What is the People First Learning Holiday?
People who come on our learning holidays tell us that they have a wonderful time!
‘he really did have a brilliant time and thank you for making it so packed full of experiences.’
The holiday is an opportunity for participants to take a break from their normal routines, develop independent skills, take responsibility for themselves, and socialise whilst learning about healthy lifestyle choices.
This can be challenging, particularly for people who have learning difficulties or who are neurodivergent but here at People First KC we believe that when you challenge yourself you increase your self -awareness and begin to grow as a person. Our motto is ‘give it a go you never know’. It is amazing to see the confidence of individuals grow throughout the week and even better when a parent or carer recognises this after the holiday.
“at first I wasn’t confident then I had a go and got used to it”
To keep each other feeling safe and respected during the holiday a group agreement is written using positive language telling people what we do expect as opposed to what we don’t expect. Throughout the week participants are encouraged to have a positive attitude and are supported to find solutions to any problems, developing an attitude of positivity can be a skill useful for wellbeing.
“I have the power to change negative to positive.”
Participants get involved in a wide variety of activities such as, health, well-being, fitness, cooking and socialising together and are supported by staff and volunteers with a wealth of skills and knowledge. We believe staff and volunteers should do with and not for people. Some of our office members are trained peer supporters and deliver some sessions.
“ there are nice staff on the learning holiday”
All activities are inclusive, and we encourage people to do their best not necessarily be the best. The holiday is a supportive environment where encouraging each other is promoted. When people have realistic expectations, they can achieve, this may look very different for everyone, but this is when we see the self -esteem of an individual increase. We all need to believe in our self and have supportive others who believe in us too.
“I liked it when we celebrated our success”
Participants are encouraged to make choices throughout the holiday. Being given a choice makes people feel more in control, although making choices can be challenging if we are not used to making them. We help people understand that they have a voice and that there isn’t a right or wrong choice. Accepting people’s choices when they may differ from ours can also be challenging for people who support and care for others, sometimes we think we know best! However, people with learning disabilities and or autism do have the right to make their own choices and have their voice heard…this is advocacy!
“ I now know how to make healthier choices’
During the holiday participants are helped to understand the importance of checking in with the way they feel. Recognising and being able to express how you feel is very important, it increases self -awareness and improves relationships with others. All feelings are valid, and individuals are encouraged to think about healthy habits that can help when they don’t feel okay.
“it’s ok to get angry but you can go for a walk or have time to yourself.”
Our hope is that individuals take the learning from the holiday and make some lifestyle changes. Participants create a ‘promise card’ which is sent to them some weeks after the holiday, a chance to celebrate their success or be reminded of their intentions.
“it is more important to look after yourself be independent I’m going to try”
An annual conference is also held to reconnect with each other and share experiences with participants and professionals.
“ really positive conference loved how much people are involved in the running of the service”
Following the learning holiday many participants stay connected with our organisation through our social events and some have even become members of People first Keighley and Craven.
Describing what we do will never get anywhere close to experiencing the holiday itself!
Amazing things happen both big and small because of the holiday. We should never underestimate the small things for when we look back, they may well have been the big things, the start of something new!