On Wednesday 5th June, 25 members plus staff and carers visited the Donkey Sanctuary, near Sidmouth. The bulk of the members met Daryl, Jonathan and Rob at Exeter Bus Station and caught the 9A bus. Having disembarked, we walked the short distance to the entrance and split up to go around the area. A couple of Gateway members have adopted donkeys, so great fun was had trying to spot them!
After meeting for lunch and spending a few pennies in the gift shop, we wandered back to the bus stop and made our way back to Exeter. A great time was had by all, and we’re now looking forward to the Millfield trip near the end of the month.
The building works finished on schedule, so on the 3rd June members could again use the main building in all its glory! Andy, Richard, Darren and the other builders had used their skills to greatly improve the centre. Members were amazed at the space that has been created-there is plenty of room to move about the building and with the addition of a cloakroom, less chance of tripping over a coat or bag!
The toilets have been reconfigured, opening up more space for tables and the conservatory enlarged to allow seating as well as the pool table. To the rear, decking has been laid with a perspex roof allowing for a year round project area. The office has been moved to the front giving a view of arrivals and storage has been added in the shape of two cupboards.
Everyone coped admirably during the 8 weeks in the portacabin and now can really appreciate just how amazing our new accommodation is.
This week, 11 members plus Daryl and Jonathan enjoyed a morning’s bowls, courtesy of Belmont Bowls Club. Under the watchful eye and guidance of Dave and Gordon, a great time was had by all-considering no-one had bowled since September, there were some very impressive scores to be had!
We have also managed to get outside due to the better weather-Jonathan carried on Suzanne’s hard work from last week by turning over the solid soil in the beds ready for planting. The pool table has seen plenty of use and friends have been able to sit in the sun, eat lunch, enjoy a chat over a hot drink and admire the continuing improvements to the main building.
Inside the ‘caravan’, activities have continued with bingo, bracelet and necklace making plus keeping our weather chart updated. We also celebrated Becky’s birthday with a cake made from a selection of doughnuts!
This week has seen a massive change to both the inside and outside of the centre. The front now has all the brickwork ready for doors and windows, the extended conservatory has been clad and doors and windows put in plus there is now some flooring down in the new toilets. Also, the new ceiling lights are in place and there is an extra sink in the kitchen. It is very exciting to think that by this time next month we will be in our greatly improved building.
Meanwhile, we have managed to get the cover off the pool table in between showers and some members have also been painting and gardening-Suzanne was very keen to get to grips with the jungle-like vegetable beds! Inside, activities have continued, many linked to our new theme (suggested by Rachael)-all about ‘The Weather’. We hope to monitor the rainfall, wind speed and temperature around the building and keep a record of the weather over the next few weeks.
This week, two groups took a bus into town to visit the RAMM. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed looking at the exhibits and having a hot drink in the cafe, before eating their lunch in the park. On Wednesday, Eileen and Rob took their group but unfortunately got drenched coming back to the centre. Thankfully, on Thursday the weather was much improved and Daryl and Debbie’s group managed to eat their lunches in Northernhay Gardens before travelling back.
It was also great to go out in the mornings and come back to see the amazing progress that has been made on the building works. On Thursday, by the time we returned, the bricklayer had built a considerable part of the new entrance wall. Hopefully, when we arrive on Monday there will be even more see and talk about!
With the onset of more favourable weather, it was decided to hold the first of many barbecue weeks for this year. The first day was rather windy, but Daryl managed to find a sheltered area of the garden to cook up the first burgers and sausages of the season. By Wednesday, the members were able to enjoy some pleasant sunshine in our makeshift outdoor space. There were plenty of eager helpers who managed to speed up the serving and delivery of the day’s meal. The same again happened on Thursday, and everyone that chose to dine enjoyed the ‘outside catering’.-over the course of the week, 60 sausages and 40 burgers (of various flavours) were cooked plus a selection of skewered chicken too!
Activities have continued this week, with Cathie finishing yet another clock, and Vincent, Jamie and Rachael plus others making good use of the pool table. We also helped to celebrate Jamie’s birthday, with the usual Gateway rendition of Happy Birthday (somewhat louder due to the confines of the portacabin!).
The main building works are certainly taking shape, with the newly configured toilets and increased conservatory exciting the members. Tonnes of cement was delivered to fill in a trench at the front and hopefully by the next update, the bricklayer will have worked his magic!
With the building works in full swing, we decided to get out and about to leave more space in the ‘caravan’ for those who were happy to stay. Over two days, groups of members made a trip to Bernaville Garden Centre for a look round and a hot drink in the cafe.
On Wednesday, Eileen and Jonathan took eleven members and on Thursday, Daryl, Debbie and Rob took another eight. Emma, Sarah and Peter K enjoyed it so much on the Wednesday that they went Thursday too! The buses were straightforward, and there was little waiting time and we made it back within Gateway hours.
On both days, packed lunches were enjoyed by the pond with the company of several ducks and a friendly robin. Members gathered ideas of how to improve the outside space when the building works are complete and also found a barbecue that Daryl would love to use!