Options In Life
Options in Life is an organisation which runs a social inclusion and skills development programme for isolated young people with learning disabilities in St Andrews and surrounding areas of Fife. Their aim is to improve social and economic prospects for people with disabilities and their families by facilitating supported access to continued learning, skill building and regular social engagement.
Their programme encourages young people with learning disabilities to develop the skills needed to leverage themselves out of isolation, deprivation and dependence, whilst giving their carers a regular short-break and access to a process which actively reduces the level of care required of them. Before COVID their programme ran 5 days and 2 evenings per week with up to 25 young adults with learning disabilities attending each day.
Due to the COVID pandemic, all of their normal services had to be suspended from the end of March last year. This came as a massive blow to the young people they support, all of whom have a learning disability and additional support needs. The organisation realised very quickly that they had to adapt their services and do everything they could to support the families.
Since the beginning of April, through Social Media, they have been running daily quizzes and competitions, setting challenges, telling stories and keeping up to date with what everyone is doing. They have been delivering weekly activity packs to their service users by post and are engaging the young people in arts and crafts sessions, baking and cookery, delivered by the Options in Life team via live video link. They have also engaged some of their service partners to deliver remote sessions to their user groups
With the support of St Andrews Community Trust, Options in Life were also able to resume live Recreation Programme group services in September, following COVID-19 safety measures. During the last three and a half months of 2020, each of their Recreation Programme groups attended weekly team building days at Willowgate outdoor activity centre. They took part in various activities including field archery, kayaking, catapult building, and worked on their Source to Sea project, learning about the heritage of the River Tay, from Loch Tay to the river mouth. Instructors from Willowgate also travelled to Tentsmuir Forest every week to deliver Source to Sea project sessions to the groups.
Mary Scott, Vice-Chair Options in Life said :
“Sincere thanks from everyone at Options in Life for the support of St Andrews Community Trust during this extremely trying time. Your funding has helped us to make a real difference to the lives of the young adults we support, and their families.”