It’s official: Autumn has begun and winter is drawing near. Now it’s time to reflect on the summer that was! High spirits and exciting outings were the order of the season with day trips and social events organised by our Sutton and Teddington services in London.

This summer our Sutton service arranged a day trip to Brighton for the people they support, as well as those in Teddington and other outreach services. In its third year running now these visits to Brighton are eagerly anticipated by everyone involved, and are an opportunity to catch up, relax and take in the fresh seaside air. At 9am on a brisk Wednesday morning around 50 people boarded a coach in south London ready for their two-hour round-trip to ‘not so sunny’ Brighton. Despite the weather, the day was a huge success and involved everything that Brighton has to offer: arcades, beach, iconic pier, fish and chips and ice cream. The day was planned and a pub lunch at the local Harvester Restaurant was booked beforehand. Activities consisted of visiting the Grade II listed pleasure pier and, of course, the amusement arcade, walking around the town and going to the beach (toes were dipped in the sea but it definitely wasn’t the weather for swimming!). The coachload of cheerful people we support, their family and friends, and carers were back safely by 5pm and everyone had a thoroughly enjoyable trip. “It was a really good day,” says Karen, Locality Manager. Given its success, this well organised community day out will no doubt need more coaches next year!

Our flexible and professional approach adapts to meet each individual’s needs, capabilities and choices across a wide range of service models, including supported living, residential care, support at home, lifestyle support and extra care. However, at Walsingham Support we like to go above and beyond and we take joy in organising cheerful get-togethers that include as many people as possible.

And so, the fun didn’t stop there. Almost a month after Brighton an all-day BBQ was organised in Sutton for the people we support, their friends and families and social workers. As with previous years, the BBQ was attended by a mix of people and all in all there were around 40 guests, including Founder, Mark Snell and his wife, Anne, who both enjoyed it. Everything you would expect from a typical British BBQ was there: chicken wings, burgers, mixed salads and, this time, the sun was shining. Both staff and the people we support were on BBQ duty and the atmosphere was calm and jubilant.

The best bit: the BBQ was a recent purchase from the money that our Sutton service had received from winning the Community Award in June. This prize is part of the 2019 Staff Awards and was won for social inclusion which was enabled by the set up of The Rise Club. The Rise Club started in January this year and is a weekly drop-in centre that runs every Friday in the local hall with activities such as cooking, preparing lunch and playing games. It is open to anyone with learning difficulties who is in the Sutton area.

49% of people with learning disabilities would like to spend more time outside their house [Mencap 2015]. Gatherings such as these, then, are a great way to get the people we support out and about, to meet new people and to make new friends. “We do it so people aren’t isolated and so that we can build a rapport with the people we support and their families,” says Karen.

Overall, it was a great summer to look back on; full of plenty of achievements and exuberant social events.