Can you tell us a little bit about the project?

We work with children with disabilities who have quite complex needs.

We provide a range of services such as:

  • Short breaks - which provides a variety of opportunities and activities for disabled children in Lincolnshire so that they can have fun, gain independence, and learn and develop while their families get to take a much needed break from their full time caring role.
  • Domiciliary care service – which supports families within the family home to children with the most complex disabilities who have been assessed as requiring support. This service supports parents during what is seen to be the most stressful times of day (typically early morning and bed time).
LSTB group

LSBT group

Disability Lincolnshire.

How do you feel the service has adapted to need over the years?

Well we have been delivering services to children with disabilities in Lincolnshire for the last 27 years. So over the years I think it’s fair to say that we have been adaptable, very flexible and responsive. We delivered a fostering short-breaks service and from that, we started developing domiciliary care service. Families said that they would rather have care provided in the family home, so we developed it in that way. So as time has passed we have responded to what families and children have said they wanted.

Similarly with the short-break service we listened to what the children wanted. Those who attended a bowling group said they wanted a youth club style service as they were becoming teenagers. So as youth clubs were going out of fashion for general teenagers, we found that it really  met the needs of children with disabilities because it gave them a place where they could feel ordinary and be with their friends. They could use the services and facilities that a youth club would have, as snooker tables or PlayStation, and allowed the young people to get together with other young people like themselves. The atmosphere which was created made it feel like a social group. This has been a real success.

Onesie

Onesie party

Disability Lincolnshire.

Do you have examples of where you have made any achievements?

One of the things we have done with our older service users is that as the website has been developed, we discovered that although some of these children may be limited with their ability to read and write, when it came to the website we used both blogs and photographs quite a bit and got them involved with our social media presence.

We also looked at safer internet with them and safeguarding as we also use quite a bit of social media such as Facebook and Twitter. So it’s about creating a balance of developing their skills and developing friendships and making sure they have the skills to keep themselves safe.

A couple of years ago we took 57 children to a PGL activity weekend. This was a one off experience due to the weekend costs being donated, and getting the funding to provide the staff from the local authority. However only a handful of the children had ever done anything like this before, for many of them it was the first time they had ever been away from home and everyone, from the children to  the staff had a fabulous time. It also gave them such new experiences and a number of them said their brother or sister had been and they never thought they’d get the chance.

Space centre

Disability Lincolnshire

On a day out at the space centre.

How has the new website and social media helped the project and what are the benefits?

Well we have a website, a Facebook page and a Twitter account. What’s quite interesting is that we use the website more to keep people up to date with what’s happening and the services that we are running, which includes much more broader information on what’s going on. We also do the blogs on the website too.

The Facebook page is where many of the parents and staff communicate on and keep their eye on. There is much more contact on there with families and updates on what’s happening. We also report on the wider Action for Children stories such as the Giant Wiggle so we will post information on that.

Twitter is used more to raise awareness with professionals. Equally that has value because alongside the national Action for Children Twitter account we look at re-tweeting information.

We use all three networks to raise awareness about Action for Children’s local and wider work and we feel it does get across to a wide selection of people.

If it wasn't for Action for Children I would be stuck in the house.
Disability Lincolnshire service user

What is your proudest moment working with the project?

I am incredibly proud of the staff and the way they respond and care about the service and the families that we deliver too. So even when things are difficult, staff are committed to delivering the care and to being excellent. I am really very proud of every one of the over 100 staff who work here. 

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