Jill Fraser, CEO of Kissing it Better, explains how the charity came to design the new range of courses called ‘Creative Thoughtfulness in the Care of Others’.
We started Kissing it Better in 2009 as a way to share hundreds of simple ideas that make a world of difference to older people in hospitals, care homes and the community. First, we created a website to spread the KiB philosophy. But it wasn’t enough. Our mission was to change the way people in the UK thought about old age, so we needed to ‘up the energy’.
To bring our ideas to life, we created volunteering projects to give young people a way to use their talents to light up the day for older people. Everyone has a skill they can share: arts and crafts or music; reading poetry aloud; or giving a relaxing hand massage or manicure. Perhaps the greatest talent of all is being able to chat to people in a way that makes them feel special and truly cared for.
The difference these projects made to a hospital ward or care home lounge was instant and wonderful to see. Young people bring life and laughter and create an energetic connection to the outside world. We noticed that everyone benefits when the generations come together. Young people feel valued when they see the difference they can make. Older people feel valuable when they get the chance to tell their stories and pass on their experience. And healthcare staff feel uplifted, energised and more connected to the people they’re caring for.
NHS England agrees: “The beauty of the Kissing It Better model is that everyone involved benefits – the patients and their carers, the staff, those giving their time, the provider as a whole and the community.”
NHS leaders asked us how we could spread this multi-generational magic, so we created a range of courses to capture the KiB experience; all accredited and regulated by SfJ Awards, part of the Workforce Development Trust. There’s something for everyone: healthcare staff looking for challenging CPD courses; students in schools, colleges and universities; companies who want to boost their CSR profile; and individuals or families who want to make life better for older people. For more on the Creative Thoughtfulness courses, visit: https://kissingitbetter.co.uk/group-programmes/