In November in 2016 a chance meeting at Kingston Maurward teen to adult day resulted in a partnership between The Ridgeway Plus and Magdalen Farm.
The Ridgeway Plus is a Tricuro run day centre for adults with learning disabilities. As a long established service provider we cater for clients with a medium to high level of support need. The difficulties our clients face on a daily basis are considerable and the opportunities available to them for self-development are far fewer than for the average neurotypical.
The danger is, that in a world of austerity, these options for people living with a disability to test themselves and grow personally keep diminishing. Magdalen has joined us in fighting that trend.
Our first day trip to Magdalen Farm was in March for 2017. Six of our more able clients, thanks to the funding provided to Magdalen by Adult Learning, were able to spend a magical day feeding animals, egg collecting and doing crafts.
The feedback that we got from the clients which attended was so good we knew we had to make more of the opportunity.
Over the past six months twenty four of our clients have been able to take a trip to Magdalen. Some have been more than once, some have stayed the night. Everyone has come back with a story to take home.
Dani is a young woman still trying to find her feet in the world. She is a profoundly kind and compassionate person who struggles expressing her positivity and forming bonds with people.
Before Magdalen she had never spent a night away from her home and her mum. Magdalen represented more than a night away with friends, it was a coming of age for Dani. She smiled and smiled, the whole time and went home excited to tell all her family about how she had held a chicken.
The sense of achievement lasted for Dani, months later she would bring it up the farm in conversation. A sure sign of lasting impact for someone normally so frugal with their communication.
Dave is an incredibly able man, intelligent and dextrous, he just needs the confidence to make his voice heard and to exercise his abilities.
Dave arrived at Magdalen his usual quiet, apologetic self. By the end of his trip he was taking charge and had found his voice “I want to lead the horse!”
It may seem like a small thing but for Dave, expressing himself and asserting his will is a massive step forward and something we have rarely if ever seen outside of this unique supportive environment.
These are just two of twenty four stories. Every one of our clients achieved something. It may not be a step down the path to paid or voluntary work; for most if not all our clients that possibility is remote. But their achievements are all the more valuable because of it.
The journey of our lives are measured in Firsts. First job, First car and First holiday with friends. For someone living with a disability a lot of those Firsts can seem out of reach.
By partnering with Tricuro, Magdalen has provided our clients with a whole new range of Firsts. The First time I fed a goat, the First time I picked my own lunch, fresh from the field. The First time I stayed away from home. This is how you enrich a life, grow as person and make wonderful memories.
With the support of Magdalen, and their partners, we hope that more Tricuro clients will have these wonderful opportunities in the year ahead and maybe make some Firsts of their own.