During the summer period Mahdlo (MYZ) delivered six days of CADS which attracted 82 young people with additional needs or a disability. The programme offered a more structured environment with support from extra staff with knowledge and experience of supporting young people with additional needs or a disability. The young people engaged well with a wide variety of activities including; trampoline and rebound, fishing, cooking, arts and crafts, cycling and volleyball. Evaluations were taken at the end of the day, where young people were asked about how they felt and what they thought about the activities. 20 young people stated that they felt nervous at the start of the day as there were new people to meet, new activities to try and a new space to get used to. 32 young people stated that by the end of the day they felt happy, confident or proud.
During the summer CADS programme, it was the first time MYZ had provided 1-to-1 support for three young people. This was provided in partnership with a local support service; Care Mark. By providing 1-to-1 support Mahdlo have removed barriers for some of the most isolated families to engage with new activities and new social environments. One parent told me that it was the first time she had left her son in the care of a service provider other than school without her supervision. She was nervous to leave him at first, however she was able to enjoy some leisure time independently for the first time. In addition, her son was able to participate in leisure activities without mum’s supervision, which is a huge step of independence for both mother and son.
Mahdlo recently held an inclusive Dance Festival – watch the highlights here:
The Ability Coordinator delivers junior workshops once a week. This is small group based work that involves games and sensory play. The session is mixed with both ability members and non-ability members, and provides ability members with a space to develop friendships, and express themselves in a positive way. As junior zone is a very busy and over-stimulating environment for many young people, this session provides a smaller and more structured environment for young people to cope with sensory processes more effectively.
The Ability Multisports session continues to deliver a range of disability sports in a structured and calmer environment than the mainstream junior / senior offer. Through this provision we have seen several new members join the youth centre, who would not be able to cope in evening junior / senior provision. One young person who is a wheelchair user, traditionally attended on Sunday’s during the Family Ability session, however he now attends regularly to this session which has given him the opportunity to make new friends and develop his confidence through an inclusive environment. Another young person who has attachment disorder, started the sessions with very low confidence and with no friends. She would not let her parents leave the room when taking part in the activities. Week by week we worked on increasing the difference between the young person and her parents. Her parents now sit in the reception area whilst she takes part in the activities downstairs in the sports hall without any anxieties. Her parents have commented on her confidence which has developed so much since taking part in the session. They recently attended a wedding with their daughter, who ended up on the dance floor dancing all evening. The parents said were taken by surprise as they had never seen so much confidence in her before. They claim it is down to this session that has enabled her to build on this and change her into a more confident young person.
In September, Mahdlo hosted a Patrons Dinner to thank Patrons for the support over the three years, and also attract new patrons. The event organisers invited two ability members to perform on the evening. Alex performed a scene out of the ‘Curious’ production, which was based on the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. Alex, who also has autism played the lead character and chose which scene he wanted to perform for the patrons. He was very nervous but looked very natural and confident on stage. The second young person; Ben, read a poem out on stage which he had written himself. He was inspired by the poet Mike Garry, who came to Mahdlo earlier in the year to deliver a workshop to young people. Ben engaged really well and has now written nine poems since the workshop. He read a beautiful poem about his grandfather to the patrons. Both young people received lots of positive feedback from the patrons regarding their performance and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
MYZ now operate pick up’s from wider communities across the district of Oldham. This enables young people without a means of transport to access the youth zone during the week. From this we have seen young disabled people accessing the youth zone who were previously unable to due to transport.
MYZ have established the ‘Hubs and Spokes’ programme, which involves setting up youth sessions out in the districts of the borough. Youth workers have been developing relationships in the communities and delivering sessions in local facilities. Youth workers have also been promoting the ability offer to these communities and encouraging spokes members to access the hub.
MYZ provides a minibus to pick up 16 young people from New Bridge School every Thursday for the Ability Multisports session. The provision was over-subscribed and so we have two groups of young people on a rotation who attend every other week. This offers young people an afterschool activity, and provides parents with a short break. Parents then pick young people up from MYZ which helps the Ability Coordinator to develop relationships with new families who may not have been to MYZ before.
MYZ delivered activities in partnership with two local festivals over the summer. The Open Call festival which was a local religious festival in Alexandra Park, and Saddleworth Show which is located further afield. It was good to have a presence amongst the communities where we were able to promote the ability offer and had new members sign up on the day.
Aaron recently started attending Mahdlo more regularly on Wednesday senior session. Aaron is a wheelchair user and wanted to try and lose weight. Since attending Mahdlo, he has been using the gym regularly and also taking part in boxing sessions. He also received advice from the gym staff regarding healthy eating. In two months Aaron has lost a considerable amount of weight and is feeling much healthier and happier.