Thursday was a big day at WeDiscover as it was the first in-person day with our current Gappies. Many of the young people we work with rarely leave the house or their local area so what may seem like a small step for some is actually a giant leap for others. Chris, Laura, and I took two of our Gappies on a day out in Llandudno. The plan was to walk up The Great Orme and follow that with lunch by the sea.

The weather was ideal, with sunshine and a slight breeze in the air. It was a little odd at first, having spent weeks just seeing each other on a screen from the shoulders upwards, to seeing each other in real life, but it was a refreshing change. You never know how tall people are going to be. There are certain joys you get from being in the same space as others and one is the ease of talking. Although the Gappies were nervous at first, not having experienced this for a while, conversation soon became much easier without the awkward delays that we’ve got used to in Zoom-life. We set off along the promenade to begin our hike up the hill.

It was steeper than expected and soon we were all removing layers as we’d worked up a good sweat. Most people appeared to be boarding the tram at the bottom but we chose to plod on upwards. The sheer effort and enthusiasm of the Gappies is something to be celebrated here as one in particular has various health issues that have meant exercise has been difficult. This was the first proper walk they’d done for a couple of years and they were a real trooper.

We reached the mid-point tram station and decided a break may be in order. After all, everyone had put in a solid effort and we were there for a pleasant day out not an SAS Bootcamp. The kind people let us board halfway up and we relaxed as the tram delivered us to the summit. This experience was challenging for one of our Gappies, with loud noises triggering their anxieties but they were up to it and soon found themselves enjoying an ice cream with a beautiful view of the North Coast of Wales.

After catching the tram back down the hill, everyone was bought fish and chips to enjoy by the sea, shooing away hungry seagulls while we ate. Experiences like this bring the team together as it’s when we’re occupied in something else that conversations become easier. We learnt a lot about each other’s families, home lives, likes and dislikes all in that one lunchtime.

As we dropped everyone home, it was clear they’d had an enjoyable day, pushing themselves out of their comfort zone. One hadn’t left the house without a family member for two years so this was a huge step for them and it’s encouraged them to take on many more opportunities like this. Now, we’re all looking forward to our beach clean day in a couple of weeks.

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