The social venture running care home exercise classes with a difference

Mobi-Game offers care home based exercise classes with a difference. They specialise in running adapted team games, based on familiar sports which residents have played or watched in the past. They use a developmental approach, which is focused on enabling everyone to extend their skills and range of movement from their individual baseline, over time.

The sessions use a mix of photos and props to stimulate reminiscence and modified team games.  It’s fun, interactive, competitive and inclusive. Where else would you see an elderly lady of 109 playing dodgeball with her great-grandchildren in her care home?

Co-founder, Rob Oyston came up with the concept of Mobi-Game after a period of significant illness.  A trained PE teacher and keen footballer, Rob found himself unable to participate in sports in the same way when he recovered.  It got him thinking about how to make sports accessible to older people, and others with restricted mobility or health conditions: “Life throws many unexpected challenges our way, and I feel it’s important to stay positive and focus on what we can do. Mobi-Game allows an opportunity for all people to get active and play adapted versions of games like football, tennis & netball! Our training programme empowers carers to deliver and residents to enjoy special activities.”

Mobi-Game has been extremely popular with residents and staff alike, care staff talk about improvements in the physical wellbeing and enhanced mood of their clients following the sessions.  Hallmark Care’s Activity Leader, Sheila says “Mobi-Game activity sessions bring a smile to the residents faces and are a massive boost to their health and wellbeing!”

Image of man in a blue tshirt at a care home throwing a blurred rugby ball

The social nature of the sessions leads to an increase in interaction and communication between residents, and between residents and staff. Every resident has a progress booklet with pictures and details of activities which they have taken part in.  This keepsake booklet tracks there progress and is a talking point with visitors.

As a result of this winning game plan, Mobi-Game was being delivered in over 40 care homes across Wales and parts of England before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. They were on target to impact 5,200 older people by the end of 2021/22, but sadly for them and their clients, all activity had to pause with the UK-wide lockdown over the spring and early summer.

Rob and co-founder Alex Lock knew that a change of tactic was required.  They are passionate about maintaining and improving activity levels in older generations and knew that little and often would make a big difference. They worked hard to pivot their model so that older people both in care homes and self-isolating in the community could access daily sessions, live-screened for free, through Facebook. 

They also developed a digitally delivered training and support package aimed at care home providers to enable them to deliver the sessions directly in their settings, helping to improve their residents’ health, resilience and morale now that the first wave has passed.

The training offer includes an intensive coaching and post-training support package for staff to ensure that they are completely confident in delivering the sessions, whenever they wish.  The advantages in whole care groups training staff, who work in different locations together are multiple: they can run inter care home tournaments and competitions virtually, increasing the engagement and enjoyment of the sessions for participants; and it offers a Covid-safe way for care homes to maintain the physical health and wellbeing of their residents, which is not reliant upon external facilitators coming in to deliver. 

He has recently secured the first Care Home Group Contract with Hallmark Care Homes to deliver the new training and support model.  This will empower 50 members of staff across 17 homes to impact over 350 residents across UK.

April Dobson, Head of Relationship Centred Care at Hallmark Care said, “Hallmark care homes is delighted to be working in partnership with Mobi-Game.  This is a completely different way of ensuring that everyone who lives in one of our communities has an opportunity to engage in physical activity in a fun way which has an enormous impact on both physical and emotional wellbeing.” 

Rob applied to the Thrive: Solutions for an Ageing Society programme initially to help him scale Mobi-Game by embedding their original face-to-face, training and support model and increasing the numbers of older people benefiting from it. 

As a result of his own tenacity, creativity and hard work, and the support provided by Thrive, he is once again on track to achieve this and pre-Covid growth and impact targets.  Speaking about the support he received, Rob said, “The Thrive programme has provided me with the perfect balance of community, guidance, mentoring, specialist training, professional support and funding. For those reasons alone I couldn’t recommend the Thrive programme enough, but on top of this they have provided me with top level contacts within my sector. Ultimately, during a pretty dismal time during the Covid-19 pandemic, UnLtd provided us with enough support and guidance to keep us going, which in turn gave us the opportunity to pivot our model.”

 

For more information, please contact Rob Oyston, Co-founder & Managing Director of Mobi-Game,  Tel: 07863183496

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