Nona Hoyle is our fabulous activities coordinator at Amesbury Abbey, a firm favourite with all our residents.
A senior carer from 2005 until 2014, Nona always loved helping organise activities for the nursing home and, in 2015, she started dividing her role between care duties in the mornings and coordinating activities in the afternoons.
Eventually, Nona decided to follow her heart and devote all her time to the role of activities coordinator and has played a vital role in shaping the lives of our Abbey residents ever since.
Nona’s calendar of activities has become an essential accessory for many, and they carry her weekly planner with them wherever they go.
The activities she plans help with both mental health and physical wellbeing – and, perhaps most importantly, the residents absolutely love them!
Here, Nona gives us an insight into her life as the Amesbury Abbey Activities Coordinator.
“My job is very rewarding. I love entertaining people, and I’m also quite artistic. I love crafts, and tend to bring that into many of the the acitivites I organise.
“What’s lovely is when I receive feedback from the residents, because it lets me know that they really and truly enjoy the activities, that just makes me want to do more!
“I’m very motivated, often working 42.5 hours every week, from 8am until 5pm. In this time I like to arrange two main group activities each day and in between, I do preparation for each activity. I like to organise my regular activities weekly and prepare a planner for the residents, which I discuss with them when it is distributed.
“They look forward to seeing what’s on there each week. It’s become part of their day-to-day lives here at the Abbey.
“I also post the weekly activities in all the lifts and on the notice boards in the corridors, so the staff know what is going on. I coordinate with the manager, nurses, carers, chefs, waitresses, receptionist, handyman…in other words almost with all the staff every day and on special activity days.
“For big events, I organise and plan ahead of time – maybe a month or more before the date.
“Regular activities include a weekly coffee and sherry morning, light seated exercises and ball routines, bingo, film afternoons, walks, singalongs, dominoes, Scrabble, and other board games.
“Every other week I do a round of Namaste care, a pamper morning with hand massage, manicure etc, flower arranging, arts and crafts, quizzes, gardening, and a lot more.
“Once a month, we attend a church service and there are regular plans to play skittles and bowls, go on day trips to garden centres or gardens, and visit the shops.
“When the weather is fine, we have lawn games like croquet or clock golf and hook the duck.
“The residents always love it when we have music and entertainment – we have performers and singers coming in to visit – and bakery and yoga are also popular.
“We celebrate residents’ birthdays and anniversaries, and I also organise special themed events such as fine dining evenings for occasions like Burns Night, Valentine’s Day, St Patrick’s Day and Chinese New Year.
“We have animal therapy with farm visits, and we also do fundraising for charities with events like the Macmillan Coffee Morning for Macmillan Cancer Research, and white elephant stalls for Ukraine refugees and Cat Watch.
“It’s a busy life and I love it!”