UK care home creates simulated railway experience for residents

[As a railway enthusiast, I particularly like the example of presence in this story from The Telegraph & Argus. The original version includes a 0:46 minute video and 7 more images, and more information including pictures and resident reactions can be found in coverage by and The Mirror. A 1:04 minute BBC video is available too – thanks to colleague Amela Sadagic for posting it in the ISPR Presence Community Facebook group! -Matthew]

Gateway Care Home, Sticker Lane, unveils railway room for residents

23 February 2019
By David Jagger

A dementia care home has unveiled a brand new room at the centre which has been transformed into a replica railway carriage.

The room at The Gateway Care Home in Sticker Lane, Dudley Hill, has been turned into a carriage, complete with a moving countryside scene in the window to give residents and patients the feel of a real-life train journey.

After weeks of work to create the new railway room the carriage is finally finished, allowing residents to take their first trips on the railway.

Arthur Gallagher, who has been a part of the team tasked with turning the room into a railway, said the idea came from visits to the Keighley Worth Valley Railway.

He said: “We take residents during the summer to the railway, where they go and have lunch on the carriages as the train goes along.

“This is something they really enjoy and look forward to every time we visit, so we decided we wanted to bring the railway here and build our own lifesize carriage so they can enjoy trips all-year round.

“We have turned a whole room into a carriage, complete with a station platform, and there is a looped train journey which will play in the background to give the illusion the train is moving.”

As passengers on the train, residents will be served a lunch, and it allows residents, some of whom have mobility issues, to experience a trip on the train.

Inside the room, there is a ticket office, platform and carriage, where residents can enjoy a meal as they watch the countryside go by through the window.

Some seats in the carriage have also been donated by the Keighley Worth Valley Railway to give residents a more realistic experience of a rail journey.

The vistas displayed on windows inside the carriage were filmed along real railways, speeding up and slowing, and switching from built-up to rural scenes to give the train a more authentic feel.

Nikki Bryar, administrator at The Gateway, said residents are “loving” the carriage.

She said: “We have quite a lot of residents who are unable to get out of the care home.

“We do trips to Keighley Worth Valley and they often can’t come, so we thought we would bring the railway to them.

“It’s so important for our residents, they can sit there and reminisce while having a chat and a bite to eat.

“It’s been like a new lease of life for some residents.

“It’s only been open this week but we already have bookings for events in it.”

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