A Client Story: T.R.E.E.S.
Over 35 years ago Laurie Wills was taken on a visit to the Saint Ebba’s hospital, a residential hospital for disabled people. Having toured the wards and met many of the residents Laurie decided to raise money to take some of them on an outing to the seaside. He had never done anything like that before, but raised £400 and the outing was on! Out of this came T.R.E.E.S. (The Residents Enjoyment and Entertainment Society) which now runs over 100 events a year for the residents of (now) various care homes throughout Surrey.
T.R.E.E.S. organises activities in the care homes and trips out for the residents. They put on music evenings, magic shows and parties, hire a travelling professional pantomime troupe to put on performances in a local church hall for their clients and arrange outings.
About five years ago Paul Hagan of the charity Choice Support (a major care provider for learning disabled people) asked whether T.R.E.E.S. would be willing to fund some trips on the river and a new RTBP client was born! Paul had been out on the Venturer before and knew how valuable an experience it was for his residents, the majority of whom are profoundly disabled. Paul told me that the relaxing day out in the open air provides valuable stimulus and a change in routine, different smells and sounds (in particular for those with visual impairment) and the wind in their faces in the sunshine (well, sometimes…). He also commented that the Venturer is well equipped for his groups and that Peter and the crew are always very helpful and go out of their way to make it a successful trip.
T.R.E.E.S. is now one of the Charity’s largest client groups having booked 30 trips over the last three years.
Feedback from the T.R.E.E.S. groups:
- We took a group of 6 adults all with a severe learning disability…they had an experience which they found relaxing, undemanding and most of all pleasurable, so much so that one of them was very reluctant to leave at the end of the day and kept trying to pull his supporter back on to the boat as we were making our way to the car park!
- A very sensory experience enjoyed by everybody.
- Everyone who went on the trip said it was brilliant again!!
- On behalf of the T.R.E.E.S. organisation I would like to thank everyone at RTBP for their help, enthusiasm and hard work in making these trips so special and enjoyable for all of the learning disabled children and adults that went on them this year.
First Published: Friends Newsletter July 2014