Gold Standard

Examples of great care are often found when things don't quite go to plan. And when the challenge is on, that's when our staff really shine.

This week support worker Aled Thomas was tasked with taking James to the National Trust's Dolaucothi gold mines. Everything was set fair; the weather was good, James was cheerful & chatty and the roads quiet. But this is August and there are two things James isn't keen on - crowds of people, particularly unpredictable children, and dogs. And of course that was what we discovered on arrival. But with Aled's encouragement, James was brave enough to get out of the car and make it into the visitor centre.

Luckily for us, the National Trust staff we encountered couldn't have been more friendly. This put James at ease and enabled us to wonder into the main mine yard. With more children and dogs in evidence, Aled  kept James verbally engaged and tentatively walked around to see what might pique his interest. Panning for gold did the trick. James was happy to try and find the tiny twinkles appearing within the watery sediment Aled had sifted from the trough and before we knew it we had collected quite a few shards of the shiny stuff. James seemed pleased with this.

We had earlier noted the free tours taking place and James seemed happy to see what was going on. Steep hills are not sensible when you have mobility issues, so we were grateful for the alternative 'flat' tour that was also on offer. That meant getting equipped for being underground. There's nothing like a bit of 'dressing up' and we all enjoyed the prospect of an adventure. But the caves are very dark and damp. So much so that James couldn't be persuaded to enter. Far from being a show stopper though, this simply meant we had more time to talk to our chatty guide Sandra who was super patient with us. She gave us a potted history of the site, from Roman times through to the present. Fascinating it was too.

And so when we found a quiet bench to eat our picnic at, Aled was able to easily engage James with the many things we'd seen and heard. We didn't stay for much longer but without the brilliant support and understanding James was afforded, it's likely he wouldn't even have made it out of the car. A gold standard in care without doubt.


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