“The Zest team is so fantastic. They all have a great passion and drive to keep developing the service and that energy makes you want to be a part of Zest,” explained Jodie Horwood, who works as an activities coordinator at Zest.
“There is nothing else quite like Zest and we have young adults and their families coming from quite far away to use our services which speaks volumes for the impact and importance of Zest. Led by Helen Finlinson, the whole team are united by the aim of ensuring the young adults have independence and enjoy the quality of life they deserve.”
Established by St Elizabeth Hospice in 2015, Zest is a scheme which sees the independent Suffolk charity work closely with children’s hospices to ensure young adults have a smooth transition into adult care.
Supporting young adults aged 14 and upwards with progressive and life-limiting illnesses, Zest ensures all the young people, under its care, receive specialist support, tailored treatment and services needed to be able to enjoy life to the full.
Having studied in design management, Jodie has worked with a number of charities, residential care homes and schools in her career, teaching art and design as well as creating engaging activities for users to enjoy.
In June 2021, she joined Zest as a member of the bank staff and provided support to the Zest team by creating and delivering a range of activities for the young adults to participate in, before joining the Zest team permanently in October 2021.
“I have always enjoyed working with people, especially young people, and constantly looking at new ways I can develop activities to help them to achieve their goals is where my passion lies,” said Jodie, who lives near Woodbridge with her husband, two children and their dog Aubameyang.
“Working with young people, like the Zest young adults, is so rewarding to me. Seeing their excitement and how much they are engaged by what they are doing really puts a smile on my face.”
From its industry unique Short Breaks, which allows young people to take time out from their daily routine, through to its parent support group and monthly X-Change evening social group for patients, Zest enables young adults with challenging conditions to fulfil their aspirations. Whether this is to manage symptoms, access opportunities in the community or reduce loneliness by enabling them to have fun with friends.
Through her role, Jodie works for Zest Days, X-Change evenings and Saturday Family Drop-ins. This sees her creating ideas for activities and sourcing equipment to bring them to life. From autumn leaf cookie workshops and Olympic, Paralympic events through to model boat building and racing, Jodie’s role means she is constantly thinking of new and exciting ideas for the young adults to enjoy.
Jodie said: “I really enjoy when an idea comes to life and seeing the impact it can have on young adults and their families. Each week brings a new challenge but also the opportunity for a new idea to solve this challenge.
“That’s the beauty of Zest, the team are so accommodating and keen to continue developing the whole service to meet the demands of the young adults who are supported by Zest.
“There’s a real ethos of co-production with the young adults and their families as they help us shape our support to best meet their needs. I am so excited about what the future holds for Zest and pleased to join the team and be a part of this journey.”
To find out further about Zest visit www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk/about-us/about-us/zest.