As a devout Christian, Brian dreamed that one day, he would go to Rome. After just a few years of being supported by Dimensions, and a lot of hard work by his staff, that particular dream came true.
Brian hadn’t been on holiday as an adult, and never with staff. But he mentioned to his support staff that, despite his anxiety, he would like to visit Rome.
Brian originally thought up the idea whilst on a visit to the library with staff. As he carefully studied the geography section, he came across a book about Rome. He announced there and then that he would love to go one day and meet the Pope. Though the real Pope was busy during Brian’s visit – he did get to meet a wax lookalike, which was close enough for him.
Brian and his support worker Lauren Rodgers visited Pope Francis’ home and had a guided tour of The Vatican, as well as seeing other popular tourist site such as the Trevi fountain, museums and religious sites.
Lauren said: “The change I have seen in Brian since he started travelling is amazing. Seeing him experiencing crowds made me extremely proud.
The trip to Rome has given him the confidence to go on to visit Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye.”
During their time in Rome, Lauren organised a visit to Rome’s waxwork museum. While there, Brian managed to get pictures with both the Pope and another of his heroes – Elvis – along with a whole host of other famous faces.
He indulged in plenty of pasta, pizza, coffee and wine. But Brian’s favourite day was the zoo where he got to see lots of animals and learnt some fun facts.
Brian said: “My trip to Rome was absolutely fantastic. I got to see lots of history and they had lots of nice plants. It was very hot.”
Support Worker Lauren and Locality Manager Jackie Milburn carefully planned the trip to coincide with Jackie’s trip to Rome with her family, so that Brian would be comfortable knowing he had another staff member available if he needed her.
As someone who experiences anxiety, Brian can have reservations about new places, crowds and getting lost. In order to alleviate this as much as possible, Lauren made Brian a card explaining who he was and where he was staying in Italian. She also agreed with Brian that they would stick together and overcome any fears which may arise.
Since visiting Rome Brian has gained confidence to have more trips away and explore a variety of new interests. The pair have since been to see Daniel O’Donnell live in concert and to London to see an Elvis exhibition. During his time there, Brian used the underground system, which is a huge step for him.
Brian enjoyed his globetrotting so much that he has obtained a taste for history and travel. He is already planning a trip to Barcelona and is exited to learn about Spanish culture.