06 Nov 2014
My toes have hardly stopped tapping since our Strictly Dancing final – and what a fantastic event it was!
Our winning couples of customer Roger Edwards and care assistant Minnie McAndrew from Larchfield care home in Leeds and Arnold and Alacia Elliot from Sandyford Park in Newcastle took to the dance floor at the Rivoli Ballroom in London and put on a glittering display.
The quality of the competition was such that my fellow judges Angela Rippon and Contact The Elderly Executive Officer Cliff Rich were certainly kept on their toes in choosing winners.
We made BBC London TV news that evening as well as generating fantastic regional articles.
As the Anchor Community Band showed last year, there's something about music that unites people. London and East Regional Operations Director Trevor West told me about a resident who had been reluctant to come out of his room but since the regional finals held at the home he’s been excited by the event and is asking when he can join in the dancing again.
Opportunities like this for people to be active, have fun and make friends is what happy living is all about in our housing and care homes. It's clear that, as government funding is stretched tighter, more and more of our housing customers will have higher needs in the future. Ensuring we are prepared for that change will be crucial.
A special thanks from me to colleagues for making it such a great success.
Using technology in new ways is a key part of how we're evolving as an organisation. And there was a live link-up with the final from a workshop for North West & Yorkshire care managers and activity coordinators in Huddersfield. I’m told there was real energy from the event with colleagues going away fizzing with ideas they could put into practice in their homes.
Colleagues have recently been completing a survey about their workwear, to help shape how we develop the range. After the Strictly Dancing event, perhaps we need a few sequinned numbers!