- Approach: Showing cliënts the possibilities in their leisure time.
- Time investment: 2 hours a week
- Costs: 100-500 euro
- Resources: Games, a place to coock, a holiday home
- Element for success: Openess to participate in groupactivities
Our organization 'Fokus Karlin' is committed to people with mental health problems, who cannot live independently in Prague. With this target group, we see that leisure is an important topic. When we investigate this further, we often see similar ways of filling in leisure time. Many of our clients spend a lot of time at home or in the hospital/institutions and spend their free time at home behind the television. This is why we started talking to our clients, we wanted to give them the experience and opportunity that other citizens also have in their spare time.
Radek is one of our clients who participated in our activities, although he was reluctant to meet new people at the beginning, he later tasted the possibilities of this initiative.
Every Wednesday we organize the 'open Wednesday', here people can come to our location to meet and do fun things. This can be anything like: cooking, games, listening to- or making music, actually anything is possible. You do this together with the other people who are there and you get to know people through the different possibilities. In the afternoon we organize group activities, this could be a reading group, a talking group or activities that focus on the relationship between people. We also try to involve the people from the neighborhood, because many of our clients lack a sense of network. We are also trying to reach other social workers and professionals, so that more clients in solitude have the opportunity to participate in the open Wednesday.
The activity centre
After realizing what is our goal, to be able to contribute something to the leisure spending of our target group, we set up the activity center. This is done by 2 colleagues who are constantly looking for fun and cultural happenings, who ensure that our clients come into contact with other people. These 2 colleagues see the clients who have difficulty 'going out', for whatever reason and try to help them. This is done by simply having contact, talking, walking, listening to the wishes of the client and thereby lowering the threshold to go to events. These 2 social workers are experiential experts and know what having mental health problems entails. They also understand the positive effects that the way of spending time off entails. The activity center also gives people the opportunity to find a buddy and helps search for solutions by other obstacles on the road.
For our clients we organize an annual holiday. We do our best to make this holiday as affordable as possible, because many of our clients do not have a fat pot. The idea is to make the holiday look as much as possible like a 'normal' holiday. As a result, we connect as much as possible with the wishes of our clients.
Besides cooking, nothing is mandatory. Everyone is free to do what they want, but we do recommend seeking relaxation and meeting new people. Due to the success of these holidays, we were able to expand a little. So we extended the holiday by a weekend and asked our clients if they wanted to invite loved ones, such as family and friends. This saw how the clients react to the people who are close by and see them in a familiar atmosphere. This also creates the opportunity for the social worker to get to know the client's environment and ensures a better and deeper connection with your client.
What did this deliver to Radek?
Radek has gone through this process with us, as described above. He didn't see the value of meeting new people and the new way of spending leisure. Radek dared to open up to our initiative and this has brought him a lot. Radek has also been on holiday, he was very happy to be out of his house for the first time in years. On holiday, he met new people. He was able to open his efforts and share problems here, because all the other holidaymakers are somewhere in the same boat. He has broadened his horizons and now spends much less time alone at home, but is involved in social occasions. He has met many new people and can also find support here, also the bond with his family has been strengthened and improved. We see that this initiative has had a very positive impact on Radek!
We would like to thank Eva Kudrnová of Fokus Karlin for the inspiration of this story!