Animal magic: on safari safely

Having a day out has become a rare treat for many of us living with Covid restrictions, and for housemates Bernard and Chris, being supported to plan a day trip was a much-needed boost.

The two men, who have intellectual disabilities and are supported by Livability East Midlands in a house-share, are usually busy and active. ‘I’ve missed going out shopping and seeing people,’ says Bernard, and Chris has ‘missed my family the most’. On top of these changes, the two had recently lost a close friend, so were coping with additional loss.

Support worker Georgina and other staff made sure the guys kept busy at home, with games, puzzles and gardening, but felt a trip would do Chris and Bernard the world of good. ‘I knew we could do this safely if we planned every detail so I asked the guys where they’d like to go,’ says Georgina. ‘And the answer was – Woburn Safari Park!’

Maintaining stringent safety standards meant much to plan: risk assessment; wearing PPE all day, and washing all clothing on returning home. ‘Chris and Bernard didn’t mind how much they had to accommodate, they were happy to do whatever it takes,’ says Georgina. ‘We all wore masks and sanitised our hands, and kept our distance from others,’ Bernard says.

And the best thing about the day? ‘Seeing the lions and seeing giraffes and their big tongues!’ says Chris. Georgina adds: ‘Obviously a trip like this demands more work from staff, there are barriers to be overcome and you can’t just get up and go, but it was worth it. Chris and Bernard were so happy to be out for the day!’

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