Published 16 December 2020

A dedicated support worker who used Yoga therapy  to help her colleagues during the pandemic has narrowly missed out on a national health award.

Fiona Baxter, senior support worker at Bruce Street Dumbarton Training Centre, was shortlisted as a finalist in the Scottish Health Awards Healthier Lifestyle category.

During the pandemic, Fiona recognised the need to support the wellbeing of her colleagues and held socially distanced yoga classes to reduce stress and improve their physical and mental health.  These sessions had a huge impact on her colleagues who found the classes to be a great benefit and  allowed them to unwind before finishing their shift and leave the stresses of the day behind. 

Fiona has also used her skills to help service users at the centre who suffer from anxiety and autism and have struggled through the health pandemic.  Sessions include breathing exercises, relaxation techniques and  yoga positions, and the popular weekly classes are now part of service users’ Care Plans.  

The benefit of these additional sessions on service users have been highlighted by both families and carers as improving  mental health and reducing stress which can help  de-escalate challenging behaviour and have a positive impact on their wellbeing at home.

The Scottish Health Awards recognise outstanding care and innovative practice by those working across NHS Scotland, partners in health and social care, voluntary organisations and more, to deliver high quality health and social care services in Scotland.

Fiona said: “I was delighted to be put forward for the award as I know there have been so many worthy people in our service who have also helped in the care and wellbeing of our residents. I decided I would like to learn yoga and I spent 18 months of my spare time training to become a qualified yoga teacher.

“Although I didn’t win,  I am very happy that my work was recognised at a national level.  I will continue with my yoga sessions which is having great benefits to both my colleagues and individuals who use the centre.   I would like to thank my colleagues who took the time to nominate me and show their appreciation in the session I deliver at work.”

Allan Macleod, Chair of West Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership, said:  “This is a great service Fiona is offering to service users which is clearly benefitting all who participate in the sessions.  I would like to congratulate Fiona on being nominated for such a high profile, prestigious national award which shows her commitment to the health and wellbeing of everyone at the centre is at the heart of everything she does.”

Marie McNair, Vice Chair of West Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership, said:  “We are committed to improving the health of all our staff and service users and I am grateful to Fiona who is willing to use her skills for the benefit of others.  Fiona has shown a great drive, passion and determination  in learning her new skill in her own time and it is right that she was nominated and shortlisted in these prestigious awards.”