film nights, arts and crafts, Decoupage sessions, bingo, parachute games, sock tig, and pottery sessions.
The Children’s Group and Youth Group both had large drama/film projects, which can be seen on the Videos page of our website at www.interestlink.org.uk
2016 Berwickshire Art and Evaluation, with two spin-off films. This was a children’s art project, but with a strong evaluation angle with input from children, volunteers and parents.
2016 Interest Link Through The Ages and 2016 Interest Link News: these were entirely for fun, with heavy use being made of green screen to insert backdrops.
Both sets of films were premiered to group members’ family and friends.
The adult Coldstream Group had BBQs, played croquet, giant jenga, tried archery, went to the beach at Berwick-on-Tweed where they paddled in the sea, collected shells and flew kites. They enjoyed scrapbooking, a quiz, crocheting, decorating mugs, darts and table football. Something for everyone!
3. The difference made:
The main intended outcomes for the project included (as per Section 3.b. of our application):
It will foster the social networks of people with learning disabilities and increase their community engagement with local organisations, activities and initiatives.
It will overcome the barriers that can prevent them from enjoying a high quality of life, improving their confidence, self-esteem, life skills and physical & mental wellbeing.
It will provide high quality respite for carers, improving their wellbeing and making family life more sustainable.
We work to create true and equal friendships and social networks, in the firm belief that these are essential for human happiness. The more specific outcomes we are looking for (happiness, confidence, self-esteem and lifeskills) flow as a natural result of these friendships, and the evidence below hopefully illustrates them in all their diversity. Benefits for carers are also reliable: parents can really enjoy their respite because they know the person they care for is enjoying themselves with trusted friends.
An independent evaluation of the Coldstream Group is attached: this is structured round the outcomes we aimed at for people with learning disabilities, with sections on Happiness, Self-belief and confidence, Lifeskills and Friendship 4 recent case studies are also attached, and look at the benefits to people with learning disabilities and carers.
Quotes from recent evaluation workshops illustrate the wide range of impacts, including those on volunteers.
The parents quotes are probably the best perspective on benefit, for example:
“She feels (one of the volunteers) is the best thing ever, she has made friends here. It’s difficult for her to try new things, this has helped her confidence to try. I remind her how she didn’t want to come to this group to start with and how much she loves it now – so I use it as an example and she’s more likely to try something else.”
“I’d like to say how much I appreciate the brilliant work you guys do and the positive effect you have on S. He really enjoys the group and looks forward to Tuesday nights. He comes home happy and relaxed which has a positive effect on the whole family. S has benefited in so many ways. The group has given him a chance to experience activities with people his own age group – developing his confidence and social skills. A huge “Thank You” to everyone!”
The short evaluation films made by the Children’s Group can be seen at http://www.interestlink.org.uk/videos.htm
(Titles are “2016 Berwickshire Art and Evaluation” together with “Parent Interviews” and “Bonus Animation”).
An Impact Report, with quantative data on how many people across Berwickshire experienced each of the outcomes in our application will follow in the New Year.
4. Financial report,
The grant was fully spent on the areas intended (though none was spent on salaries). The breakdown is as follows:
1:1 Volunteer Activity Costs 356
1:1 Volunteer Travel 718
Group Activity Costs 231
Group Travel 123
Venue Hire 72
5. Changes to staff
In August 2016 , the role of Berwickshire Co-ordinator was split as it was too large for one person. Judy Kay stayed on to manage the Adult Service, and was joined by Kate Borthwick, a longstanding volunteer who now manages the children and young people’s work
Andrew Findlay, 06 December 2016