The outcomes of our company-wide event ‘Party in the Park’
How an ambitious vision resulted in a unique holiday experience for the individuals we support
In November 2019, Consensus hosted ‘Party in the Park’ a company-wide event whereby supported individuals and colleagues from across the organisation were invited to attend a three-day event at Golden Sands Caravan Park in Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire in celebration of Consensus, our colleagues and the people we support.
The vision for the event was to bring as many colleagues and supported individuals from across our 90 services together to enjoy a unique holiday experience. In total 81 of our 90 services, over 150 supported individuals and over 350 support staff were in attendance.
As well as being a celebration, the aim was to live our values of opportunity, choice and success for the people we support by providing them with an opportunity to go on holiday, try new activities and new experiences and meet and make new friends within a social and inclusive environment.
Due to the size of the event, there was a huge amount of planning involved to make it a success. Taking a person-centred approach, the project team worked collaboratively with service managers and supported individuals to gain an insight into the activities that individuals would enjoy and that matched their likes, interests and abilities.
For the service managers, their task involved assessing the needs of individuals they were taking, including any health and safety risks and planning all aspects of their support from communicating to them about the event, to planning the travel and support both day and night at the event.
From physical activities like “The Spinner” and laser tag to creative pursuits like Christmas decoration and Tie-Dye T-shirt making, to interactive Brazilian percussion workshops, a petting farm, swimming pool and arcades area, the event had it all. The venue was also located a short stroll to Mablethorpe with its plethora of shops and beautiful beach. During the evenings, entertainment included, bingo, karaoke and a late-night disco on the first night with a special Awards gala evening on the second night to reward and recognise the commitment, dedication and positive outcomes being achieved by our services, colleagues and supported individuals.
Positive outcomes for supported individuals
The event created many opportunities for the individuals who attended with each person enjoying their own unique experiences and positive outcomes.
For Bryan and Robbie from De Parys, it was an opportunity to relax, be themselves and be among people who they could share experiences with in an inclusive environment where everyone shared a sense of belonging and acceptance.
For Kieran from Cheshire House, it was an opportunity to try new experiences in a safe environment and to discover new things about himself such as how much he enjoyed spending time with animals and the sense of wellbeing it provided him.
For Stephen from Fletton Avenue and Paul from Steps it was an opportunity to forge new friendships with likeminded people. Connecting over their mutual love of Elvis, Paul was subsequently invited to perform as Elvis at Stephen’s Elvis-themed 50th birthday party in January and the two now plan on keeping in regular contact and catching up socially.
For Tom from Aldeburgh House and Kaylem from Ophir Road it was the first time in their lives they had ever had an opportunity to go on a holiday and the sense of excitement and wellbeing this provided.
Positive outcomes for the support teams
There were many positives for the support teams as well. Through the experience, many discovered new activities that had a therapeutic value for the individuals they support and which could be incorporated in to their support plans moving forward, others benefited from the ability to test run a holiday and plan a model of care and support for a future independent holiday for that supported individual. For some, it presented a good opportunity to build on the progression an individual was making towards their person-centred goals, including practicing daily living skills like cooking breakfast and planning and budgeting their money or practicing social interaction in a safe environment.
Many support workers enjoyed the chance to meet and connect with support teams from other Consensus services and found it a great way to share ideas and learn from other’s success stories.
Both supported individuals and support workers enjoyed spending time together in a holiday setting where there wasn’t a set daily activity planner to follow and the person could relax and discover new experiences and activities within the venue at their own pace and dip in and out of activities as they pleased.
To read more about the personal stories of individuals who attended Party in the Park, please visit: www.consensussupport.com/party-in-the-park/