We are delighted to have hosted Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal at our official office opening giving her the opportunity to find out more about Occupational Therapy in the independent sector and promote awareness of Occupational Therapy. On her visit she met our some of our clients, commissioners, as well as a selection of our OTs and the office team.
Scroll through the pictures below to follow our Royal visitor's tour.
Ready and waiting... windows cleaned and car park swept!
Arrival imminent: The welcoming party line up
HRH The Princess Royal steps out to be greeted by the Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, Nigel Atkinson Esq. As the Monarch's personal representative in Hampshire the Lord-Lieutenant escorted Her Royal Highness on the visit.
First in the line up, The High Sheriff of Hampshire, Mark Thistlethwayte.
HRH The Princess Royal greets Councillor Wendy Makepeace-Browne, Chairman of Hart District Council.
HRH The Princess Royal greets Councillor Elaine Still, Chairman of Hampshire County Council with Consort and son Mr James Still.
With the introductions to the dignitaries done, the Lord-Lieutenant hands over to Nikki Thompson, Executive Director at The OT Practice, to be the host for the day.
Nikki introduces Giles Thompson, Managing Director at The OT Practice.
HRH The Princess Royal being welcomed by Nikki Thompson and Giles Thompson, owners of The OT Practice.
HRH The Princess Royal greets Dr Patricia McClure, Chair, Royal College of Occupational Therapists
HRH The Princess Royal greets Miss Julia Scott, Chief Executive, Royal College of Occupational Therapists
And so the tour begins...
Anticipation builds as Her Royal Highness makes her way up the stairs!
Nikki explains about the work we do at The OT Practice and the role of independent practice within the profession of Occupational Therapy.
We had over 50 of our OTs from across the UK attend, providing a fantastic opportunity to network with our office based team, commissioners and clients alongside HRH The Princess Royal.
Time for a cuppa... hold on, my sweeteners are here somewhere.
HRH The Princess Royal seemed pleased with her personalised OT Practice mug. So much so she took it home with her!
Victoria, our Clinical Services Manager for adult clients, introduces Her Royal Highness to some OT Practice Occupational Therapists.
Greg, one of our OTs, explains his journey into private practice.
Her Royal Highness had a wonderful ability to connect with and put at ease everyone she met.
Some of the team had the opportunity to share their experiences of working in Occupational Therapy as an independent practitioner with Her Royal Highness.
HRH The Princess Royal was introduced by Fiona, our Account Manager at The OT Practice, to representatives from SSAFA, The RAF Benevolent Fund and The Royal British Legion, some of the military charities we work most closely with.
Her Royal Highness is presented to Sebastian Hargreaves, Head of Welfare & Volunteer Services from SSAFA. In a statement following the event Sebastian remarks: "Her Royal Highness' presence at this event today underpins what we already know about the professionalism and quality of The OT Practice. We use the team for our OT assessments and the process we have in place with them is seamless."
Her Royal Highness is presented to Edward Robinson, Grants Manager at The Royal British Legion. During his meeting with HRH Edward remarked: "It's wonderful that The OT Practice is receiving such well deserved recognition for their work."
Her Royal Highness is presented to Karen Hicks, Welfare Executive at the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund. Karen commented "This visit by Her Royal Highness demonstrates that we've made the right choice of partner in The OT Practice. Working with them, we aren't just meeting the needs of our beneficiaries, we're doing so much more to improve their respite, care and lives."
Her Royal Highness met commissioners from NHS and Local Authority partners including Bracknell Forest Council, Isle of Wight Council and Surrey NHS Trust. Gavin Austin, Assistant Community Services Manager of Bracknell Forest Council said to HRH: "We've worked with The OT Practice for almost a decade now. They are the oil in our engine; filling any gaps in what we can't offer specifically in the specialist areas of dementia care and home adaptations. Knowing they are there to step in whenever we need them is hugely reassuring."
“Our collaboration with The OT Practice is a win-win situation all round,” said Sandra Pycock, Children's Service Manager at Central Surrey Health. “Without their particular paediatric expertise, positive approach and network of specialist OT's, we wouldn't be able to keep pace with the demand on our services. Our children are seen and supported sooner, preventing the emergence or growth of more needs. As a result, the children remain in mainstream education – something both they and their parents highly value.”
Roger Merry attended in a shared capacity representing not only the the Isle of Wight Council, but also representing the RAF as Chairman of 72 Squadron Association. Roger very kindly presented The OT Practice with a limited edition print of Spitfires signed by two original Spitfire pilots, which will take pride of place next to the office team responsible for looking after our RAF veterans.
A significant number of the referrals coming to The OT Practice are from case managers. Chris Bartlett, Communications Director of CMS UK, the case managers association in the UK, explains to Her Royal Highness the importance of occupational therapy as part of the rehabilitation journey their clients often face.
HCML is one of The OT Practice's longest standing case management clients and was well represented on the day by Ian Walters, Ben Dawson and Laura Payne who were able to give first hand accounts explaining case management and how they work with independent Occupational Therapists to support their clients.
Also representing our case management clients was Yvonne Spijkerman from Circle Case Management, also an Occupational Therapist, who was well positioned to explain to Her Royal Highness the synergies between the worlds of case management and occupational therapy.
Her Royal Highness had the opportunity to meet some of the clients we have treated over the years together with the OTs that worked with them.
HRH The Princess Royal was introduced by Sarah, our Clinical Services Manager for Paediatrics, to a few of our clients.
Her Royal Highness was presented to Catrin Pugh who received hand therapy by Nicola from The OT Practice, following an accident that left her with 96% burns. Catrin is an inspiring advocate for OT, which has been a integral part of her rehabilitation. We recently featured Catrin in our video series 'A New Normal' where she shares her experience of working with an occupational therapist. You may also recognise Catrin from recent news articles promoting her as the face of Avon's Perfect Nudes beauty range!
Grace McGowan spoke of the difference that The OT Practice had on her life after a serious road traffic accident resulted in paralysis from her chest down. Her Royal Highness and Grace enjoyed a lengthy discussion around the importance of making tea!
William, age 10, is one of our longest standing clients and first came to us when he was 5 years old. Together with his mum Victoria and their OT Jane, they talked to Her Royal Highness about the evolving role that occupational therapy has and will continue to play in his life. Victoria said: "The input of William's OT, Jane, is invaluable. She has organised, and continues to organise, everything for him… as he grows, she grows with him, meeting his changing needs."
Alex Lewis from The Alex Lewis Trust was presented to Her Royal Highness in his capacity as Brand Ambassador for The OT Practice.
Alex, having experienced personal challenges as a quadruple amputee, became a strong advocate for independent occupational therapy and it's benefits, in particular the innovative use of technology. Alex explained to Her Royal Highness how he is supporting research and development to advance chip technology that enables independence.
Her Royal Highness is presented to some of The OT Practice office team.
Next up were speeches from Nikki, Her Royal Highness and the Chair of The Royal College of Occupational Therapists. The Princess Royal said in her speech: "Thank you very much for inviting me down here today to see the progress that has been made at The OT Practice and the extremely nice new facilities. It shows a considerable degree of confidence and investment in OTs, not just as a business, but also in terms of the quality service you provide in that you are expanding and people recognise what you do and how well you do it."
Signing our (nice new) visitors book!
HRH The Princess Royal was presented with a posy of flowers by William. He commented that he very much enjoyed presenting the flowers to Her Royal Highness and was excited at the prospect of being "famous in school because of this!"
As Her Royal Highness departed, following the formality of the official visit, Nikki had the opportunity of a more informal conversation. It hadn't escaped The Princess Royal that it was International Women's Day and she talk with Nikki about the challenges of balancing work and home life.
Flowers in hand, HRH The Princess Royal makes her departure.
...and breath... After HRH departure and a very successful visit there was a collective sigh of relief and everyone was ready for lunch!
Catrin and Nicola getting some catch up time.
A well earned day off school for William who delighted everyone he met.
A big thank you to Alex and his team for all of their support.
The OT Practice would like to also thank the dignitaries who attended to mark the occasion.