Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update and Helpful Resources Find out more

Oak Court go Seal Watching

Service users and staff from Cygnet Hospital Colchester’s Oak Court service recently enjoyed a memorable day out seal watching off the Essex coast.

Oak Court is a 10 bed unit for men with learning disabilities, associated complex needs and behaviours that challenge. The boat trip was organised by the service’s Occupational Therapy team and support staff.

The main objective of the trip was to enable service users to experience the local landscape and wildlife and to build their self-confidence and self-esteem through the achievement of a challenge. For most service users this was their first boat trip, so the excitement was great. Sharing a challenging but positive experience cements the trust in self, peers and staff.

Setting off from Harwich Harbour the boat visited colonies of harbour seals and grey seals. The trip visited Hamford Water and the Walton Backwaters, an area of tidal creeks, mudflats, islands, salt marshes and marsh grasslands. The area is a National Nature Reserve recognised as being an internationally important wetland for birds and it can be best viewed by boat.

The trip was a huge success. The boat’s captain estimated there were about 30-40 seals. The seals were on the mud banks and in the water around the boat. The boat stopped for quite a while so that everyone could view the seals. Binoculars were provided so everyone could get a close up view and lots of information was provided about the seals and local area.

“Everyone enjoyed the fun and freedom of being at sea, the feel of wind and water on their faces. Using exciting and pleasurable activities as a part of a rehabilitation process is a great way to promote a healthier lifestyle and mental wellbeing.”Lidia Karkocha, Deputy Head of Occupational Therapy

Share this article