Caring colleagues from Mill House in Chipping Campden were celebrating success after winning one of three awards presented at The Meaningful Activity and Wellbeing Conference on the 30th September 2019, at the Pavilion, Cheltenham for their Community Club.
Gloucestershire’s Care home Support Team and Meaningful Activity & Wellbeing Network hosted this year’s Annual Activity Awards. Members of the public, residents, relatives and colleagues were invited to nominate activities colleagues, activity projects or how their care homes/services connect with the wider community.
Winner of the ‘Innovative project supporting Meaningful Activity and Wellbeing’ Award and runner up in the ‘Inspirational member of staff supporting Meaningful Activity and Wellbeing’, Health and Wellbeing Lead, Paul Dixon at Mill House was nominated by colleagues, residents and relatives.
What’s fascinating about Paul is that he is new to his career in social care and has only been providing activities for residents at Mill House for less than two years. But, in that time he has improved the quality of life for residents, helped them regain valuable skills, confidence and created a culture within the home that positively embraces every opportunity to engage in meaningful activities and interactions tailored to suit every residents, interests, aspirations and abilities. Paul is one of many colleagues who has benefited within the home from Caring Homes’ award-winning dementia training, ‘Living in My World’, which helps give an insight for colleagues on how people living with dementia experience life. This training has helped Paul and the team at Mill House develop every aspect of care to ensure it is truly person-centred and achieves meaningful, positive outcomes for resident.
Those nominating Paul said, “Imagine you were a school dinner lady, and then imagine Paul is your activities coordinator.
“What does he do? He arranges for you to go back into the school in the community, not as a one-off but go back to ‘work’ at the canteen as frequently as you feel able.
“Imagine you previously hosted charity events and thought they were your biggest achievements, what does Paul do? He arranges for you to work at a local hotel, you arrange the guest list, send out invites, run the evening, selling raffle tickets, collecting monies etc. How proud would you feel of what you had achieved?”
Mill House residents don’t need to imagine, because these are just a couple of person-centred and inspiring activities that Paul arranges as part of the home’s community programme.
Paul spends time motivating and assuring the residents that the activities will be safe and the trust they have in him is outstanding. Importantly what he does is NOT a one off, he motivates and inspires residents to believe they can continue to achieve absolutely anything, and to continue to believe in themselves.
Paul’s positive effect radiates through the home and his community, he has arranged for Mill House to be the only care home to be associated with the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, meaning that at any one time the home can be visited by up to six 15-16 year old’s who are not just volunteering but are gaining their Duke of Edinburgh Award. This again is part of Mill House’s community program.
Paul adapts activities to individuals needs and lifestyles are enhanced through his gardening club. Paul actually hosts three, one for residents who can actively garden outdoors, one for those who struggle and so named ‘The armchair gardening club’ based around a big table, and one called ‘In room gardening club’ for those unable to leave their rooms where one to one projects such as hanging baskets can be enjoyed.
Another part of Paul’s community work, that was felt to be outstanding, and the winning project, was his new Community Day Care Club. Paul has worked with the local community (Charities) and has single handily put together a day care club, enabling members of the community to join him at Mill House, every month he hosts this community day care club offering lunch, drinks, nursing care activities, music etc. Paul does this as he is passionate about giving back and giving people who are 24-hour Carers at home a little break.
Mill House and Paul are passionate about fighting isolation and loneliness and have created a buddy scheme, whereby some residents make welcome cards for ‘newbies’, whilst others join them for lunch, and arrange trips to town ensuring that the welcome is there from day one, which makes settling in stress free and allows new friendships to blossom.
Those nominating Paul shared that his Community club is reaching and bringing together many organisations including schools, local businesses, charities and the elderly and vulnerable in a hugely positive way.
Winner of the’ Connecting to the Wider Community’ Award was Jenny Spencer Health and Wellbeing Lead at sister home in Cheltenham, Whittington House.
Winners of The Meaningful Activity and Wellbeing Awards will go forward to the upcoming Gloucestershire Care Providers Association Awards on the 10th October 2019.