You will always find activities at the heart of what we do but our activity provision has evolved and moved on, leaving the term ‘Activity Co-ordinator’ somewhat outdated. Let’s look behind the scenes and gain a glimpse at some of the underlying work our newly named ‘Engagement Support Workers’ undertake…

Trust is at the heart of everything we do, trust that we’re offering something the resident will enjoy, that it’s not going to be more than they can manage, that they will be safe when undertaking the activity. Trust only grows on firm foundations and each member of the team takes time to get to know residents for the individuals they are. This is where our ‘flat focused’ activity provision comes into its own as each month our Engagement Support Workers are based within specific flats, focusing their time on engaging with those residents, getting to know them, providing positive engagement opportunities and opportunities for friendship and trust to grow. With the change of each month, the ESWs move round to work within their next flat and over time the team are able to establish well grounded relationships with all of the residents within the Home.

The knowledge team members gain from their flat-focused work informs and enhances the group activities and outings we undertake, influencing everything from the content and destination, through to resident friendship pairings and the number of staff involved. Many of the opportunities we provide stem from conversations with individual residents, and many are direct resident requests.

Where there is a health enhancement opportunity, such as encouraging exercise, staff offer opportunities which are appropriate to each individual. Some residents may enjoy taking part in one of the many organised ‘Feel Good Club’ group exercise activities, but for others it may be more appropriate to suggest a more informal manner of exercise, such as a game of pool which incorporates a gentle walk to the games room. Both activities require concentration, hand-to-eye co-ordination, body movement with some element of physical exertion and both will leave residents with that lovely, post-exercise glow and a sense of achievement. All exercise opportunities qualify for inclusion in the ‘Move More Awards’ programme which enables participating residents to log their exercise and work towards achieving monthly rewards.

Our engagement support work goes deeper than simply tailoring activities to each individual’s needs and enabling them to get the most from each opportunity. Through our ‘Empowering People’ initiative we provide opportunities for residents to step up further and take on a level of responsibility, all with a view to enhancing the individual’s life skills and fostering confidence in their own abilities. The opportunities on offer to residents through ‘Empowering People’ are endless, it may be volunteering within the café as a barista, providing logistical support by walking into the village to collect the daily newspapers, taking on the weekly watering of houseplants within communal areas, or it could be more person centered such as preparing a meal from scratch, money management, or negotiating public transport effectively. ‘Empowering People’ is open to all residents, enabling those who are with us for a short time to demonstrate their readiness to return to independent community living, whilst ensuring longer term residents maintain their life skills and live as independently as possible within the Home.

Ultimately, the aim of each Engagement Support Worker is to enhance residents’ belief in themselves and what they can achieve, activity provision is simply the tool used to achieve this. We work closely with care support to ensure every resident has opportunity to get the most from their every day and we hope you agree that our new name, the ‘Engagement Support Team’ reflects this aim.