In Your Shoes - Lynn WarrenAll members Next: Brian Horisk
Lynn Warren is the owner and founder of Better:Gen, an award-winning company which seeks to address health inequality by offering market-leading health and wellness activities for adults with additional needs as well as pioneering work in intergenerational activities and has developed a highly specialised fitness program. A trained mental health nurse Lynn has worked in dementia care for most of her adult life from an untrained support worker to eventually managing an NHS day hospital unit. For reasons known best to herself, she decided at age 41 that having 4 young children and a successful NHS career was the perfect time to embark on a dream of starting her own company.
MondayMonday 28 January 2019
The day started with strong coffee and stronger antibiotics, a bout of pneumonia had swallowed too much of January already so lots and lots to catch up on. One of the drawbacks of entrepreneurship being when you go sick, everything stops and as soon as there’s light at the end of the tunnel you’re back at it. So, Monday was the usual morning chaos of getting 4 kids ready for school and nursery and everybody out the door before I go to work. Monday for me is predominantly an outreach day. I visited three care homes and sheltered housing services today and took the opportunity to meet with Better:Gen’s Angus team (Mark) for a brief catch up over lunchtime.
Later that day I was back at the centre with a lady embarking on 1-1 training on only her second session – If you’re reading this, you were fab.
Mondays will shortly be the second of our weekly intergenerational sessions with children from a Broughty Ferry Nursery meeting with residents of a Lochee nursing home at our centre so of course any spare time is spent prepping for that, intergenerational sessions are a real passion of mine and so rewarding, but of course they have to be structured and organised so the members are simply enjoying it without seeing the joins. They need to see the swan, not the legs paddling furiously below it.
TuesdayTuesday 29 January 2019
Better:Gen completed the Coca Cola 5by20 program in 2017 and as such we regularly meet up for network meetings so this morning was a great opportunity to catch up with (the brilliant) Angie Foreman and the Coca Cola girls; all female entrepreneurs at various stages of their business journey. Once the coffee and blethers were finished it was a mad dash back to the centre, via Asda, for the Better:Taygether singing group. Very proud of this as a truly inclusive singing group. Regardless of any musical ability, lack thereof, emotional, physical or learning difficulties everybody is welcome to attend and sing along. Thanks always go to Ed (facethemusic), our music therapist.
Following an afternoon of coffee, cakes and singing it was time to get my game face back on for our Better:Kids session. These are always fun sessions where we encourage communication and problem solving by undertaking physical activities. Watching a gang of children working together to figure out how to safely move objects, or how to cross an obstacle course is inspiring. Everybody involved, nobody left behind. This session more than perhaps any others demonstrates our positive risk-taking approach, we want to challenge these children but safety is of paramount importance. Of course it would be easier to just let them run around in a safe environment to burn off energy, but at the core of what we do is that we always strive for better.
Finally, the day ended with a 1-1 session with a young mum who brought her wee toddler with her. Better:Gen is a real-world company and believes in no barriers to health and wellness, we can always adapt to change and therefore managed to tailor a session that suited them both.
WednesdayWednesday 30 January 2019
This morning was due to be our second Intergenerational session of the week; these are structured by nursery aged children attending for a session prior to the older members arriving. Sadly today the session was curtailed by a short notice cancellation, but as ever we march forward and make the best of things, life as an entrepreneur was never advertised as smooth sailing. The children enjoyed the obstacle course with nursery rhymes movements regardless. Following this I had two further 1-1 sessions with ladies on their 3rd blocks each. Both working hard and well on their way to smashing their wellness goals.
The afternoon I met with Elaine Cox of Dundee City Council E-Zone. Elaine has been aware of Better:Gen and my journey since day one when I approached her 2 years ago with an idea for a part time hobby business called Betterlife Fitness. Better LTD – the parent company of Better:Gen have some really exciting plans for 2019.
ThursdayThursday 31 January 2019
Very exciting day today and the kind of day that 2 years ago I could not have believed would be part of my normal working day. I am working in conjunction with both Stirling University and Heriot Watt university to develop technical equipment specifically designed to be used with adults with additional needs. Stirling University being home to the Dementia Services Development Centre and Heriot Watt has the robotic living lab where they develop and test innovative ICT Robotic solutions for healthy ageing and assisted living and bouncing between the two is Better:Gen. In a nutshell I am working with the brightest minds in Scotland to develop highly specialist equipment (Codename BoB) to improve the health and wellness of both the aging population and to anybody with additional physical needs. It’s even funny typing this as I still struggle to believe it. I am unable to explain much more than this at this time but it’s ridiculously exciting and I feel so privileged to be working with them. Needless to say I came back absolutely buzzing with ideas and talking the ears off anybody who would listen about plans for developing my service. This was the first time I’ve had face to face contact with the guys from Heriot Watt as all our communications thus far has been through email and telephone but being in a room bouncing ideas off each other is the best way to generate ideas by far.
Honestly I could have stayed there all day but the show must go on and I had outreaches and sessions to host. A brilliant session at one of my oldest clients and then a frankly, much rowdier session back at the centre ending with a tug of war.
FridayFriday 01 February 2019
Friday is always a loud day. Have you ever seen boxing combined with dancing? Well somehow it worked, the guys picked their own music and elected to train to Tom Jones (despite my objections). It’s always noisy, usually chaotic and a real high point to my week, a brilliant session, but that’s not unusual ???? We took the opportunity to organise our second disco/karaoke night, making the most of the dark nights.
The afternoon was again a new challenge as myself and hubby were off to Perth to a meeting with Balhousie Care Group head office; I had been invited to discuss the Better:Gen program. I was made to feel so welcome and there was a real buzz of interest in my program and the impact it has had on the clients who have undertaken it. I’ve now been invited to meet with their dementia ambassadors in March to discuss bringing Better:Gen into their Scotland wide range of care homes. Once again I came out bouncing with excitement only to find my husband not at the prearranged meeting point which was the Costa coffee next door, in fact he was wandering around the Porsche garage two doors down. Not sure quite what he thought the outcome of this meeting would be, but thankfully he hadn’t signed anything.