Playscheme Service – 2020 Update

Last year was a strange year for everyone – and that was no different in our Playscheme. Our staff worked extremely hard to keep our service open throughout the pandemic and to provide much-needed respite for our service users and their families. Throughout 2020, our Playscheme service remained open and supported over 30 children on the autistic spectrum.

The need for support increased greatly throughout lockdown and with our choices of outings being limited, staff had to work hard to ensure they were providing both an engaging and safe environment for all. We have been very lucky to have various parks nearby where we were able to take the children for walks and when the parks reopened, we were able to play there.

Our teenagers’ group (Saturday 1) engaged in a variety of activities throughout the year and have helped to make decisions about Playscheme including what they enjoy doing. We were lucky enough to receive an extremely generous donation from Marks and Spencer in Bridge of Don for the group’s session on Halloween – we were able to give the children some form of “normality”, with Halloween decorations and a goody bag to go home with the children. The children really enjoyed this event and had fun dressing up and playing games, with staff joining in! On the run up to Christmas, this group also joined in with making Christmas Crafts, with some wooden snowmen and Christmas trees to decorate. The materials were donated by a member of staff. This group also enjoyed doing some baking and have been practicing their life skills by helping staff to tidy up at the end of the day. All children in this group have been extremely helpful and we are very grateful.

Thank you to Marks & Spencer in Bridge of Don for sponsoring our Halloween Event 2020!

Our other groups have enjoyed lots of sensory play throughout the year. The children have been loving their iPads and Kindles which were donated to us. We have been able to use these for communication and have been encouraging Makaton through use of Singing Hands on YouTube. These gadgets have been extremely helpful, especially when we have been limited in outings.

More recently, we were able to utilise the minibus to take the children out into the wider community. All the groups enjoyed having the bus back and were happy to see our bus driver Donald back behind the wheel. Throughout this time, we went on outings to various parks where the children enjoyed the fresh air and having a good run around.

Staff have had to undertake lots of training this year to ensure we are creating a safe environment for our service users and their families; this training has been invaluable and will no doubt be useful in the new year also. Carly Stott (Team leader) has achieved her Level 1 in Makaton which has contributed towards making Playscheme a more inclusive environment. She has also been able to share her learning with other staff members to increase the use of Makaton throughout the service.

To view more photos, click this link to the slideshow posted on our YouTube channel.

Overall, the year 2020 has definitely been one to remember, but we have been extremely lucky to have a dedicated team of staff in Playscheme committed to keeping the service running. We have welcomed Mae Diansangu on board as Team Leader and Teri Walsh, Emma Stott and Davide Bonne as Deputy Team Leaders. We have also welcomed around 9 new children into Playscheme and have been lucky to have lots of support from our service users and their families, showing understanding and empathy, which has been amazing throughout these uncertain times.

Until our next update and here’s to a better 2021!

*Article contributed by: Pearl Begbie (Service Manager) and Carly Stott (Playscheme Team Leader)

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