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Community

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

Driving innovation in care

By | Care Home, Community, Out and about

Hosted by the newly formed Department for Health and Social Care, Monday 19th March marked the final of the Care Innovation Challenge – a challenge created to bring young minds with new and innovative solutions to pre-defined sector challenges.

Only a few months ago we (Ben Wilkins, Ashish Goyal, Alex Ramamurthy and myself) launched the challenge for the care sector. We hosted 20 University students for a hackathon weekend in February, put six teams through to the Final and supported those teams with mentorship for the 4 weeks leading up to the final. The CIC Final was held at the Department of Health and Social Care and Hassan Zaidi’s Tumble Alert (http://tumblealert.com/) was chosen as the winner by our expert panel of judges (Avnish Goyal, David Brindle, Charlotte Bright, Vic Rayner, Martin Jones, Annie Webber MHA Annie Webber, and Albert Chong). Hassan has now secured funding from UnLtd to launch his business.

As a sector, social care has more employees and more beds than the NHS and provides the essential services and support to enable older adults in the UK to live independent, fulfilled and dignified lives but historically has struggled with the adoption of innovation. Often described as the valley of doom, the gap between ideation and market adoption is often just too big to bridge and many wonderful, life enhancing solutions never see the light of day. I hope that the Care Innovation Challenge will help bridge this gap.

I wouldn’t pretend that I’m a specialist researcher – or an expert, or a regulator – but, as a relatively layperson, I expect to see a seismic shift as residents (and family members) entering the sector will expect a whole lot more from social care, driving the sector to an entirely new place. In my short time in the sector I have seen a lot of change (not always good), I have seen luxury care home providers grow exponentially, whilst also seeing the direct results of funding cuts in services which are mainly local authority funded – the gap between the two is frightening.

Additionally there has been the launch of a multitude of different technology platforms promising to enhance care, reduce admin, care hours and costs. As the sector continues to develop, I foresee a convergence of the market with domiciliary care, day care, residential care and possibly sheltered housing becoming tightly integrated, often under one roof. I personally see this as one of the most exciting opportunities for disruptive change, ultimately leading to a person-centred approach, rather than a fragmented and disjointed experience.

I hope, like many in the care sector, the work we are doing at Oomph! helps to ensure that everyone (regardless of setting) enjoys a ‘full life for life’.

Ben Allen, CEO, Oomph! Wellness

To learn more, please contact:

ben@oomph-wellness.org
lisat@oomph-wellness.org

Sport England Active Ageing Initiative gains traction as Oomph! and Places for People get active in the community

By | Community

Oomph! are partnering with Places for People Living+, a leading specialist supported housing provider in the UK, to train staff, volunteers and customers.

This is part of the Sport England subsidised programme, which aims to get 27,000 over 55s from inactive to active within the next two years. The pioneering partnership enables 12 Living+ venues across the North West and 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 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!

One Oomph! course attendee said “This course was so much fun and I hope other customers enjoy Oomph! as much as I do!”

Suzanne Porter, Living+ Services Manager for Later Life said “We are excited to be partnering with Oomph! as part of this initiative to help get more of our older customers active. We have thoroughly enjoyed the training so far and look forward to getting out into more of our communities to deliver a range of fun activities which improve the health and wellbeing of the people we support”.

Glenis Griffin, Living+ Housing and Wellbeing Advisor and instructor, said “Oomph! has already made such a difference to our customers, improving their mobility and fitness whilst having a great time. It makes my job so worthwhile when I hear our customers laugh and see the results the activities are having”.

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

Loneliness… Not just on Valentine’s Day!

By | Community

On a day when love is celebrated across the world, it seems apt to examine the other side of the coin: loneliness.

The appointment of Tracey Crouch as the Minister for Loneliness highlights its increasing public profile. And rightly so, as illustrated by the now much used statistic that loneliness is as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, it’s not just the depth of the problem that’s staggering – it’s also the scale. Although not a problem exclusive to those in later life, a recent English Longtitudinal ageing study found that 1.2m people over 65 in the UK are persistently or chronically lonely.

Much has been done across the public and VCS sector, with excellent initiatives, such as the Campaign to End Loneliness and the Jo Cox Foundation, grappling with the complexities of the loneliness. Thanks to their work, it has become clear that there is no silver bullet to fix the problem. Instead, it requires collaboration on a national, local and individual level, with many organisations bringing potential solutions to the table.

Although loneliness is often associated with people living in their own homes, it is also rife in settings where a person may be surrounded by other older people. This is illustrated in Care Homes, covered by an excellent blog written by Tim Owen. Furthermore, going into sheltered housing does not ‘guard against’ loneliness (as might be expected by family members) – studies have shown little differences in the levels of loneliness across settings.

So, how can we combat loneliness?

  • Concentrate on the positives. Older adults need to enjoy themselves, to do what they like doing – this could be attending a drawing class in a care home, a game of seated volleyball in their communal sheltered lounge, or going on a trip to the beach. This means bringing activity to an audience that doesn’t always know what’s possible, in environments they are used to, led by people they trust – improving likelihood of engagement.
  • Provide opportunities for meaningful volunteering. Contribution plays a part in improving self-esteem and provides valuable opportunities for social engagement. This means focusing on what people can achieve, not focusing on their problem now. Give older people a net with which to fish, rather than just providing the fish.

From doing these two things, Oomph! have seen some positive results so far – EQ-5D improvements have been encouraging (13% increase compared to ELSA comparisons), but through the rigorous academic study of our community work, we hope to tease out more on the mental and social impact.

One exercise session a week may not may not solve the loneliness issue – no single solution will. But ensuring there are enjoyable and easily accessible opportunities for social engagement will certainly improve the lives of many older people. We’re committed to positive ageing and to end loneliness. That would bring joy to our hearts on Valentines Day!

To learn more, please contact david@oomph-wellness.org

 

SOURCE: Burholt, V., Nash, P. and Philips, J. 2013. The impact of supported living environments on social resources and the experience of loneliness for older widows living in Wales: An exploratory mediation analysis Family Science 4(1): 121-132

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