How to support Guideposts

Fantastic Firsts at Butlin’s and Brighton Trips

Guideposts members have recently enjoyed two fantastic trips. Our GLADS group had a fun filled time at Butlins, and our Friendship 4 All members had an exciting trip to Brighton while carers and relatives enjoyed some much-appreciated respite time.

Guideposts staff worked hard to make the trips a success. The trips show just how important getting out and about is for people with a learning disability. Mencap reports people with learning disabilities have fewer chances to socialise or take part in leisure activities, and a third of young people with a learning disability spend less than 1 hour outside their home on a typical Saturday. Sadly, over three quarters of people aged 18-34 with a learning disability report feeling lonely.

What made our Butlin’s trip brilliant?

In a chat about aspirations earlier this year, our GLADS members with learning disabilities were keen to have an independent activity break. Staff and the group worked together to create a fun-packed itinerary and consider logistics, and the result was a four-day visit to Butlin’s.

Each member on the trip found new confidence and independence, and had a real sense of adventure. They really left their comfort zones, as they tried new experiences in a brand-new place.

Fantastic Firsts

There were many firsts for our members, from being able to select their own food from the buffet dinners, to summoning the confidence to use the water flumes at the swimming pool. It was a truly memorable occasion for all.

The sister-carer of one group member said “it was a break for both of us, as a time when we really needed it. I can’t thank you enough”. Having suffered a recent bereavement, the trip offered both siblings a much-needed break.

For two people, the trip marked the first time having a holiday away from their family. The trip also allowed some parents to have their first holiday without their daughter since she was born, and she’s now in her twenties!

Two members had never experienced the excitement of water flumes, and they found the confidence to try them for the first time.

Many tried rides at the funfair that they had been nervous about.

Everyone enjoyed the shows in the evenings. One member did not want to go at first. He had never been to a show before, and didn’t think it would be his thing. However, he agreed to come along for 10 minutes, and loved it!

New Independence

Many members were happy to choose their own food. In family life, supported living, or with carers, most of them don’t often get to choose what they eat or when. The buffet meals at Butlin’s allowed members to make their own choices. Some people tried new foods for the first time (although there was trial and error involved!), and it was a great opportunity to find their own independence and make their own decisions.

Many of our members find crowds and busy places a little overwhelming. However, with the encouragement of Guideposts staff, they were able to overcome their apprehension and by the end of trip, many were more comfortable navigating busy places.

Everyone got along really well and had great fun together. Guideposts staff member Dawn said “There was a great group bond”. On the last day of the trip, one member said he would really like to do it all again, and with exactly the same people.

Matt Jones, Guideposts CEO, attended the trip. “I was delighted to see members getting involved in the fun and trying brand new things without parents or carers for the first time. It was brilliant to see everyone’s confidence growing throughout the trip”.

With the group spread across different activities, the trip presented a rare opportunity for the staff to have 1-to-1 chats with the group members, something that isn’t always possible in the busy group setting at GLADS.

Guideposts staff worked really hard, often from 7am-10pm, and sometimes supporting through the night too. It was well worth it to see the benefits the trip had for the GLADS members.

Word of the Week: WOW!

One group member described the trip as “fabulous and fascinating”; words support worker Dawn had never heard this person use before!

‘Wow’ was probably our most used word during our trip!

Busy Brighton Visit

GLADS weren’t the only group to enjoy a trip recently. Our Friendship 4 All scheme helps people across Hertfordshire with learning disabilities make new friends and get out and about. Our group members did just that with a trip to Brighton! Over 50 people came along for the trip and lots of new friendships were made. The fun fair was the highlight of the day, with rides and sweet treats galore. For some members, this was their first trip without parents or carers, and they enjoyed the independence.

Many members were excited to be getting the coach. William said the trip was “beautiful” and great fun.

Another member said it was the biggest fun fair they had visited, and they enjoyed being in such a large group, where “everyone was really nice and friendly, and we had so much fun!”

Why Trips Matter

Over the last five decades, Guideposts have remained committed to social inclusion. Having an active social life and spending time outside the home can help people with a learning disability to feel included and valued, enjoying increased confidence and a more positive state of mind. Through trips like these, accessible music festivals, disability-friendly events and more, we are striving towards a more inclusive world for people with disabilities.

Click here to find out more about Guideposts services for people with learning disabilities.

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