EXCLUSIVE: Get on board the Oomph! bus

Care Home Professional joined the great and the good of the care world to get a taste of a new national programme designed to enhance the health and well-being of care home residents.

Martin Green, CEO of Care England, Avnish Goyal, CEO of Hallmark Homes, Christine Asbury, CEO of WCS Care and Vic Rayner, executive director of the National Care Forum, attended the Out & About Oomph! showcase at Kew Gardens.

Oomph! CEO and founder Ben Allen said: “Care home owners have told me of their dismay for residents who’ve not been outside for months. We just can’t accept that so many vulnerable people are stuck indoors due to funding cuts and financial pressures.

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“The Out & About model takes the expense and hassle of excursion planning and transport purchase, leasing and away from care providers.

“We are effectively helping individual homes and groups in an area to club together to make day trips affordable for all whilst each still gets exclusive use of the service for their service users. Connecting with meaningful places, passions and communities must not become a luxury for a minority.”

Around 60 homes, including those of Hallmark Homes and WCS Care, are on board for the spring roll-out of the programme in the West Midlands, the north west, South Wales and the north east following a successful pilot at six homes in Surrey.

A huge variety of trips will be offered on a bespoke package to suit the interests and needs of each home.

Oomph! is aiming to grow a fleet of 80 buses to service homes by the end of the year.

By 2020 it is targeting at fleet of 300 buses running 500,000 journeys at homes across the country.

The social enterprise is hiring 15 people over the first few weeks of the programme and has ambitious plans to ramp up staffing levels to around 180 by spring next year.

Christine Asbury said: “Residents should do what they’ve always done – as well as try new opportunities – 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 more trips that are tailored to people’s individual needs.”

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