In 2005 Zoe McQuade and Pat Evans set-up the Little Bramley Farm Sanctuary in Polegate, Sussex, caring for sick, abused and unwanted horses. In 2020 they were told that their lease on the land was coming to an end and they would have to move on. Zoe and Pat have dealt with numerous challenges in the past, but for the first time they face the prospect of having to close the sanctuary down.
Grace Dent and producer Toby Field follow Zoe and Pat as they weigh up their options and consider what future they can provide for their horses, like Chandler who was brought in and given less than five days to live, or Hope, a Shire with a cleft palate and a neurological condition that makes it difficult for her to walk. Toby meets volunteers who help at the stables: Tim, an operations manager who after bringing his daughter to the Little Bramley quickly found it helped him cope with the stresses of work and dealing with his ADHD; and Claire, a nurse who found her own sanctuary, away from the pressures of dealing with Covid patients and the effects of lockdown.
Will Zoe and Pat find a new home for the sanctuary?
Presented by Grace Dent and produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Toby Field
The Dentist Van
Nick has an unbearable tooth ache and has tried, and failed, to extract the bad tooth himself.
He's homeless and, like many others, can't access NHS dental care. When a mobile dentist van arrives at a homeless support centre, Nick joins the queue. He's desperate but he was too late putting his name on the list. Will he get an appointment?
The charity van roams Britain with a dedicated brigade of volunteer dentists, filling in wherever the need is greatest. As it parks up outside the support centre in Hastings, we hear the stories of those seeking help. There are many hoping to be seen.
Presented by Grace Dent and produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Eliza Lomas.
After the Bridge - Catch-up
On 22 March 2017, 25-year-old Will Dyson was walking along Westminster Bridge, when a vehicle mounted the pavement and hit him from behind. The Terror Attack left five people dead and more than 50 injured. Will was one of the injured.
In the lead-up to the year anniversary, producer Georgia Catt followed Will as he faced up to his changing views of the incident. She also witnessed him receive the devastating news that his doctors weren't happy for him to take part in the Hackney Half Marathon, a long-held personal goal.
Three years later Georgia meets Will again to find out how life has been in the intervening years, and watch him finally taking part in the Hackney Half.
Produced by Georgia Catt and Ellie Bury
A Fisherman Caught in Two Storms
Bally, a fisherman on the West Coast of Scotland, navigates a year of Brexit, Covid, an environmental crisis and a broken down boat.
Bally fishes off Isle of Skye and has been doing so for decades, but this year has been his most challenging yet. Having survived 2020 and the global pandemic, January 2021 brought a new lockdown and the departure of the UK from the EU. This changed everything for Bally. He fishes for langoustines, or prawns, and for these shellfish there was an entirely new set of legislation to adjust to overnight. The result was confusion and crashing prices in an industry already damaged by coronavirus.
This edition follows Bally as he tries to make ends meet and adjust to the new world. He's not only got to look out for himself but also 24 year old Hayden, his crew. He's passionate about the environment and worried about the damage he has seen over his time on the water. If he can make if through a turbulent few months, what will be the future ahead of him?
Produced by Sam Peach
Out of the Red!
James 33 and Courtney 28 were fed up of struggling to make ends meet and decided on a radical solution: they swapped their rented house for a bright orange sprinter van which they’ve converted and affectionately christened DeeDee. Instead of working longer hours, they’ve halved their working week and still think they can pay off their debts and save enough for a place of their own.
Producer Sue Mitchell hears what happens as they put their plan into action and set off on the open road. They made their decision just before covid hit and as many people grappled with remote ways of working, James and Courtney were one step ahead. Their life transformation had entailed reducing their work commitments and ensuring that they could do everything online, with DeeDee’s excellent internet capabilities allowing them to work from the most remote locations.
The move to this lifestyle has brought challenges of its own and particularly with their new travel companion, a Spanish rescue dog called Sally Sausage. Their adventures embrace storms, floods, frantic dog searches and costly breakdowns. But throughout it all their goal keeps them going and as covid restrictions lift they find themselves with difficult decisions to reach. The debts have been paid off and they’ve managed to save, so what will they do next?
Courtney says the lifting of their financial woes has given them both a sense of empowerment: “making the decision to get the van was the catalyst for a complete mindset change, seeing the world is the bigger picture. We were both in full time employment earning a lot more and we couldn’t save. Now we are in part time employment we are able to save 1,000 a month.
“We’ve designed our life around it. The life we had before wasn’t for us and I think the decision now isn’t about going back to that life. The idea of having a base to go back to that’s ours that feels like our home, is one we want. At the moment home is wherever we park our van, so I can see us having that base to put down roots and then we won’t have to carry everything with us. There are decisions ahead but we’ve proved that we don’t need lots of stuff to enjoy life.”
The couple are also recording their travels for their You Tube Channel https://youtube.com/c/CourtsMeeks & Instagram Https://instagram.com/courtsandmeeks, Courts and Meeks, with thousands of followers tuning in to share in their adventures.