Out and about

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…

From Cat Cafes to Gin Distilleries: One Year of Out & About

By | Care Home, Out and about

With every life change, we reach new milestones and new circumstances are thrust upon us. In early adulthood, most milestones are an opportunity to interact with new people; we land our first job, move to a new house or gain a place at university.

As we get older, our life changes naturally limit our opportunity to socialise; we retire, we stop driving, our children move out. The potential to slow down on social activities and new experiences as we age is apparent, but it shouldn’t be the reality.

Remaining socially active and maintaining community relationships supports us all to maintain good physical and emotional health. Research suggests that participating in meaningful social activities enhances brain health, lowers the risk of high blood pressure and even lowers the risk of dementia.

May 2018 marked a year since we launched our trips service – designed to break down the barrier between care homes and the outside world.  The service provides regular meaningful outings, supporting older adults to maintain social activities – nurturing existing community relations and building new ones.

In just a year we have seen our reach increase exponentially:

  • We now run 5 x more trips a month than when we started
  • Our fleet of buses has expanded from 3 to 13 (and still counting!)
  • We’ve taken 7000 residents on 2000+ trips, and created countless smiles

Our conductors are the essence of Oomph!, delivering inclusive and interactive trips tailored to the interests and needs of any group of individuals. Neil Thomson, our Devon conductor, gives an insight into the impact getting out and about has:

“On a recent visit to Plymouth Hoe, we had a swimming enthusiast who mentioned she hadn’t been in the water in years. Given she had already swum the channel, we couldn’t let the opportunity slip for her to have a paddle… 96 is never too old for a dip! It’s wonderful to see residents getting out of the home and re-engaging in their hobbies and interests.”

From Cat Cafes to gin distilleries, we’ve seen the incredible benefits that trips have, from enhancing mood and wellbeing to reigniting individual passions our impact remains our driving force. Furthermore, our increasing presence in the wider community has raised the profile of Oomph!, positioning us as a credible partner for the likes of HQ theatres and The National Trust.

We have had a wonderful year empowering older adults to get out and about – creating wonderful memories and new experiences. We look forward to furthering our impact as we grow… About to place 5 new buses on the road and with plans to expand our fleet by a further 16 buses by March 2019.

Be sure to give us a wave if you see us on the road (you can’t miss us!)…

For more information, please email



Borough Care Residents Get Out And About With Oomph!

By | Care Home, Out and about

We are now partnering with Borough Care, the largest not for profit provider of care for older people in Stockport, to provide its residents with more day trips out to destinations further afield. Borough Care will work with us to offer residents regular visits to places of interest.

Each of Borough Care’s eleven homes will participate in one Oomph! trip each month. Recent trips have included a day at the seaside in Blackpool, a chance to see the animals at Chester Zoo and a visit to Knowsley Safari Park.

Commenting on the Oomph! partnership, Sophie Gardiner, Area Support at Borough Care, says: “At Borough Care, we believe people should continue to do the things they love and that a person’s life shouldn’t come to a standstill when they move to a care home. We are committed to providing a wide range of activities, to ensure our residents live an enriched life and are able to participate in everything they wish. The link up with Oomph! offers people the chance to get out and about in a safe environment.”

Matt Hamblin, Senior Business Manager at Oomph!, says: “We are excited to partner with Borough Care, to ensure that all residents live a full life for life. Research shows there are proven health and wellbeing benefits of continuing to get outdoors as you get older so we are delighted to be able to provide this service for Borough Care residents.”

The health and wellbeing benefits to Borough Care residents participating in the Oomph! trips include: the excitement of doing something different; the opportunity to reminisce by revisiting places they may not have visited for many years; improving relationships with fellow residents through shared experiences; and spending more time outdoors in the fresh air, which is beneficial to both a person’s physical and mental health.

Getting outdoors to tackle social isolation head on

By | Care Home, Out and about

This year, on the 21st April, Care Home Open Day will be held in thousands of homes across the country for the 6th year running.

The theme of this year is ‘Linking Communities’ and is meant to help homes build relationships with local people and organisations, and – whilst there are clearly benefits to be had by increasing the number of visitors to care homes – I hope that an equal outcome will be that residents of care homes across the country feel closer and better connected to the communities around them as result.

Since I started working in care homes 6 years ago, I have always been aware of the number of barriers faced when supporting residents to stay connected to the communities around their homes. The reasons for this isolation in care might be a lack of transport, fear of leaving a safe environment or more simply, a lack of knowledge of accessible places to go and things that can be done there.

A 2013 study called Greening Dementia found that, whilst only 20% of people living with dementia considered their condition to be a barrier to using outdoor spaces, 83% of care staff believed that dementia limited the person’s ability to do so. This suggests that we aren’t simply facing logistical barriers, but also the misperceptions of those directly delivering care. And so, it is important that we not only provide ways and means of getting out and about, but that we also have a responsibility to raise awareness as to why it’s so vital.

Research has showed that spending as little as 5 minutes in nature, sometimes referred to as ‘a dose of nature’, can be good for health and wellbeing, and – whilst most people would accept that staying indoors for extended periods of time is bad for your health – knowing some of the true benefits that come with adventuring away from of the care environment is something we should all be able to talk about. Benefits such as:

  • A chance for spontaneous social encounters that aren’t possible without leaving the four walls of the home.
  • Opportunities to reminisce by encountering places, smells or sounds that might not have been revisited in a long time.
  • Improved relationships within the home, through shared experiences and personal discoveries, leading to greater empathy through care.
  • Better orientation with nature and the seasons for those who struggle to remember specific times and dates.

Have a look to see if any homes in your area are opening their doors this weekend, and if you’ve already been invited to visit a home this Care Home Open Day, then make sure you return the favour! Let residents and staff know about other community events they could attend or offer to join them as a volunteer on their next outing away from the home.

For more information, please email

New Care adds Oomph! to its activities programmes

By | Care Home, Out and about

Fast growing care home operator, New Care, is adding extra ‘oomph’ to its already outstanding daily wellbeing and activities programmes.

The forward thinking care provider has teamed up with us to enhance mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. All New Care homes now have a number of specially trained in-house Oomphers who deliver the complete Oomph! programme for residents including exercise classes, one-to-one sessions and regular meaningful days out.

Offering many benefits including a reduction in isolation and improved social interaction, mental stimulation and physical mobility, the programme has been exceptionally well received and is now a firm favourite with residents in all homes, who look forward to the daily and weekly classes and exciting excursions.

Chief operating officer at New Care, Cath Fairhurst, commented: “Oomph! is all about making the residents happy and providing them with enjoyment and opportunities to socialise while promoting health and wellbeing. Our residents look forward to the Oomph! sessions and we usually have a full room for every class.

“We’ve even seen a huge difference in some residents who did not participate before we introduced Oomph!; it has significantly improved their quality of life and they are regulars at the classes and first to sign up for the days out which is great.”

A resident said: “Oomph! is wonderful, it’s something different every day so we never know what to expect. One day we’re dancing to music with scarves and pom poms and the next day we’re on a day trip to the seaside! It’s all thoroughly enjoyable, well organised and brings us all together for good fun.”


For more information, please email

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 ( 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:

Oomph! supports the Care Innovation Challenge

By | Care Home, Community, Out and about

The care sector currently faces a multitude of challenges, presenting problems which are only due to worsen with an ageing population.

We want to find some answers.

This is why Oomph! are supporting the Care Innovation Challenge, a competition designed to kick start new ideas and solutions for the care sector through inviting students from a range of disciplines to think broadly on ways to create positive change. There’s still time to apply to take part here.

Taking place on the 17th – 18th February, teams will spend 2 days at our HQ in Wimbledon, where there will be intensive ideas generation, development and prototyping. All teams will present to judges from the care sector on the Sunday afternoon, where the top five teams will be supported with four intense weeks of mentoring and funding to test and trial their project and newly forming business.

The top five teams will return to Oomph! HQ on Saturday 17th of March to present their work and findings where ideas and people will be matched with funding and pilot opportunities.

Ben Allen, Oomph!’s CEO, said:

“The care sector will be responsible for the health, wellbeing and quality of life of an increasing number of older adults in the decades ahead. In order to undertake this challenge we need great ideas and innovation from dynamic and driven people who build mission-led organisations that create positive change.”

For more information, please visit

Balhousie puts some Oomph! into its care homes with innovative partnership

By | Care Home, Out and about

We are excited to be working with award-winning care home group Balhousie to put some Oomph! into the sector, making them the first organisation in Scotland to sign up to an activity programme with a difference. Balhousie Care Group operates 25 care homes in Scotland, and has linked up with us to deliver engaging exercise and activity programmes for residents.

Our mission is to improve the wellbeing of older adults, and we will work with Balhousie’s 25 care homes, offering fun exercise and activity sessions, as well as monthly trips out for residents, to a wide range of destinations in customised minibuses. The trips are personalised and include intensive training by Oomph! staff within each care home.

The collaboration is the latest move in Balhousie Care Group’s mission to be a trailblazer in the care home sector, delivering individualised care for residents. The Perth-based group has been tackling issues such as dementia and loneliness in innovative ways, from virtual reality technology to therapy with pets. Balhousie also ensures that its residents and family members have a say in their care, and care strategy.

Oomph! has already been delivering services in England with great success, set up by founder Ben Allen – a specialist in exercise for older adults – after he realised a gap in the market for providing better adult social care.

Louise Barnett, Operations Director for Balhousie Care, said:
“We’re delighted to be the pioneers of Oomph! programmes in Scotland, and the innovative ways they promote fitness and wellness. We know our residents will benefit hugely from Oomph!’s activities. This organisation’s philosophies are very much in line with ours, which are to look at care and wellness in unorthodox, exciting ways.”

Ben Allen, Chief Executive for Oomph!, said:
“Oomph! are excited to have the opportunity to work with the team at Balhousie, one of the leading care groups in the UK. It is a privilege to be a key partner and support their drive for innovation and excellence across all homes. We share the same values and entrepreneurial spirit and are delighted to be adding additional fun and engagement to resident’s activities.”

Oomph! lands £1.5m to drive care home outings revolution

By | Out and about

Barchester’s Mike Parsons, Care and Wellbeing Fund and Nesta Impact Investments invest in Out and About service

Barchester Healthcare Founder, Mike Parsons along with the Care and Wellbeing Fund and Nesta Impact Investments have together invested £1.5m into a radical new outings service for older and vulnerable adults in care by award winning social enterprise Oomph! Wellness. Out and About provides an end-to-end excursions solution including transport, drivers and a tailored schedule of trips for care providers.

In spite of huge pressures on social care budgets, care homes still need to provide wellbeing activities, but are searching for new ways to deliver more for less. Oomph!’s excursion service will typically allow homes that organise outings themselves to benefit from up to 3 times more trips for half the cost according to analysis by Deloitte.¹ The service will provide up to 6 trips a month for a flat fee. Prices will start from £160 per excursion, putting regular outings within reach of services that can’t currently offer them.

In total, Oomph! is spending £4m to put the Out and About service on the road in five regions² following a successful pilot. The balance of funds has been obtained through debt finance. The company’s first major funding round will grow their minibus fleet to 80 in 2017 reaching 300 by 2020 by which time Oomph! will be rolling out half a million individual journeys nationwide per year³.

Leading regional care groups including WCS Care, HICA and Cumbric Care Group are amongst others jumping on board when outings start running from March. Day trippers will take in premium locations such as museums, music and sport events, botanic gardens and art galleries as well as outings to markets, pubs and farms.

Oomph! performance

Oomph! Wellness has delivered strong, consistent revenue growth. From seed funding in 2013, it has doubled turnover year on year since 2014. The company is already operating in care settings from the Shetlands to the Channel Isles which will enable it to benefit immediately from economies of scale, pooling capacity for outings between multiple services in a region.

Oomph!’s founder Ben Allen said: “The Out and About model radically reduces the cost and effort of running outings for care services. We are effectively helping services in an area to club together to achieve economies of scale whilst each still gets exclusive outings for their residents.”

“Care home owners have told me of their dismay for residents who’ve not been outside for months. I just can’t accept that so many vulnerable people are stuck indoors due to public funding pressures.”

Mike Parsons, Founder of Barchester Homes and care industry expert became Chair of Oomph! in 2016 and has put over £1m into the business to date. Investing £300,000 of his own money into this venture he said: “This is a no brainer for care services, Out & About excursions will significantly enhance the offering of providers currently unable to afford regular day trips and provide a much savvier option for those burdened with the costs and logistical issues involved in running their own outings.”

Whilst Oomph! is well placed to capitalise on its existing reach and reputation within the care home sector, it is vigorously exploring expansion into adjacent markets such as learning disability services. Social Finance, who manage the Care and Wellbeing Fund, led Oomph!’s first major investment round providing £800,000.

Existing shareholder Nesta Impact Investments subscribed £310,000 in this round. Commenting on the deal Helen Gironi, Investment Director at Nesta and a member of Oomph!’s board said: “We first invested in Oomph! in 2013, attracted by its innovative and scalable approach to bringing health and wellbeing benefits to older and vulnerable people. There is strong evidence of the impact Oomph! has had already on people’s lives and we are delighted to support the business to extend this further.”

Christine Asbury is Chief Executive of WCS Care which runs 12 care homes across Warwickshire, including five rated ‘outstanding’ by the CQC4 – being amongst the first to sign up to Out and About, she said: “Residents should do what they’ve always done – as well as try new opportunities should they wish – and staying connected to their local community plays an important part in that. With support from Oomph!, we’re able to enhance our existing approach to activities and offer even more trips that are tailored to people’s individual needs.”

About Oomph! Wellness

Oomph! ( is an award-winning social enterprise dedicated to transforming the mental, physical and emotional wellbeing of older and vulnerable adults. We provide training, support and services to enable anyone working in care or community settings to deliver outstanding, sustainable activity programmes. Working with care groups, local authorities and community support organisations across the UK we prove our impact every step of the way and lead the industry in how we track health and wellbeing outcomes. You can read some of the remarkable and inspiring results of our work with partners in our latest Annual Impact Report at .

For all media enquiries including interview requests, additional case studies and photography please contact Julie Kangisser for further information. E – T – 07711 818 496


1. Deloitte analysis of for profit older adult care homes: 55% provide a minibus service (owned, leased or hired). Average cost £1800pm for av. 2 excursions v.s. Out and About costing under £900 for 6 excursions.

2. Initial launch regions are South East, South Wales, Liverpool and North West, East Yorkshire and East Midlands.

3. Estimated individual journeys based upon average minibus usage (60% of time capacity) and average vehicle occupancy (4 residents) over 300 minibuses over a one year period. 130 trips per month x12 x 300 minibuses = 468,000 individual journeys (not unique users)

4. NICE’s Mental Wellbeing of Older People in Care Homes standard shows that social activities are now a factor the Care Quality Commission (CQC) considers when rating care homes.

5. The Care and Wellbeing Fund is a £12 million investment fund, managed by Social Finance. The fund is being used to develop and scale new and existing community care services for people affected by cancer and other long term conditions.

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