Hannah Young started up charity business Therapy Box after noticing that many aged care facilities found it difficult to access quality activities for their residents.
After working as a diversional therapist in Australia, she returned to New Zealand to teach diversional therapy and noticed that many of the therapists and activities coordinators she taught were struggling to get their hands on games and activities to use for their residents.
Some facilities faced a lack of space, others lacked the budget, and others simply didn’t know where to turn to find fun and appropriate activities.
Hannah couldn’t find anything in the market that catered for this need, and so in 2015, with her own funding and a grant from Kiwibank, she created Therapy Box, a registered charity with three directors, including Hannah.
“At first we thought about setting up an online shop, but then one of our directors suggested we run it as a library, with facilities able to borrow activities instead,” she says.
It has proved to be a successful format, with rest homes and facilities able to borrow sports-type activities like golf, quoits, and even a gumboot-throwing game. There are cognitive activities, like board games and quizzes as well as a range of sensory games available for hire, including one that draws upon a men’s shed for inspiration, with wood chips, oil scents and so on.
Facilities join to become Therapy Box members. They can then select the activity they’d like to borrow and it is theirs for a month. They simply return it via courier at the end of the hire period.
Therapy Box is currently available to facilities in the North Island, however Hannah hopes to expand this across New Zealand in due course and get more members on board.
She’s also keen to keep building the bank of loan activities.
“I’d love to get some theme day kits so if residents have a Hawaiian day, or a ‘day at the races’ for example, they have everything they need.”
Hannah works part time in a health and safety positions for Bupa, which allows her to divide her time between her two jobs.
INsite readers can visit www.thetherapybox.org.nz