Seven residents from Brookside Care Centre took to the countryside last week and spent a day at Hope Nature Centre in Southwick, Trowbridge. The Centre is a registered charity established in 2000 to help provide work placements for young adults with learning difficulties.

The residents spent much of the day visiting, petting and feeding the various animals who live at the centre including pigs, parrots, owls, goats, sheep, tortoises, donkeys and horses. Residents Robin and Eileen both had horses in their pasts; Robin had owned them and Eileen had worked on a farm. They were so pleased to be able reconnect with the mysterious beasts again. As they both took turns to stroke the horse’s muzzle and offer cooing sounds of affection you could see they had travelled back in time, to revisit those days gone by, with a fond and wistful grin on each of their faces.

Residents also enjoyed a stroll down the fairy trail. Looking for clues of the fairy inhabitants, they crept around the wooded area taking in the plants and trees with a lung full of fresh air to drive them forward.

They stopped for a moment to sit beside the duck pond and watched the dragonflies swooping, hovering and zooming away into the trees. Residents recounted childhood memories of feeding ducks with their families. As they took in the tranquil scene and looked out onto the water, just for a moment, residents stopped being residents and the team stopped being carers. In that moment, they were simply a group of people, wondering about the mysteries of life, contemplating their pasts and lapping up the unparalleled sense of peace and serenity which only the countryside can offer.

All that fresh air gave the residents and team members a hankering for something sweet, so they stopped for coffee and a cake at the on-site café before a walk around the gift shop. Many residents bought small mementoes for themselves and their loved ones. The shop has a lovely selection of small trinkets, mostly handmade. More than one resident fell in love with a small, wooden, hand carved rabbit with multiple purchases being made.

As the day drew to an end and residents travelled home they felt a sense of contentment having had a full and satisfying day.

Brookside Care Centre aims to take its residents out into the community as often as possible. They recognise that staying connected with the world around them is not only crucial for their wellbeing but also represents an opportunity for residents to really bond with the care team outside of the typical setting. It allows them to celebrate the fact that in the end, carers and residents alike are all simply people, travelling down a fairy path and to remember that residents can often offer the team just as much as the team can offer them.