Mentor’s Summer of Kinship Care

12 September 2018 | Kinship care

Mentor UK’s Families Together staff have not been resting on their laurels over the summer – they have been busy organising and delivering their summer programme!

The summer of kinship care kicked off with a successful three-day Summer Residential programme for ten children. The benefits of music to children’s emotional wellbeing and development are well known, so this year the residential was focused around a musical element. Guided by brilliant musicians from Okestra Del Sol and Where’s the One, the children learned to play the drums and other exciting instruments like the trumpet and trombone. Mentor UK’s staff also got stuck in, and even our very own Liz Johnston managed to get a sound from the trumpet – an achievement that had been eluding her since High School!

The residential finished with an amazing performance by the children as part of a carnival street band at the Pennypit Café in Prestonpans, part of the Three Harbours Festival. You can watch their brilliant performance here:

The second week of the school holidays saw the Families Together team partnering up with Big Hearts Community Trust to deliver the Big Hearts Kinship Care Summer Club. Twenty children attended the club, which ran over a week from 10 o’clock in the morning to 2 o’clock in the afternoon. The summer sunshine was at its peak the whole week, which meant the kids got through a lot of sun screen as they played outside!

The week combined a variety of activities, including a music workshop, an outing to Fountain Park to play adventure golf, a trip to the cinema to watch Sherlock Gnomes and lots of fun playing inside and outside to exercise the children’s imagination! The children even got to participate in a Scottish Government consultation as part of Scotland’s Year of the Young Person. For this, a representative came to ask the children their views on different care issues for the government’s care review, an activity they really enjoyed participating in.

The week finished on a high note with a family outing to Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park near Stirling. The children and their families, including kinship carers and siblings, had a grand time scoping out the animals from near and far!

The summer of fun did not end there! 18th July saw kinship families from the Families Together Livingston Group gathering for a summer picnic in Polkemmet County Park, which included a surprise visit to the Owl Centre there. There was a sausage sizzle at the Links at Musselburgh on the 8th August for kinship families from the Families Together East Lothian group. AND, you can read our blog about the fun that was had at the Big Hearts Summer Bar-b-que at Vogrie County Park outside Edinburgh here. The jam-packed summer ended on 16th August with a trip by the Livingston Group to Almond Valley Heritage Centre. Despite the rain, fun was had by all and everyone made the most of the outing.

Our Families Together team is now busy planning for the Autumn. The Thursday night Boys’ Group has started up again and the monthly Livingston Carers’ group and Big Hearts Kinship Care Group both re-start next week. We’re looking forward to seeing what fun they have over the next few months!