Ways to Wellness: Creating Opportunities
Posted: Mon, 05 Jul 2021 15:38
Anita Powell, Volunteering & Community Coordinator at Style Acre shares their success of refreshing their Ways to Wellness programme with the introduction of Ways to Wellness Stars:
At Style Acre, we are in the business of caring, and we really care about the physical and mental health of every person we support, and all our employees and volunteers.
We support 280 adults with learning disabilities and autism in Oxfordshire. The past year has been especially tough for many people within our community, with isolation and changes to routine having a big effect on general health and happiness.
Our staff responded amazingly to lockdown after lockdown, coming up with a range of creative ideas to help people to stay connected, safe, and healthy. We knew that we needed to build on this to keep the momentum going and establish an ongoing focus on health and happiness, and decided that our Ways to Wellness programme, which started in 2018, needed a refresh and a boost. We successfully fundraised to enable us to do so.
Ways to Wellness Stars
Creating opportunities and involving the people we support in decision-making is absolutely key in everything we do at Style Acre.
We have so many inspiring people within our community, and we wanted to find a way to celebrate individuals' achievements and give people a role in shaping the programme. Our Ways to Wellness Stars were born!
The group (of 25+) meets monthly via Zoom. Each month we share stories and ideas, the group is asked their opinion on a few key points (with voting that is accessible to everyone regardless of communication needs), and everyone puts forward activity ideas for the following month's Activity Pack. We have green-fingered Stars who love to grow, Stars who walk, run, dance and cycle (not all at the same time!), culinary Stars who create delicious healthy meals, creative Stars who astound us with their art, and everything in between! You can read one of our Stars, Jessica's inspiring story here.
Grow, Move, Nourish and Connect
We have four Ways to Wellness categories, which all our activities fit into. These are simple to understand, and each has a colour and symbol to identify it too.
Grow is about learning skills to develop as a person, and enjoying therapeutic hobbies.
Move is about getting active through sports, dance and other activities.
Nourish is about caring for yourself and enjoying the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
Connect is about reaching out, giving back, and working together to build and maintain relationships.
These were put together with reference to the Five Ways to Wellbeing, adapted to engage with our specific community. We created a fun and accessible quiz to help people decide which category they most identify with and where they might like to do more.
Projects in Progress!
In addition to the general Ways to Wellness programme (with monthly themes, activity packs, zoom events, Stars meetings, and lots of sharing of photos on our internal comms platform), we are also working on various sub-projects, a few of them include:
- A Wellness Journal which we have designed and is being printed and given to all of our staff, volunteers and people we support
- Wild Acre – a project all about connecting with nature through looking after wildlife in your own garden/neighbourhood
- Project Carrot – all our houses and hubs have veg trugs, and we run competitions, provide info etc. to help people grow and eat their own produce
- Buddies – we have a growing number of volunteer buddies who have formed friendships with people we support via Zoom with a focus on wellness. Some people we support are also becoming buddies to young people through the KEEN buddying programme, which is very exciting!
- Mental Health First Aid Training – we will be training as many staff as possible as Mental Health First Aiders
More of our projects can be found here.
As restrictions ease, and our community cautiously begins to be able to do a little more, we are looking forward to helping each and every person we support to find what makes them feel happy and healthy – and then do more of it!