Quarriers, along with Scotland and Rangers football legend Ally McCoist MBE, welcomed families affected by disability to their open day at Quarriers Countryview Service in Quarriers Village.
Ally kicked off proceedings following a tour of the service with Project Manager Sandra Semple where he was shown around the recently upgraded sensory garden and sensory room. He met with staff, families who currently use the service as well as families wanting to find out more about the purpose-built facility.
Speaking at the event Ally said: “I have built my career on football and was lucky enough to make the most of the opportunities offered to me. Many children and families supported here are also offered opportunities to make new friends, be more independent and try out new activities. This is particularly important when you are affected by disability. Countryview is a fantastic service, the sensory room offers unparalleled facilities for the children to play, discover and learn.”
Quarriers Deputy Chief Executive and Service Director Andy Williamson added: “Countryview offers regular short break care to families who are caring for a child aged 5-18 years with a learning disability. If you have a child that is affected by disability and think that Countryview could help, then we would encourage you to get in touch.”
Typical of the families who are supported by Countryview is the Whoriskey family whose daughter Lucy (aged 9) has complex health needs. The Whoriskey’s from West Dunbartonshire have been using the service for four years.
Lucy’s mum Jane reflects on her experiences with Quarriers Countryview Service: “For the first five years of her life, Lucy rarely slept and needed to be cuddled all the time. Now at 9 years old, she can’t walk or talk and has significant and complex healthcare needs.
“The idea of Lucy going to respite was first mentioned by our social worker when Lucy was just two years old. Even with my other children, I struggled to leave them with my mum, but a friend persuaded me that the longer you leave it, the harder it is on everyone – on you and on your child.
“Lucy was five when she had her first overnight at Countryview. I cried and cried. I can’t explain how it felt. It was like a knot inside. I had so much anxiety, I felt like I couldn’t swallow.
“What has made us stronger is that we have to be strong for our other children. When Lucy’s at Quarriers Countryview Service we can do other family things – like at Christmas we can go to the pantomime.
“I can’t speak any more highly of the team at Countryview. They’re great with Lucy. She loves music, and loves to be sung to, and there’s lots of equipment there that she uses. I trust the team at Countryview. Lucy can’t come home and tell me about the day she’s had so I call every night to see how she is. If she’s not been great, they’ll tell you – and that makes it better, because you know they’re being honest with you. I feel confident, and I know she’s well.
“Lucy’s lovely. She loves a laugh, and she’s so happy. Her smile just lights up the room. At the end of the day, Lucy’s ours, she’s loved, and she’s missed when she’s away. As a parent it’s so reassuring to know that she’s being properly looked after and she’s able to enjoy herself in a safe and comforting environment.”
Sandra Semple, Quarriers Countryview Project Manager says, “Often when parents have finally made the decision to send their child here for respite, it’s because they are at breaking point. Parents don’t want to need our service, but they do, and it brings lots of benefits. It’s not until your child has this support that you realise you can enjoy the simple things in life, like having a bath without worrying if your child needs you. I don’t see respite just as a way to get families through a difficult patch – it’s laying important foundations for a richness of life, with contact with different people that doesn’t solely depend on parents, and that’s important for any child.”