Our Zoofari event at Chester Zoo

September 2023 · min read

On Wednesday 20 September we invited some of the people we support and our volunteers to our Zoofari event at Chester Zoo.

Each year we host an event for the people who access our services, and volunteers, to come together and enjoy a day filled with activities, exhibitors and experiences - all centred on a theme of their choice.

With the help of our Making Change group, a panel of people who use our services and volunteers from across our services, this year’s theme was wildlife. We have had lots of help from the group to create a fantastic event.

Guests arrived bright and early to enjoy a breakfast sandwich and to take in the beauty of The Square, Chester Zoo’s Grade II listed event space.

The event was launched by Phil Orton, our Chief People Officer.


We broke the ice with an interactive sing-a-long with Ste Forshaw, a musician from an organisation called Live Music Now. Following this we recognised our incredible nominees by shining a light on their amazing achievements and gave them the recognition they deserve during our awards ceremony.

Helping to present the awards was Anne Broadhurst, one of our trustees and an active member of our Making Change group.

Our award winners were:




The Volunteer Award

Loz Whitlock

Huddersfield Road

The Determined Award

Mark Braithwaite

Waterhouse Court

Wellbeing Hero Award

Veronica Hesketh

Warrington Day Service

Learner of the Year

Laura Brighouse


Engagement and Involvement Award

Nigel Livesey


Outstanding Person of the Year Award

Amy Kitchin

Huddersfield Road

Our event volunteers helped to serve a hot meal for lunch, and everyone was recharged ready for the afternoon’s activities.

On top of all the fantastic main event activities, there was an abundance of stalls for guests to visit including; a Caricaturist, a photo booth, a fundraising stall, a craft stand selling items made by the people we support and a virtual reality stall, where guests could explore tropical beaches, underwater oceans and even take to the stars. Our stalls were open all day to give guests choice over how they spend their day.

After lunch, we became an orchestra using nothing but everyday scrap items. It was a fun activity that combines rhythm, movement, costume, choreography and great team spirit.

Our guests were then given the opportunity to visit the Zoo a little earlier or to hear a talk about the History of Chester Zoo from the Zoo Ranger team. They discussed the animals at Chester Zoo and the amazing work which goes into saving species.

After the event finished, our guests and volunteers were able to go and explore the zoo using complimentary tickets.


During our event, our guests were able to raise an incredible £252.90 on the fundraising stall and raise £169 for the services who created crafts to sell.

We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to be with us.

This day would not have been achievable without the dedicated contributions of: our outstanding volunteers who put forth their utmost effort, our employees who supported people on the day, and to the people we support who got involved in the organising of the day. Your support is genuinely appreciated.

Take a look at the full gallery of images from the day here.

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