Gwen Anderson from Queen’s Bay Lodge care home in Edinburgh, part of CrossReach (Church of Scotland Social Care), has been recognised for the inspiring way she has transformed her care home and the day-to-day lives of its residents.
She has been named Instructor of the Year 2014 by Oomph!, the UK’s leading provider of exercise classes and activities to the care home sector. She wins a Sky TV package for one year for her care home to entertain residents and serve as an inspiration for more fun activities.
Gwen has introduced a whole range of new activities – from chaerobics to cheerleading, from badminton to balloon games, from dancing to welly throwing – to bring energy fun and a life full of colour into older adults lives every day.
Oomph! (which stands for Our Organisation Makes People Happy) provides training and support to staff in care settings to deliver engaging and fun exercise and activity programmes designed to significantly improve the day-to-day health, happiness, mobility and mental stimulation of older adults. More than 150,000 participants have already benefited from Oomph! in more than 800 care homes and this figure is set to more than double in 2015.
Gwen, who was nominated for the award by Queen’s Bay Lodge’s manager, Helen Somerville, was appointed an Activity Co-ordinator in March 2013. Since then, she has been passionate about improving residents’ quality of life by introducing fun, inclusive and effective exercise and activities programmes for older people living at Queen’s Bay Lodge. Last summer, Gwen launched a sports day which included events such as welly throwing, badminton and balloon games – inspired by Oomph! and enjoyed by residents.
Gwen said: “I love being an Oomph! Instructor – the residents know me as ‘Mrs Oomph!’. It’s a delight for me to see how passionate they are and how they embrace it. It’s just wonderful. I’ve seen firsthand how Oomph! makes people happy.”
Jen Fowler, a relative of a resident at Queen’s Bay Lodge was full of praise for Gwen: “Enthusiasm, motivation, sensitivity, commitment and patience. Gwen has all of them. The result of which is a happy group of people whose smiles alone are proof of the value of Oomph!”
Alan Logan, Director Services to Older People at CrossReach commented: “Whilst there is enthusiastic energy to Gwen’s approach to Oomph! there is carefulness and sensitivity to the approach, which ensures that all who participate have their needs and, crucially, their dignity met through the session and afterwards – as the session is having a longer lasting positive impact on residents’ daily life”
Dan Lehner, Chief Product Officer at Oomph!, commented:
“Gwen sums up the Oomph! ethos perfectly. Her energy and commitment to making people happy is wonderful. Her innovative use of Oomph! resources and ideas allows her to create tailored and inclusive activities enjoyed by residents at Queen’s Bay Lodge – they’re very lucky to have her.”