On a bright sunny day in July, 20 women from Gateway Women’s Centre, together with staff and volunteers, set off by coach to visit the British Wildlife Centre in Surrey.

The Gateway Manger Gen Fox, said there were plenty of native British species to see, including foxes, Scottish wildcats, badgers, otters, deer, and a variety of owls and birds of prey. The women appreciated that the animals had plenty of space and were in settings that reflect their natural environment.

They listened to a number of keeper talks to find out more about the wildlife and the conservation projects that the centre is involved in. The staff at the centre were very friendly and informative, and borrowed umbrellas which were very useful as parasols to keep out of the heat of the sun!

Before long, it was time for lunch and everyone enjoyed sitting under the trees and chatting whilst eating their picnic lunches, followed by one of Wendy’s famous brownies. Of course, no Gateway day out is complete without an ice cream and these were most welcome given the heat of the day!

After lunch, they were treated to a close encounter with hedgehogs in the shady dell. Some of them wandered round the wetland boardwalk and enjoyed the peaceful surroundings. In the red squirrel enclosure, patience and persistence paid off with a view of one of these beautiful creatures having a nap on a tree branch.

The women returned home tired but with great memories of a brilliant day out together.  For many of the women, this day out was the highlight of their summer.  Some of the feedback from the women included:

“What a relaxing day out, with us, the staff and volunteers all together.  It was very enjoyable, and a great choice of venue”.  “It was a special day – great fellowship, in the fresh air.  It was great to get out of Brighton for a change”.  “It was lovely to be in the countryside”.

Thank you so much to our funders, Homity Trust, for making the day possible.