Since autumn 2020 we have been heavily focussing on supporting people to improve their health and wellbeing.

The Covid-19 lockdowns took a particularly heavy toll on people with learning disabilities. They felt more lonely and isolated than ever before.

With your support and donations we have been able to redouble our efforts. Helping support people to not just survive but thrive through:

  1. Connecting with other people
  2. Being physically active
  3. Learning new skills
  4. Giving to others
  5. Paying attention to the present (mindfulness).

This page details some of the things we have done so far with your help. This is just the start, as we continue to help people recover from the trauma of the last few years.

The Big Give

Donations made through the Big Give have been put towards much needed resources for New Forest and Portsmouth Day Opportunities to help increase the health and wellbeing activities we can offer.

Connecting with nature is just one important way to improve your wellbeing and thanks to the kind donations of our supporters we have been able to purchase equipment for outdoor photography sessions, bird watching and creating a wildflower meadow to attract a variety of insects. Through these sessions, the people we support are able to connect to the people around them by sharing their wildlife experiences and develop new interests and hobbies.

Improvements have also been made to our wellbeing studio and we have been able to run yoga, meditation and sensory sessions. The donations have meant that we were able to create a more relaxing environment in the wellbeing studio for these sessions and we were able to purchase equipment such as, blackout blinds, lights and floor mats for the sensory sessions.

In our Portsmouth Day Opportunities your donations helped fund our allotment project that has really helped the people we support to thrive, enjoying the benefits of outdoor gardening.

After the past year, sessions such as these have become even more important to the people we support to enable them to thrive not just survive as Covid eases.

Above you can see the grounds at Portsmouth Day Opportunities before the allotment was created and John watering some of the plants after helping to create the allotment
Percent of people with learning disability
are feeling more lonely
Percent of disabled adults are worried about the effect
of the pandemic on their lives
Percent more likely for disabled person to be worried
about their wellbeing this year than non-disabled person
Percent of disabled people are extremely concerned
about impact of shielding on mental health

How we are supporting

In our day opportunities, supported living and residential services we are taking practical steps to support people to take care of their health and wellbeing:

  • Transforming our New Forest day opportunities into a wellbeing centre focused on the mental and physical health of the people we support.
  • New handwashing stations and other Covid measures to help keep everyone healthy.
  • An increased number of outdoor sessions to harness the health benefits of being in the great outdoors.
  • A buddy system to give people someone to talk to about concerns and worries.

Find out more about the practical steps we are taking to improve health and wellbeing.


Health and wellbeing stories

Staying happy and healthy in difficult times

'I found lockdown really stressful, couldn't get out and about as I can't walk far with my disability.

'I really missed going to Minstead. I was over the moon when I could come back!

'I come here because I enjoy it and I meet a lot of people - new people.

'I'm outgoing and I like doing arts and crafts, a bit of sewing now and again when I can with my arthritis.

'It makes me feel happy to come here - really happy!'

It has been a brilliant year, working in the gardens.

I enjoyed cutting the pumpkins for harvest.

I have started work at Paulton’s Park in the restaurant, it’s going really brilliant. I do it Friday and Sunday and we are seeing how it goes to see if I will do more days. It is my very first paid job.

'I’ve found it very challenging with the coronavirus.

'I felt sad during lockdown initially. I couldn’t go out for lunch at the weekend, I couldn’t see my friends and family.

'I was sad not to have Easter with my family at home. I’ve been feeling anxious and sad about it all.

'I have found my time at Furzey therapeutic. I like potting, pricking out and collecting and sowing the seeds.'

Harvest festival: healthy eating focus

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