Image for News item 214

17th August

'Ponies inspiring people' – opening minds and healing hearts

You’ll probably know already if you’ve visited us, but we’re big on animals here at the Huntington & Langham Estate. In fact, it used to be home to a feisty and independent pony named Braveheart. Braveheart came from the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust, and when he was here on the Estate in Surrey, he clearly missed his home in Dartmoor.

Braveheart didn’t settle very well, and he tried to escape a few times, eventually managing to break through fencing. The difficult decision was finally made to take Braveheart back to the DPHT, where initially his future was unknown – a rather grumpy pony doesn’t tend to make many friends! However, Dru from DPHT and her team never gave up on Braveheart, and he is now the leader of the pack when it comes to working with young people at the organisation.

The DPHT has built a strong reputation for courses for young people with challenging behaviour and disabilities, with Dartmoor ponies the stars of the show. Their aim is to create opportunities for young people to meet their full potential by providing them with a set of social and emotional skills that will allow them to participate more effectively in everyday life – this could potentially help them to move into long-term employment. At the DPHT, they offer a flexible range of proven courses for students facing challenges such as anger management, lack of self-esteem and confidence, attention and behaviour deficits, disaffection and personal development.

It may seem like an unusual approach but forming a relationship with a pony actually helps young people to build trust ad also develop a bond of mutual empathy, as well as learning to face their fears and develop respect and compassion. Additionally, communication skills, self-confidence, coping techniques and self-esteem improve at the same time, which are vital for dealing with many aspects of everyday life.

Testimonial: “The work by Dru and DPHT is most likened to ‘Equine Facilitated Learning’ (EFL), an intervention that utilises horses to teach people about themselves in the hope of bringing about positive change via the learning of skills, although the inclusion of wild Dartmoor ponies offers a variation to the normal protocol. Participants seem to form a bond with both Dru and the ponies, which allows them to receive constructive feedback in a non-threatening, non-judgmental way so that the participants can come to know themselves better and witness how their actions can have consequences. Skills learnt are said to include teamwork and social skills, trust and motivation, which in turn contribute to the building of self-esteem whilst improving empathy, effective ways of managing feelings and developing greater self-awareness, all important social and emotional skills.” Dawn Chaplin and Katy Hurworth – Final Year BSc (Hons) Psychology Undergraduates, Plymouth University

Image for News item 213

17th July

Plenty of projects to get stuck in with at day care

At day care here at Langham Court, we organise a wide range of activities for people to get involved with, such as singing, quizzes, baking, gardening, music and movement, arts and crafts, and even DIY – recently, we’ve been doing a spot of upcycling!

Upcycling is a very popular activity, and it encourages people to work together – and better yet, it doesn’t end when a project’s over, as the nest of tables you can see being sanded down in this photo will take pride of place in Langham Court when they’re finished. That means that once the tables are complete, we can all sit back, admire and even use our finished work.

In one of the photos, two gentlemen are sanding the largest of the tables, preparing the surface for the next stage, which will be a much-needed coat of paint. The plan thereafter is to decoupage the top of the table and finally, finish it off with a coat of varnish. Projects like this are a great way of empowering people and giving them a sense of achievement. 

We also take great pleasure in growing our own vegetables, and the other photo shows two of our gentlemen busy preparing the soil for the lettuces and beetroot we grew. We then put the homegrown lettuce in freshly made rolls with ham and cheese! Everyone was encouraged to make their own rolls up, which made every bite taste even better. Now we just need to decide what to grow next!

Image for News item 212

1st June

Transitioning into day care – taking the time to trust our team

Making the decision to come along to Langham Court for day care is a big deal, as there can be many different health, mobility or confidence barriers to overcome before stepping out the door to come and join in the fun – but once you’ve arrived at the Huntington & Langham Estate, you’ll be so glad you did.

Our expert staff are here to assist as much as possible with that transition into day care, as we want to make sure you enjoy yourself here in our Day Centre. If you would rather just spend the mornings with us until you get used to coming, that’s absolutely fine – in fact, this was the case for JP in the featured photograph!

When JP first started coming to see us at day care, he would come for the morning and happily head home with his carer at 12:30 before lunch was served. As time went on and JP got to know the team better, he began to feel safer and we suggested he stayed for lunch with his son. This was the next gentle step in his journey and one that he took very happily, with lunch being a very social occasion here at Langham Court.

It wasn't long before the final step was taken, and JP joined us for a whole day. It took many weeks altogether to reach this point, which we believe highlights the importance of respecting people’s emotional needs as well as their physical ones. Our Day Centre operates two days a week and JP comes along on both days, taking part in every activity we offer – and he thoroughly enjoys the social interaction with his new friends.

At the Huntington & Langham Estate, we understand that it can take a while for individuals to feel safe when they first join us at the Day centre, as they’re out of their comfort zone in a new environment. Many people who join us are used to spending most of their time at home with their loved ones, and to suddenly be apart from them can cause anxiety. Because of this, we are very respectful of people’s needs and value the importance of allowing people time and space to adjust to new surroundings and a new routine.

If you or a loved one could benefit from joining us at day care, why not give it a try? A very warm welcome awaits.