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BAB is a partnership of individuals and organisations working together to reduce isolation and loneliness among older people in Bristol.
As a part of the Communities of Interest project, funded by Bristol Aging Better, Alive have been working with residents on what activities they would like to do more of and which community places and groups they would like to connect to. Key themes of residents wishes were going on trips to places in their community and being outdoors more. Many residents were keen to visit city farms in Bristol, as they had been visitors before living in the homes.
As a result, Alive have organised three trips to Windmill Hill City Farm in Bedminster, which we chose as some residents had lived in the area and been before. It also was the most accessible of the three city farms in Bristol. The first trip was in May and saw two of the project’s homes, Katherine House and Granville Lodge enjoying a farm tour in the Spring. They explored the gardens and met the farm’s animals, including the new born kids and piglets. The feedback from this trip was fantastic, with residents enjoying meeting residents from another home and exploring somewhere that they had enjoyed visiting in the past. Hilde from Granville Lodge said; “The animals are so well looked after, and they have so much space. The people are working so hard here, it’s a really beautiful place”. Hilde had visited the farm many years ago and was amazed to see how different it looked now.
Intergenerational Visit to the farm
In October, Alive organised another trip to the farm, this time an intergenerational trip for three Stokeleigh residents and four children from Muddy Boots nursery. The nursery and home have been regularly visiting each other since Alive teamed them up almost a year ago. Stokeleigh residents, who are all living with dementia, had asked for a trip with the children, and due to the previous success of the trip to the farm, Alive decided to ask the farm to facilitate a farm tour. Both residents and children loved the farm from the moment they arrived, with Janet commenting; “You wouldn’t believe this was in a city would you. Isn't it lovely.” Sheila added “ I like it [visiting the farm] because it’s nice to do something different, you know.. That you don’t do everyday.” Thanks to the farm tour, they were able to feed the animals, and collect eggs from the chickens, which reminded residents of doing similar activities in the past, especially Janet who used to have chickens as a child.
Margaret really enjoyed stroking the animals, finding it very therapeutic; “I love the cows they’re so gentle,” The farm tour finished with a go on the new swing, with all the children and residents swinging together, with laughter all round. Janet said afterwards; ‘“..Being on that [the swing] made me feel about five again.”
The impact of the trip was very positive for the residents who are all living with dementia; Sheila summed it up saying “It’s been such a lovely afternoon I wouldn’t change it for the world.” The residents remembered the trip later on in the day, showing the power of trips into the community - this feedback from Kelly, Stokeleigh’s activity coordinator really demonstrates this;
“I just wanted to take a moment to Thank you for such a wonderful morning, It was so lovely for both the residents and the nursery to spend the morning out on a trip together, so many smiles and lots of laughter they all really enjoyed every moment and how fab to get them all on that swing at the end of our tour, The ladies have spoken about nothing else for the rest of the day!
Thank you both and all the team from Alive so very very much.” - Stokeleigh Activity Coordinator
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