Sheila's wish to revisit her beloved Martin Mere Wetland Centre comes true
Dedicated staff at a local care home in Lostock Gralam have worked hard to overcome the odds and help a resident achieve her dream trip. Country Court Care, the company behind Lostock Lodge Care Home, partner with award-winning social enterprise Oomph! to deliver exercise classes and creative activities for residents, as well as engaging trips out. As part of their ‘Make a Wish’ initiative, residents were given the opportunity to tell staff about somewhere they’d always wanted to go or a special activity they’d always wanted to do. Lostock Lodge Care Home Resident Sheila was a long-standing volunteer at Martin Mere Wetland Centre near Ormskirk and told staff she would love to go back and visit the nature reserve, but due to her condition didn't feel she could make the trip.
“We really wanted to find a way of working through the challenges to get Sheila there” said Sarah Holt, Activity Coordinator at Lostock Lodge, to which Sheila replied ”I am so glad you did!” Staff from both teams worked together to arrange the trip and ensure they could accommodate Sheila’s health requirements.
Bill Ramsbottom, Oomph! Minibus Conductor, played a key role in making the trip happen and was the person who first found out about Sheila's wish. "We had several steps to overcome and for a long time were worried we couldn't make it happen, but we have eventually overcame the challenges by removing a seat from our minibus and by taking a piece of equipment with us to achieve what appeared to have been impossible."
Sheila was made redundant from her remedial teaching post in 1976 and decided to turn to private teaching of pupils that need extra help. Whilst preparing for this Sheila started work as a volunteer at the nature reserve, continuing to enjoy and learn more about the wildlife she loves. She worked in the education department at Martin Mere showing the many school parties around the site. During the trip Sheila was able to impart some of her knowledge on her fellow residents and they all enjoyed chatting with current volunteers, seeing the gardens and wildlife and admiring the fabulous flamingoes.
“It is so nice for us to meet someone with experience from so long ago. It is wonderful to see the residents getting out and about!” current volunteers at Martin Mere, Enid and Di commented.
"For me this trip was a culmination of plans stretching back to February when Sheila told me she had been a volunteer at Martin Mere." said Bill Ramsbottom "Not only was I delighted to have finally achieve it and see the pleasure she and Brian (her husband) obtained from it, but I was also amazed by the knowledge and genuine pleasure expressed by all of the other residents."
The ‘Make a wish’ initiative has seen residents from across the Country Court Care group enjoy special outings and activities; from scoring goals at Sheffield United Football Club, to off-road driving and lots of family tea parties.