Monitoring and forecasting the weather has become a reality at Langdon in Dawlish following the installation of a state-of-the-art weather station at the Dewnans Centre.
Langdon provides secure care and treatment for people with mental health needs from Devon and the wider south west region.
The weather station is the brainchild of Reverend Jez Brown, who is one of the Chaplains based at the site. Jez says: "Over the last couple of years at Langdon, we have been trying to develop imaginative ways of connecting with our patients - ways to stimulate conversation and interest, and to support their active participation in a whole host of different things that will enrich what we can offer to the people in our care.
"Most of us have at least a passing interest in the weather and how it works and the more you find out about it, the more interesting it becomes. I had no particular interest in meteorology when I came up with the idea, but my interest has grown as I have seen the potential benefits that can spring from installing a weather station. I was keen to try and find something new and engaging that could hold people's interest over a long period of time - particularly those people with limited or no leave from the site. Meteorology appears to fit the bill, and I am hoping that it will stimulate a journey towards long-term engagement by patients and staff.
"The project has been made possible with a generous donation from our Chairman’s Initiative Fund and further monies from charitable funds available to Chaplains. This has enabled us to buy an excellent piece of kit, which now stands proudly on the roof at the Dewnans Centre.
"The weather data is automatically downloaded from the weather station to an electronic data box located in the Discovery Centre. This data is then batched and automatically uploaded to our personalised weather station website. We can see a rolling five-day weather forecast; satellite pictures; data about temperature, rainfall and wind speed/direction and we can compare our data with other weather stations around the UK.
"We've been delighted by the interest already shown by everyone. We plan to appoint a ‘Weather Ambassador’ on each ward to promote participation in the project and even hope to invite patients and staff to present occasional weather forecasts.
"We have approached local BBC weatherman David Braine to visit Langdon to talk about meteorology and to formally 'open' the new weather station and our fingers are crossed that he will oblige!"