Day trip to Brid banishes Covid blues
Clear skies and soaring temperatures helped banish the Covid blues when Sustain Wakefield service users and staff had their long-awaited day out to Bridlington.
The day trip was organised by Sustain Volunteer and Peer Development Coordinator Fran Lomax in response to a growing need for counselling for anxiety and depression during the imposed Lockdowns in 2020.
“Referrals for counselling were on the increase, and discussions with fellow support workers revealed that mental health amongst service users was in decline with people feeling trapped in their homes,” explained Fran.
“They felt there was nothing to look forward to, many weren’t getting dressed, and personal hygiene was taking a hit. As one lady put it, ‘there’s nothing to put your face on for, so what’s the point in getting ready?’ Lockdown life during Covid was very bleak.”
Determined to give service users something to look forward to, Sustain embarked upon a fundraising mission to raise £1,200 to enable them to take as many people who felt ready and able to Bridlington for a day out at the seaside.
Thanks to sponsored walks, raffles, tombolas and quizzes, plus turning donated old clothes into cash, they not only met but exceeded their target, giving them enough money not only to fund this year’s trip but to repeat the experience next year too!
Although 33 service users registered for the trip, fear of Covid infection plus poor mental health meant only fourteen made the trip accompanied by Sustain staff members. Travel was free, and each service user received £10 for lunch and treats.
“The day aimed to encourage people to come out of their homes and have some fun. We wanted people to feel safe and acknowledged any anxieties by buddying up for the day with those who felt they wanted it,” said Fran.
“It was an opportunity for service users to get to know Sustain staff better, going on rides and playing games on the beach together having plenty of laughs and chatting about anything but their issues.
“Living on benefits isn’t easy, and although our contribution was small, it allowed service users to be a little carefree with their spend on food, treats and maybe having fun in the arcades if they wanted.”
The day out also gave Fran the chance to promote Sustain’s service user activity groups, to find out from the people they are aimed at what would make a difference to their lives so that she can maybe set up some new groups.
“All in all, it was a fabulous day. The weather was hot and sunny, and we made some new friends. One of the quieter ladies said it was one of the best days she’d had in a long time while others asked when they could go again or where we’re going to go next year with Skegness a suggested destination!” commented Fran.