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Royal Recognition

The OT Practice recently welcomed Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal to mark the official opening of their new Head Office.

The OT Practice, established in 2010, is a leading provider of occupational therapy services for the military charity community. They serve military personnel and veterans, as well as their children and spouses, through their partnerships with The Royal British Legion, The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, SSAFA and The Royal Marines Association.

Many military charities in the UK enjoy a long and rich history of Royal support, as does The Royal College of Occupational Therapists – of which HRH The Princess Royal has been patron for over 30 years. This particular visit, however, represents a first-of-its-kind for the occupational therapy sector, as HRH The Princess Royal has never previously visited an independent occupational therapy practice.

“All at The OT Practice are delighted and honoured to welcome Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal to our new Head Office and share with her examples of our work and partnerships, as well as our vision for the future of occupational therapy,” said Nikki Thompson, Founder and Executive Director of The OT Practice. “We wished to showcase to Her Royal Highness the entrepreneurial spirit, passion and integrity that is so prevalent throughout our work – and there are few examples better than the work we carry out with our military partners.”

Among other guests and dignitaries, The OT Practice welcomed Sebastian Hargreaves, Head of Welfare & Volunteer Services at SSAFA, Karen Hicks, Welfare Executive at the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, and Edward Robinson, Grants Manager at The Royal British Legion. Each of them were introduced to Her Royal Highness and enjoyed the opportunity to share their organisation’s services, the ever-changing landscape of their sector, and the positive impact that working in partnership with The OT Practice has made to the lives of their beneficiaries.

“It’s wonderful that The OT Practice is receiving such well-deserved recognition for their work,” commented Edward Robinson, Grants Manager at The Royal British Legion. “Their holistic approach, expertise and fantastic service set them apart. Quite simply, we don’t believe that our beneficiaries would get as great a quality of welfare from any other provider.”

Edward’s comments were supported by Karen Hicks, Welfare Executive at the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, who said “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.”

Services and support needed by military charity beneficiaries are at an all-time high, while the cases being presented are also increasingly complex. With statutory service budgets already stretched, eligibility criteria has been tightened, placing an increased pressure on the support available to military personnel, veterans and their families. Partnering with The OT Practice has helped organisations reduce such pressure, widening the choice of support available to each beneficiary and markedly improving the timescales in which they receive it.

“We offer a nationwide service, covering 91 branches and 400 divisions. In the last year, we have supported over 35,000 people, dispersing £14 million worth of grants,” remarked Sebastian Hargreaves. “We have a duty of care to support our beneficiaries in the right way and The OT Practice’s nationwide network delivers this consistent level of service to our beneficiaries. The quality of their assessments ensures delivery of the right equipment and support to meet their individual needs – without them and the seamless service they provide, this wouldn’t be possible. Her Royal Highness’s presence at this event today therefore underpins what we already know about the professionalism and quality of The OT Practice.”

With a nationwide network of over 250 occupational therapists, The OT Practice has been offering a series of specialist OT services for almost a decade. Backed by a fully supportive infrastructure, their therapists are empowered to continue approaching every case proactively and innovatively, enhancing rehabilitation potential and upholding the unparalleled standards of clinical and client care for which The OT Practice has become so renowned.  

“The OT Practice is our preferred provider of OT services,” said Karen Hicks. “We provide respite, care, mobility and property adaptation services. As an office-based team, we rely heavily on The OT Practice therapists to help us determine what more we could do to help our beneficiaries in their homes. The OT Practice approach everything holistically… while we may be told a beneficiary needs a new chair or scooter, their therapists observe the wider picture, identifying where else we can aid their rehabilitation, care and independence. Through The OT Practice, we are not restricted in terms of what we can offer and it’s great to see how the work we do together is changing lives for the better.”

Edward Robinson echoed Karen’s comments: “The OT Practice look at the whole family unit and the unique personal circumstances of each of our beneficiaries and their families. The detail in their assessments, the quality of their work and their expertise adds real value for us. Our beneficiaries receive the right equipment sooner and therefore benefit quicker. Everyone in the practice is a consummate professional… but not only that, they are also friendly and polite, providing a great service to our beneficiaries.”  

Before unveiling an official plaque to commemorate her visit, HRH The Princess Royal addressed Nikki and all The OT Practice staff and guests. Her speech praised the progress made by the practice, how the competence and quality of their work is evidential in the levels of independence their clients achieve.

Dr Patricia McClure, Chair of Council for The Royal College of Occupational Therapists also spoke, mirroring HRH The Princess Royal’s comments and thanking The OT Practice for their invaluable work, personalised levels of care and unique contribution to the profession.

Giles Thompson, Managing Director said: “Today has been a great occasion. I’m particularly proud that the therapists, our office based teams and our partners can come together to share in Her Royal Highness’ and The Royal College of Occupational Therapist’s recognition of the difference their collective hard work has made – and continues to make – to the lives of so many people.”

The OT Practice