An inspired idea by a senior support worker who cares for people with learning difficulties means they are making the most of the run-up to Christmas with a different festive activity for every day of the month.
Senior support worker Katie Owen was determined that every day in December would have its own bit of magic for the people she supports who live at Faerdre, a residential service in Llandysul, so she devised a special Christmas count-down programme.
Starting off with writing letters to Santa on the first day of the month, the programme includes Christmas-themed sing-songs, making tree decorations, seasonal baking, festive films, puzzles, making wreaths and trimmings, bingo, cards, quizzes, sports, dressing-up, a disco, carol-singing and a pub-outing.
Katie Owen said: “Everyone is really entering into the festive spirit and having a lovely time.
“The favourite activity so far has probably been making Christmas wreaths, and Faerdre is looking very beautiful, decked out with all the trimmings and cards that have been made by our service users.”
Faerdre is a large detached country house near Llandysul which accommodates eight adults with learning disabilities and mental health needs. The service also provides support to people who present with varying levels of behavioural needs.
Service users keep busy in the vegetable garden, producing potatoes, beans, peas and many other crops, as well as caring for Faerdre’s cat and dog, and enjoying the goats, sheep, donkeys, alpacas and wallaby at the next-door donkey sanctuary.
The service supports adults who have complex needs and high levels of vulnerability, enabling them to become more independent in their everyday lives.
Bespoke support plans for each individual include them making an input to the day-to-day running of the house and planning their own activities. They play a full part in the wider community, with some of them involved in local work placements.
External activities in 2015 have included some of the service users and staff raising over £365 for charity by completing the 5K Ty Hafan Rainbow Run, a visit to Folly Farm, and a weekend break to Trecco Bay in Porthcawl, as well as them hosting their own pool party and garden barbecue.
Unusually there a currently two vacancies at the service, both first floor bedrooms, one of which has a small lounge area and attached bathroom. All service users have shared use of a spacious communal sitting room, a cosy quiet room, a separate dining room area and a large kitchen.
Faerdre is part of the Regard group, the UK’s fourth biggest provider of supported living and specialist residential services, who recently received a Gold Investors in People award.