My name is Jean and I'm a support worker for United Response. Just over a year ago we met Gerald, who came to our service in Salford as an emergency placement. At that time he was very anxious and had no confidence.

Gerald loved his films and had lots of DVDs which he liked watching. I asked, “Have you ever been to the cinema to watch a film?” He replied, “No, I have never been to a cinema.”

 

The first trip to the cinema

Over the next few weeks we started to look at new films that were coming out at the cinema. He chose one and I arranged to take him to see it. He thoroughly enjoyed the experience, so when we arrived back at the house I applied online for a CEA cinema card which entitles the carer to go with him for free.

 

It took about two weeks for the card to arrive and as soon as it did the gentleman asked, “When can we go to the cinema?” He continues to go on a regular basis now - every week and sometimes twice a week for the last 10 months. Every time he goes he always thanks staff for taking him, telling us he thoroughly enjoyed himself.

 

Going to Blackpool

Gerald had never gone through with a holiday which had been booked in the past. I had a conversation with him and we started to look at places where he could go with support workers - he chose to go to Blackpool for four days. He helped to choose the hotel and we also discussed what he could do whilst he was away. We found something called the ‘Blackpool Big Ticket’ which lets you get in to seven Blackpool attractions - he decided he would like one of these.

 

We got all the details of what needed booking, how much it was, as well as spending money, new clothes and shoes. We then sent off a Purchase Approval for his first holiday. Gerald was really excited during the weeks leading up to it. Every time a new support worker came on shift, he kept asking, “Are we going to Blackpool today?”

 

He had the biggest smile

Eventually, we supported him to go to Blackpool and he enjoyed all the attractions. He did plenty of walking, and enjoyed the entertainment at the hotel each night. We also booked a magic show whilst we were there, and he went to the circus - all of which he thoroughly enjoyed.

 

Each night before he went to his room he would thank us for taking him on holiday and for making good memories that he can enjoy and tell people about. We took lots of pictures at all the places he visited and on every picture he had the biggest smile. He also bought a box of fudge for the people he lives with as a gift.

 

When we got home we took Gerald to get all his photographs printed off and he also bought an album to put them in. We then helped him put the photographs in an album.

A massive achievement

The following week he went back to his day centre and took the album to show the support workers there. They told us well done, as this is a massive achievement for him.

 

Gerald takes his album to all the places he goes to. He still smiles every time he looks at it multiple times a day. He is now planning his holiday for next year. He said he likes boats so he might want to go on a cruise. Here’s to the next exciting holiday for Gerald and all the memories he will make on them!

 

Written by Jean Marshall, Support Worker at United Response.

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