Nature's role for carers by Darren Currell

25 November 2021 | Posted in Emma Chaplin
Nature's role for carers by Darren Currell
Molly in St Ann's Well Gardens © Darren Currell

Tell us a bit about yourself

I live in Seven Dials, Hove and I work as a carer for Kingsway Care. They support people of all ages who need care or support, including people with dementia or Multiple Sclerosis, for example.  

Before this, I worked in a sign language café, as an activity coordinator taking residents out into nature or the beach, and for the Health Walks programme. That had 80 volunteers and ran 18 regular walks including ones for an LGBTQ+ group and people with learning difficulties. Activities in nature do so much for people in terms of confidence-building, building physical strength and helping with mental health.

I grew up in Somerset in the Mendips near Cheddar. It was a mile walk to the bus stop. I made my own entertainment and loved nature books and tracking wildlife. 

Molly in the park
Darren Currell

We all came from nature. We can learn from animals and plants and need to respect them. Humans shouldn’t see themselves as superior!

You currently have some health challenges?

Yes. I lost my mum and dad quite recently, and that plus Covid meant it’s been pretty hard. I’m lucky that I have a small back garden with lots of birds which I feed, and I’m 10 minutes walk from St Ann’s Well Gardens, which has birds and squirrels. It kept me sane during lockdown.

Robin by Darren Currell

How does nature feature in your care work?

People are often so disconnected from the natural world. Getting exercise in the fresh air, hearing birdsong, seeing trees and greenery has such a positive effect on the people we care for.

One of my clients, Molly, is 90, and every Thursday we go out for an adventure. She loves singing and the theatre, but she also loves it when I take her to St Ann’s Well Gardens, where she enjoys a cappuccino and a slice of coffee and walnut cake, then time looking at the birds and squirrels and feeding the Robin.

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