Not just bingo! - Amicus Horizon

Name of organisation/Personalisation project: Amicus Horizon – Not just bingo!

Description of the project

Amicus introduced a skills and interest audit to try to capture and identify what clients were interested in and wanted from activities within their schemes.  We also saw this an opportunity to find out their outside interests and skills so we could tap into to share their knowledge with other residents across the schemes. We produced a short questionnaire/audit to be completed when support was reviewed.

In what way has it improved outcomes/the service

Activities became more creative and tailored to individuals and schemes.  Clients used their expertise and interests to host activities, for example art classes, held Inter-Wii tournaments and arranged movie nights.  More external outings are arranged and increased partnership on projects such as reminiscence.

Art Movie

Clients’ wellbeing has improved reducing isolation felt. Schemes become much more vibrant and encouraged a real community. Clients have more choice and control in the activities that enhance enjoying and achieving outcome with an increase in range of activities.

We have built strong links with AgeUK and assisted them in recruiting volunteers as many of our residents expressed a wish to get involved with befriending and volunteering in their charity shops.

What changes did you have to make

Surprisingly not many…. A short team training session was held and scheme managers carried out the audit as part of support meetings.  This avoided staff feeling it was an additional task plus enabled us to monitor if the clients aspiration was met and link this to service outcomes. In addition we asked staff to ‘match’ each client to their chosen activity internally or signposting to external groups and activities in the local community such as leisure centres and other clubs and organisations.

Did you encounter any challenges/obstacles and how did you resolve them

Yes, some clients were reluctant to complete the audit testing the staff skills of engagement plus needing the resident to reach those that were already isolated such as those who remain in their flats and have little involvement in or around the scheme these are the ones we really want to focus on and this is ongoing.

We introduced an objective for each scheme manager to try to involve 10 older ‘non’ residents from their local community to join in activities as we are keen to create hubs within the community to benefit other older people who may be lonely and isolated with little or no support network.

Some residents did not like the idea of others coming into the scheme. To address this we asked staff to encourage residents to invite their friends and family such as siblings who often lived locally and were of similar age and interests and this has initially helped break down barriers. Residents realise that it has increased their peer group introduced others where friendships can form and has naturally evolved on some schemes. This has reassured residents that through a planned way this does not jeopardize their safety or security which was the main concern as it’s a managed approach and they are in control.

What are your tip tips

Make sure staff understand what and why you want to do this – give them all the information and get them on board first to realise the potential and difference it makes to the resident. You could get staff to complete the audit themselves and tap into their hidden talents and skills! You never know they may be able to run an art class or give a talk……

Involve residents fully. Make your resident associations aware of what you are doing and get their support. They will have a big influence on others in the scheme.

Keep the process simple and do not add to staff workload. Try to incorporate within their usual processes so make it timely!

Evidence – take lots of photo’s of activities and events. Record with their current support plans to feed into the outcomes for your service!

Money – see if you can tap into a small fund to help start it off  - often things are really cheap and a few cakes or a piece of equipment such a s Wii machine can make all the difference to its success to avoid it becoming a barrier. Part fund an activity so residents contribute but do not have the full cost to keep it affordable.

Good luck!

Name and email of a contact person: Robin Deane – Head of Area Services

01424 728200

Sharon Parker – Project Manager

01424 728081

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