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Community

Belong partners with Oomph! to adopt ‘whole team’ approach to wellbeing

By | Community

We have partnered with Belong, a leading UK care organisation, to extend the wellbeing and activities programmes in place across its seven care villages.

The partnership has seen Oomph! roll out its Wellbeing Leadership programme to 50 household leads and Experience Co-ordinators, as well as providing resource packs to promote a more diverse and creative approach to activities.

Belong’s Chief Operating Officer, Stacey McCann, said: “Enabling people to lead the lives they choose is fundamental to our vision and we are always striving towards a more person-centred approach.

“ At Belong, we promise a varied programme of activities and exercise for all our customers and recognised that we needed to get the whole team on board to deliver this, and to ensure our provision is adapted to each person’s choice and ability.  Oomph!’s programme offers a refreshing approach that goes way beyond exercise and has given us the opportunity to enhance the way we involve all our colleagues in creating meaningful experiences for our customers.”

As well as training, the programme also includes a series of skills workshops, including Oomph! Create, which has been designed in partnership with The Lightbox Gallery, who provide specialist art programmes for older adults. The workshop focuses on building skills in three different artistic mediums – painting, collage and sculpture, while further workshops will focus on culture, nature and sport.

Feedback from Belong colleagues has been excellent, with one support worker, Belong Wigan’s Gina Bamber, commenting: “The training sessions were really fun and informative, encouraging us to take a fresh look at the way we think about activity on the households, and to drive best practice as a result.”

Taking a whole-team approach to activities, Oomph!’s training focuses on ensuring every member of Belong has the skills to provide fresh and varied exercise and activities that residents love. Emphasis is also placed on creating person-centred plans that are sustained and recorded, so that providers can demonstrate to the regulator that they are meeting and exceeding activity requirements.

Ben Allen, Oomph’s CEO and Founder, said: “Oomph! is delighted to be working with the Belong team. It is a privilege to be an integral part of the organisation’s wellbeing provision. We will work in partnership to drive innovation and participation across the communities and are excited to be adding further fun and engagement to customer activities!”

Partnership with Arthritis Action to improve strength, balance and co-ordination

By | Community

We have teamed up with UK Charity, Arthritis Action, to deliver exercise programmes designed specifically for older adults with arthritis.

For the first time, a collaboration between Oomph! and Arthritis Action has brought together experts in arthritis, with experts in delivering exercise programmes to older adults.

The new programmes have three levels of intensity, and target areas of the body commonly affected by arthritis: the hip, knee and spine. These programmes aim to improve participants’ strength, balance and co-ordination, with a focus on regaining, developing and maintaining physical independence.

Launching this month on various Oomph! platforms, the content will be available on the Oomph! app. Staff in community venues – such as retirement villages, sheltered housing, and day centres – that have been trained by Oomph! to deliver fun and engaging exercise classes, will now be able to view the programmes and use these to alleviate the symptoms of arthritis for class participants.

The programmes follow demand from Oomph! Instructors for strength and balance content, and equally the desire to provide relevant and fresh content that will improve the health of participants whilst still continuing to engage them.

Shantel Irwin, CEO of Arthritis Action, “We are delighted to have partnered with Oomph! to develop an exercise programme for people with musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions. Our aim is to build people’s strength and confidence to exercise safely, and are pleased to have been able to share our knowledge and expertise on arthritis and MSK conditions.

Oomph!, experts in delivering activity programmes to the elderly, are best placed to deliver this exciting new programme across their networks in the UK. We very much look forward to measuring the impact of this programme on participants and are particularly excited about building people’s strength, confidence and ability to get out of a chair and achieve physical independence.”

Ben Allen, CEO and Founder of Oomph!, “We are excited to be partnering with Arthritis Action to create content specifically focused around strength and balance for those with Arthritis. It is vital that we provide resources that Instructors value and that will have a substantial impact on the physical mobility of participants – the partnership provides the perfect opportunity to do this.”

Wigan gets some Oomph! with new partnership

By | Community

Wigan Council has partnered with us to train staff and residents as part of a Sport England subsidised programme, which aims to get the over 55s from inactive to active within the next two years.

Training has kicked off, with the pioneering partnership enabling 20 sheltered schemes across Wigan to deliver fun, regular exercise sessions for residents and staff whilst also engaging the wider community.

The fun-first training incorporates strength, flexibility and coordination, bringing elements of lesser-known sports including volleyball, weightlifting and boccia. All are adapted from traditional versions of the sports to make them accessible for people with a variety of needs and abilities, whilst retaining gameplay and fun!

One Oomph! course attendee said: “I fully enjoyed the course from start to finish!”

Cllr Cunliffe from Wigan Council said, “It’s easy to think when you hit a certain age that your only interaction with sport is as a spectator but age should never be a barrier to getting involved. We have a rich heritage of being a sporting borough and it is great that we can offer everyone the chance to be active and try something different. Not only does it help to keep people healthier but it is also a great way to break down the potential problems of social isolation by harnessing people’s passion for sport.

“We’re delighted to be working with Oomph! on this new project and we look forward to encouraging people to get involved in activities no matter how old they are.”

Ben Allen, Oomph!’s CEO, said: “Oomph! are delighted to be working with the Wigan Council team. It is a privilege to be a key partner and support their wellbeing initiatives. We are excited to be adding additional fun and engagement to exercise sessions, and look forward to working together over the coming months!”

Oomph! Annual Impact Report 2017/18

By | Care Home, Community, Out and about

We’re delighted to release our brand new Oomph! Impact Report 2017/18. This year, we’ve achieved amazing scale, positively changing the impact of ageing for record numbers of older adults across the UK.

Here are some highlights from the report:

  • We have trained over 3,700 staff, and have delivered over 45,400 exercise classes
  • 100% of staff would recommend our training to a colleague
  • We have gone on 1925 trips, taking 8060 residents Out & About

You can read the full report here, for detailed information and some wonderful stories that bring the facts and stats to life.

A big thank you to all of our partners who have contributed to our success this year, we couldn’t have done it without you.

Roll on 2019!

Team Oomph! take on the 3 Peak Challenge

By | Care Home, Community, Out and about

When the alarm went off at 4:30am on Friday 13th, it was safe to say no one in the team was particularly excited at the prospect of doing a 24 mile hike.

Loaded up with water, snacks – and some fabulously moist cakes from Apetito – spirits picked up as over 80 people in the care sector set off on the 3 Peaks Challenge, covering Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent.

It was a rewarding day, with beautiful views of the Yorkshire countryside, but most certainly not easy going – there was a downpour of rain on the second peak (scroll down for some particularly damp photos!), treacherous drops, blisters, cramp and broken walking boots (not to mention a lack of phone signal). By lunchtime – over 6 hours in – Team Oomph! was tired, sore and ready to eat our bodyweight in cake provided by the organisers. At the third peak, around 8 hours in, we’d set a nearly impossible pace and could barely speak to each other. Coming in just under 10 hours, we finished with a run to the line and it was all over – we’d never been more deserving of the cold pint and fish and chips devoured at the pub afterwards.

Whilst gruelling, we couldn’t have been walking and climbing for a more worthy cause, and the day provided a great opportunity to meet a wide range of incredible people from the sector, from suppliers to care workers themselves. So far, we’ve raised over £1100 for the Care Workers Charity, but there’s still time to donate here – every pound goes some way in helping care workers in their time of need.

If that wasn’t exciting enough, there’s now talk of Team Oomph! tackling the national 3 Peaks next, so perhaps you should watch this space…

What Matters In Wellbeing – Engagement Vs Outcomes

By | Community

Last week I attended the first International Conference for Social Prescribing at Salford University. Discussions there recognised the fundamental challenge of creating interest and motivation for people to start participating in physical activity and maintaining their participation in the long term. This difficulty is encapsulated in the idea of ‘behaviour change’, which has been a key phrase for many community health and exercise programmes over the past few years, alongside having a clear ‘theory of change’ that articulates the outcomes we expect a programme will create, and how. This is not an easy thing for organisations of any size to achieve.

While potential methods of driving behaviour change were discussed, there seemed to be an overwhelming emphasis on measuring it. This leads me to make a suggestion: we need to stop focusing so much on the outcomes. If people are being physically active and participating in socially inclusive and meaningful activities, there will be wellbeing and clinical benefits. Yes, this will vary from programme to programme and activity to activity but fundamentally, positive things tend to happen. What we haven’t cracked yet is the right design, implementation, promotion and sustainability of these programmes.

The shift needs to be away from the singular and reductionist question of ‘Do physical activity programmes work?’ to a more pragmatic and realist question: ‘What works, for whom, and under what circumstances?’

Initially this sounds like the outcome evaluation of exercise has become even more complex… and it has. Exercise is a complex intervention; it’s difficult to standardise. 11 people participating in the same game of football for 90 minutes will each have a unique experience and outcomes. The right outcome measurement tool for community services may capture a proportion of the true outcomes, but it will miss incredible, unique benefits. Like a person who was reunited with their best friend from 60 years ago during a bowls match. Or another with long-term mental health problems whose participation in an art class catalysed a shift from being in crisis to leading change in mental health care and becoming medication free.

Community health and wellbeing programmes work. It will always depend on individual circumstances, but fundamentally, they work. What we haven’t figured out is how to make them work operationally. The rhetoric behind ‘demonstrating the outcomes’ is often to reach the holy grail of a community health and wellbeing programme: being commissioned and paid for by the public purse. But the reality is that this isn’t being achieved on anywhere near a grand scale – even the largest charities with considerable budget and skills for evaluation struggle to achieve this.

I’m not suggesting we ignore outcomes. I’m proposing that we channel more focus on gaining knowledge to create a system of greater outputs (numbers of people who access and benefit from the activity, product or service). The people taking part in Oomph! sessions around the country are not doing it because they heard in a research study that exercise improves quality of life, and that strength and balance programmes reduce the risk of falls. They are taking part because it is fun. They will have outcomes – physical, mental, social, emotional, economic, personal. But to me the most powerful achievement is that people WANT to take part. They don’t drag themselves to sessions because they’ve been prescribed it as part of a 12-week programme; they turn up early, they have a brilliant time, and they look forward to the next one.

That’s behaviour change. That’s a system change creating a service that operationally works following a theory of change.

The question I ask myself daily is how can we make the services and offerings in the community as appealing as a cold pint and a burger? How do we make them so fun, rewarding and even naughty that people can’t help but take part? No GP practice or hospital was prescribing Pokémon Go, but 5.3 million people in the UK played it, with the average ‘Pokémon Trainer’ walking an extra 2,000 steps every time they played the same. Importantly, people with the lowest levels of activity walked an additional 3,000 more steps a day after playing the game.

We need to shift our focus from measuring outcomes to fostering engagement. By harnessing the same strategies that international conglomerates use to make that cold beer and burger so appealing and addictive, we can make radical behaviour change desirable. The activities that make up our health and wellbeing services will cease to be called health and wellbeing services: it will just be, ‘you’ve got to come and try this!’.

 

To find out more, please contact hello@oomph-wellness.org

#VolunteersWeek – Celebrating and thanking volunteers across the UK

By | Community

Volunteers week takes place between 1st and 7th June every year and is a chance to say thank you to all of the volunteers across the country for their contributions, hard work and dedication.

Volunteers Week has been running since 1984 when it was set up by Volunteering England and is now a nationwide campaign.

NCVO (National Council for Voluntary Organisations) defines volunteering as “any activity that involves spending time, unpaid, doing something that aims to benefit the environment or someone (individuals or groups) other than, or in addition to, close relatives”.

In 2016/17, 19.8 million people in the UK volunteered formally at least once a year, with 11.9 million people doing so at least once a month, a variety of different reasons lying behind this choice. For some, volunteering provides a sense of being part of a team, helps to boost confidence and gives an opportunity to put forward ideas. Others may choose to volunteer to try something new and will use volunteering as a new career path. Volunteering can make a real difference to many people and businesses and is open to anyone – even you!

Volunteers Week is filled with fun and inclusive events. Local school fairs, coffee mornings, cake-a-thon’s, appreciation afternoon tea’s, community walks and even BBQs (if the weather permits)! If you are running an event, shout about it by clicking here.

Social media is a great tool to use for advertising your events and for seeking volunteer opportunities. Use the hashtag #VolunteersWeek to see what everyone is up to and to find current volunteering opportunities across the country. If you have a friend, neighbour, family member or work colleague who is currently volunteering, use your social media to say a big thank you.

Other ways to thank a volunteer are:

  • Appreciation / thank you notes
  • Send a text message or give someone a call
  • Send a gift
  • Say thanks with a voucher
  • Create and send a thank you postcard
  • Organise a surprise thank you party
  • Send a letter
  • Create a volunteer hall of fame

To find out more on how to become a volunteer in an area local to you, simply click here.

Oomph! and Quantum Care get active in the community as Sport England Active Ageing initiative continues to grow…

By | Community

We are partnering with Quantum Care, a leading Hertfordshire Care Group, to train staff, volunteers and customers as part of a Sport England funding programme, which aims to get 27,000 over 55s from inactive to active within the next two years.

The partnership has been successfully launched, with 16 day care centres across Hertfordshire now able to deliver fun, regular exercise sessions, whilst also engaging the wider community. Every venue is completely committed to the partnership having hosted open house launches last week, to engage both participants and staff.

Attracting national news coverage, close collaboration between Oomph! and Quantum Care has already gained great interest and publicity from both The Telegraph and The Guardian.

The fun-first training incorporates strength, flexibility and coordination, with games such as Slipper Soccer, Armchair Volleyball and Clock Cricket – all adapted from traditional versions of the sports to make them accessible for people with a variety of needs and abilities, whilst retaining gameplay and fun!

Four National Governing bodies for sport have all inputted in the final training content with adapted sports from Volleyball England, British Orienteering, British weightlifting and Boccia to ensure content is flexible and agile to meet all interests.

Maria Ball, Chief Executive of Quantum Care, said: ”At Quantum Care we are always looking for new and exciting ways to encourage our day-centre members and residents to stay healthy, active and full of fun.  This is why we are so pleased to be partnering with Oomph! to deliver exciting and impactful exercise sessions for older people in our homes as well as in our local communities.”

David Terrace, Oomph’s Head of Community Partnerships, said: “Oomph! are excited to be working with the Quantum Care team. It is a privilege to be in partnership and support their wellbeing initiatives across key Hertfordshire venues. We are delighted to be adding additional fun and engagement to exercise sessions, and look forward to working together over the forthcoming months!”

Sport England Active Ageing kicks off in London as Oomph! and Notting Hill Genesis start new partnership

By | Community

We are partnering with Notting Hill Genesis, a leading housing association in the UK, to train staff, volunteers and customers as part of the Sport England funding programme, which aims to get 27,000 over 55s from inactive to active within the next two years. 

Our pioneering partnership enables three sheltered housing and two extra care venues across the South East to deliver fun, regular exercise sessions for customers, whilst also engaging the wider community.

The fun-first training incorporates strength, flexibility and coordination, with games such as Slipper Soccer, Armchair Volleyball and Clock Cricket – all adapted from traditional versions of the sports to make them accessible for people with a variety of needs and abilities, whilst retaining gameplay and fun!

Four national governing bodies for sport have all inputted in the final training content with adapted sports from Volleyball England, British Orienteering, British weightlifting and Boccia to ensure content is flexible and agile to meet all interests.

Linda Strong, Director of care services, said: “The fun and exciting activities organised by Oomph! will be of great benefit to our residents. We know that being more active improves the lives of our older residents and this project will help improve their mental and physical wellbeing. Bringing in the wider community to make the most of this training and introduce new people living in our schemes is the icing on the cake.”

David Terrace, Oomph’s Head of Community Partnerships, said: “Oomph! are excited to be working with the Notting Hill Genesis team. It is a privilege to be in partnership and support their wellbeing initiatives across key London communities. We are delighted to be adding additional fun and engagement to exercise sessions, and look forward to working together over the forthcoming months!”

Sports Governing Bodies Launch New Scheme To Beat Older Adult Inactivity And Loneliness With Fun And Games

By | Community

Oomph! are partnering with professional bodies for volleyball, weightlifting, orienteering and boccia to bring healthy competition to over 55s.

The national governing bodies for volleyball, weight lifting, orienteering and boccia are today launching revamped versions of their games to attract over 55s to sport thanks to a ground-breaking partnership with Oomph!.

We aim to tackle inactivity and loneliness with our national plan to get 27,000 older adults doing regular, fun exercise within two years. Training is already well underway for workers and volunteers in venues catering for independent older adults such as retirement villages and housing associations – equipping them with the skills, knowledge and adapted equipment to run sports classes with an element of healthy competition. Venues from Lancashire to Hertfordshire will start running modified sports classes this week.

All activities have been designed to be run by instructors, who will undergo comprehensive training from Oomph!, and without expensive regulation equipment and facilities. Volleyball England has approved a fabric covered inflatable ball and bunting in place of an official net; British Weight Lifting has designed resistance exercises using foam pool noodles and recommends the use of everyday objects such as water bottles as hand weights; British Orienteering is helping venues to create walking (or marching) courses which use post boxes and other local landmarks as checkpoints and Boccia England has taken the principles of a Paralympic sport and modified them for older adult settings, for example by suggesting the use of bean bags in place of specialist bowling balls. Other sports’ National Governing Bodies are now in discussions with Oomph! about versioning their games for this growing demographic.

Ben Allen, CEO of Oomph! said, “By ‘gamifying’ exercise for older adults we’re making it fun and sociable rather than functional. We already use sports rather than pure exercise to motivate previously reluctant participants to join our classes on a regular basis. However, this new combination of Oomph!’s expertise with the appeal and competitive edge of professional sports bodies, is game-changing.”

Peter Hart, CEO of British Orienteering commented, “At British Orienteering we are proud to be a sport that encompasses a wide age group, we have active members in their 90s, but working with Oomph! is the first time we have adapted many of our introductory activities to work with inactive older adults. It’s my belief that orienteering can offer older adults a fantastic mix of physical and mental exercise by adapting the challenge to suit their abilities.”

Gillian Harrison, Technical and Talent Coordinator at Volleyball England commented, “We are always keen for people to join the volleyball family because we know that everyone can get involved and benefit socially and physically – volleyball is the sport for everybody. Sitting Volleyball is one of the disciplines of volleyball which is already popular and a great chance for players with and without a disability to play together. So, we jumped at the chance to work with the experts at Oomph! to provide an adapted form of the game for the older age group. Their knowledge of how older adults could benefit from an active lifestyle made it easy to develop the concept of armchair volleyball.”

Zoe Metcalfe Head of Workforce at British Weight Lifting commented, “British Weight Lifting is delighted to partner with Oomph! on this exciting new initiative. This is the first time that weight lifting has been adapted to this age group and we have developed an innovative programme that is engaging and fun.”

Among the first providers to run Oomph! in the Community are Quantum, a retirement living provider, who are running the newly revamped sports classes in its daycare centres in Hertfordshire.

Maria Ball, CEO of Quantum Care commented, “At Quantum Care we are always looking for new and exciting ways to encourage our day-care users and residents to stay healthy, active and full of fun.  This is why we are so pleased to be partnering with Oomph! to train 48 members of the Quantum Care team to deliver exciting and impactful exercise sessions for older adults in Hertfordshire.

“Once our staff complete their training we will be offering exercise sessions across 16 care homes and will be encouraging the local community to join us in our efforts to help keep the people we care for, and the people of Hertfordshire, active and healthy”.

Sport England has put tackling inactivity at the heart of its strategy and launched the Active Ageing fund to tackle inactivity in the over 55s. Mike Diaper, Executive Director at Sport England said:

“Being active is one of the most important things people can do to maintain health and wellbeing as they age. We’re delighted to be supporting Oomph! with National Lottery funding to help get older adults to lead happier and heathier lives. We’ll be sharing learnings so successful approaches can be scaled-up or replicated across the country.”

 

Photo credit: Anson Court, Quantum Care

 

For more information on Oomph! in community settings, please email david@oomph-wellness.org

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