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The Importance of Accessing Outside Space

In the last 12 months, our Care & Support colleagues have faced a steep learning curve, navigating the twists and turns of supporting people in a pandemic. And with the health and wellbeing of the individuals they support at the heart of everything they do, the importance of outside space has never been clearer...

A perfect example of how connecting with nature can be therapeutic is Jeff’s story.

Jeff lives in one of our Supported Living services in Caerphilly and through the various lockdowns we have all faced since March 2020, he has been getting out and about in the fresh air.

Supported by our team, Jeff enjoys up to two walks a day, clocking up around 8000 steps.

He has been pictured in the Caerphilly countryside so much, he has earned himself the nickname “Welshman Walking” amongst Pobl colleagues – but it hasn’t always been all smiles for Jeff, as Chris Williams, Team Manager explains:

“Jeff is an active gentleman and pre-Covid, he attended two day services per week and also did some volunteering, so to have this suddenly stop due to Covid, was very hard for him to deal with.”

In addition to this, Jeff also had to come to terms with changing restrictions and some of his support team having to take time off to self isolate.

Very sadly, the uncertain time culminated with the tragic loss of one of Jeff’s housemates, which hit him and the team incredibly hard.

Chris says, “It was scary and undeniably tough – but walking has been there for him throughout, allowing Jeff to blow away the cobwebs and giving him time to think and process what was happening.”

Being outdoors has a positive impact on Jeff’s mood and all of his Support Workers agree that he is happier and more focussed when he is out.

Chris comments, “His walks have opened up a different way for Jeff to communicate – it’s a time for positive one to one support and he thoroughly enjoys the praise we all give him when he returns from his walks.”

Without being able to access outside space, the past 12 months would have certainly been a lot more difficult for Jeff and his support team. The lockdowns of 2020 and early 2021 have taught us all to appreciate the environment a little more – in particular, our local walks and attractions.

So, on Earth Day (and every day) it’s pertinent to stop and think about the joy that the natural world gives us all - Pobl colleagues, customers and communities - and why we should do all we can to preserve and protect it.