Connecting You “Walk & Chat” to Exeter Wednesday 15th February 2023

We can safely say our first “Walk & Chat” by train and minibus was a huge success despite the weather.

We departed from Honiton Station and arrived at Exeter Central 21 minutes later. Had a lovely walk up through Northernhay Gardens before the rain really came down and although some carers were proactive and brought a brolly a lot of us got soaked. We decided to call it a day for now and returned to the Exploding Bakery for some very welcomed refreshments. Beautifully baked and served by their delightful staff who couldn’t do enough for us. As the rain persisted we decided on a bit of retail therapy in the city before catching the train back to Honiton Station. The day could not have gone more smoothly and we are all looking forward to our next “Walk & Chat” to Sherborne on 15th March.

Our walking group with Alex before departing from Honiton Station

Connecting you “Walk & Chat” to Sherborne on 15th March 2023

23 of us headed off to Sherborne on the train on 15th March. It was sadly drizzling most of the day, but we managed to make the most of our day out. We had a good look around the lovely Abbey then headed for Fontana Cafe for some much needed refreshments. A walk around the city trail followed, viewing some of the beautiful buildings and places of interest. Back to Fontana for a further cuppa & chat before we headed back to the station in pouring rain by then and caught the train back to Honiton. We had intended a visit to Sherborne Museum but sadly it is closed on a Wednesday.

Part of the group on arrival at Sherborne

Connecting You “Walk & Chat” to Salisbury Saturday 1st April

Another successful Connecting You train journey. This time to Salisbury Cathedral. 18 of us very much enjoyed our “Walk & Chat” outing which not only included a introductory talk on arrival at the Cathedral but also enabled us to see the Magna Carta, one of only 4 original copies in the world. Some of us walked through the lovely Water Meadows, others enjoyed a spot of lunch in the Cathedral Refectory Cafe whilst others headed off to Fisherton Mill to have coffee & some delicious home made cake. Wonderful day, even the weather was kind to us.

Connecting You “Walk & Chat” to Newton Abbot Wednesday 19th April 2023

Honiton Carers are loving the “Connecting You “Walk & Chats”. Today being our 4th trip we went to Newton Abbot and learned how to change trains, change platform, pay for parking via an app, deal with a cancelled train and not being able to find the tree trail recommended through the parks. Very challenging but vey exciting too. We walked from Newton Abbot station to Decoy Country Park through Forde Park. Tried to walk around the beautiful lake but had to give up as the path was far too muddy for us to deal with. We all agreed we would like to come back in the summer for a full day walking in the park. We returned to The Pavillion a wonderful gem of a cafe in Forde Park, where we had some tasty and very reasonably priced refreshments much enjoyed by all.

Connecting you ‘Walk & Chat ‘ to Dawlish Tuesday 2nd May 2023

Today we enjoyed a further “Walk & Chat” this time to Dawlish. I think I can safely say that we had a great time. The only thing we couldn’t fix was the weather. Whereas Honiton was bathed in sunshine all day we sadly experienced a cold easterly wind and never saw one ray of sunshine all day. Pity for sure, however the lovely River Walk and refreshments we had all made-up for the lack of sunshine. We now only have one more “Connecting You” trip to go on 17th May to Axminster, we already look forward to this as well as experiencing the Waffle House.

Connecting You” “Walk & Chat” to Axminster , Wednesday 17th May 2023

Axminster was our final “Walk & Chat” and probably one of the most successful ones. We had a glorious day and really enjoyed our walk from Axminster Station up to the Waffle House. We all sat around one large table and enjoyed our very scrumptious individually ordered waffles. The conversation flowed with great humour and everyone was most interested to discuss each others waffles and if they had chosen the best one. We are all in awe of the brilliant community hub they have created in Axminster, every town should have one. A return visit is definitely on the cards for us all, both together and individually. This is an experience not to be missed. A wonderful finale to our train journeys that will leave us all with some great memories and life skills.

Saturday 27th May 2023 our final Connection You “Walk & Chat” journey to. Braunton by Coach

What a fabulous day we chose for our final “Walk & Chat”.

Bank holiday Saturday 27th May was a glorious sunny day with a totally blue sky and the carers loved their walk from Branscombe Village Hall to the Sea Shanty and back again. In addition some even walked along the cliffs in various directions enjoying the very slight sea breeze. Lots of walking, chatting, making friend, having peer support in fact lots of everything nice, including sunshine and ice creams. The Midibus driver struggled, but succeeded in the end and we understood it is the first time the Sea Shanty has seen a Midibus on their grounds.

We have covered Exeter, Sherborne, Newton Abbott, Salisbury, Dawlish, Axminster and Braunton on our 7 trips. Each of them had something different to offer in their own way, but they all included our “Walk & Chat” which is what the grant was all about as well as educating us how easy and comfortable it can be to travel by public transport. We have all had a great time whilst exercising, making new friends, seeing new places and generally had great fun. The carers have enjoyed their respite time, having peer support, but have also enjoyed returning back home sharing their new experiences with their Loved Ones.

Thank you to “Connecting You” & Devon County Council for making these trips possible we really appreciate you supporting us.

As a result of our feedback to “Connecting You” they have forwarded the above Case Study to Devon County Council on our behalf.