National roll-out of the scheme, which aims to bring a regular, rich programme of outings to care homes is planned for April.
The service, which will operate 110 minibuses by summer 2018, will offer up to six trips per month at a flat fee of less than half the cost of running and staffing a dedicated minibus.
Ben Allen, Oomph! founder and CEO, said: “We know that keeping care home residents connected to their local communities is vital to their wellbeing, but funding this is a real issue for the industry. We believe we have created a model that can revolutionise out of home activity provision for our partners and make it possible for any care home across the country to have access to a fantastic programme of meaningful trips.”
Trips will be led by a trained Oomph! representative who will drive the bus, support staff in transporting residents and create the trademark Oomph! party atmosphere.
Outings are agreed with individual homes and personalised to reflect the interests and needs of residents, as well as staffing ratios.
Destinations on the pilot include Brooklands motorsport and aviation museum, Kew Gardens, Grayshott Pottery and the Lightbox Gallery.
Oomph! was prompted to launch the initiative following research showing there were significant barriers to offering trips outside the home.
Aside from the obvious costs of owning or leasing and staffing a minibus, the service offers training and support in organising and preparing an excursion, finding the right location, trip activities and combating residents’ fears of leaving the safety of their care home.
Carol Kirby, home manager Cossins House, said: “We’ve wanted to have a bus for such a long time so the staff and residents at Cossins House are delighted to have this service. Now that we are going out on regular trips the residents can’t stop talking about them and Oomph! are great to work with.“
The success of the service will be tracked using a dedicated app which records attendance, engagement and feedback.
“A wonderful day”
Ninety-four year old ex Autocar journalist Martin was amongst those along for the ride in a recent trip to Brooklands motoring and aviation museum.
Martin said: “Motoring and writing about cars has been my life and I think the highlight of my visit to Brooklands has to be the huge Napier racing car. It’s unlike anything you see today. It’s built like a locomotive. It was a wonderful day.”
The experience has inspired Martin to take up his pen again and write a series of articles about the visit.