‘Yes please’ was the enthusiastic answer from residents at an Upper Beeding care home when they were offered pony and trap rides.
The first excursion went no further than the car park at Valerie Manor nursing and residential care home, in Henfield Road, but it heralded the start of a new relationship.
Owner Zoë Bates said she hopes to plan trips for next year, in consultation with residents.
“Three residents took turns up and down the car park and thoroughly enjoyed themselves, as did the staff,” she said.
The aim of the taster session was to show residents how the trap works for everyone, without the need for wheelchair users to leave their seats.
Zoë explained it all came about when Simon Mulholland from Pony Access made contact, offering residents the chance to experience a pony and trap ride.
“At Valerie Manor, we hold monthly residents meeting where we update the residents with all emails and letters received from people and organisations offering different types of activities or entertainment and let them decide which ones they’d like to try,” she added.
“We discussed this with the residents and it was a resounding yes.
“Simon visited Valerie Manor and introduced his pony Obama to us. Simon explained that initially he wanted to show our residents how safe it was and liked to do the first taster session in a familiar location to ensure all users enjoyed their first experience.
“We are hoping to plan other trips next year and have asked the residents for their thoughts.”
Valerie Manor has been selected as one of five national finalists for the Care Home of the Year 2016. The overall winner will be announced at a gala event in London on November 25.
Zoë said: “Being selected as a finalist in itself is such an achievement that we are very proud of. Fingers crossed for November 25.”
The National Care Awards is an annual event organised by Caring Times magazine, a management magazine for the social care sector. They were devised to celebrate the best people in the long-term care sector by highlighting excellence.
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