Geoff Stevens Pathways Care Farm, Lowestoft
Photographed in 2019 as part of the Water Mills & Marshes funded work, theportraits.co.uk – spoken in his own words.
“It’s about treating people with dignity and respect”
“I lived in London and have been a graphic designer all my life, I loved the art of the job, but disliked certain elements of the industry.
What I do now is great. It’s such a joy.
We don’t do therapy; the therapy is being here. Everyone wants to make an impact in life and that’s what we do here at Pathways.
My father-in-law had dementia and I remember thinking, there has to be something more than day care, going to a centre and playing bingo in a room with beige walls. As if by some twist of fate, the opportunity then presented itself to start Pathways.
When we arrived with spent the first 18 months pulling up brambles, literally trying to clear the site, a blank canvas really.
It’s the place and the people that do the therapy, we don’t plan the therapy it just happens.
We recently had someone come to the farm who had been diagnosed with dementia, he was a retired builder and said to me “that’s the end of my life”. That really struck home, I explained what we did and he got involved. Within a few short weeks he was building, working on projects and became part of team, just like his old job. It was a release and enabled him to continue his life, without the fear of sitting in a room, staring at a TV all day, or playing bingo!
We work with all manner of people, including ex-offenders, people with mental health issues and those in the community who may just need some company. Every day is different at Pathways. Walking around the farm, you can work the land, wander around the pond, go to the bird hide, through the orchard, care for the animals, it is truly immersive.
It is about treating people with dignity and respect. Something that is lost in some parts of society”