Young people with additional support needs (ASN) had a ball this summer by taking part in outdoor activities and making a difference to their community.

Around 40 children and teenagers gathered with their families at Barrhead’s Water Works on Fridays during the holidays, where they cleared debris, had a go at gardening and enjoyed weekly barbecues.

The club was hosted by East Renfrewshire ASN Parents Action Group, known as ERA.

The organisation runs a junior section and a teen section, which usually meet at Dunterlie Resource Centre and The Museum, in Barrhead’s Main Street, respectively, but had to think outside the box for this year’s summer club, due to the Covid situation.

“We would normally run a summer club where we would take the young people out places but, because of Covid, we decided we would see what space we could use for outdoor activities,” said ERA chair Oonagh McKinnon.

“We were down at the Water Works for the whole day on Fridays.

“We made up planters and held a music club. We also had Off Grid Community, in Clarkston, down to do woodcraft with the young people and the community police visited to speak about safety.

“Everyone involved made a big difference to the area and they have done a 

“A lot of work was done in terms of clearing bits and planting different things. We planted sunflowers, nasturtiums and salad vegetables.

“We have put down some playground games, so families walking in the area can go in and do some hopscotch and things like that.

“Everybody who has come across us when we have been down there has been really positive about the area getting used a wee bit more and about the bits of work we have been doing.

“It’s been fun and we are hopeful we will be able to use the space again.”
ERA caters for youngsters from birth to their mid-20s.

The organisation brought the junior and teen sections together for the summer sessions, which allowed young people to meet up with their pals and gave parents the chance to chat with each other.

Funding was provided by the Corra Foundation through the STV Children’s Appeal and Comic Relief, as well as Voluntary Action East Renfrewshire.

“Most of the young people know each other but we have had lots of interest in the community from other people as well, so new families and new teenagers came along,” Oonagh added.

“It’s a really good way for them to get to know each other because, for some of these young people, it’s very difficult to socialise.”