Former Royal Ballet Company dancer draws on personal experience to help staff and volunteers at Ashgate Hospicecare

A former Royal Ballet Company dancer is drawing on her experiences of poor health to help champion wellbeing for volunteers and staff at Ashgate Hospice.

By Gay Bolton
Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 7:56 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 7:58 pm
Ruth Bailey is Ashgate Hospicecare's staff and volunteer wellbeing advisor (photo: EKR PIctures/Ellie Rhodes).
Ruth Bailey is Ashgate Hospicecare's staff and volunteer wellbeing advisor (photo: EKR PIctures/Ellie Rhodes).

Ruth Bailey, 32, travelled the world with the ballet company and performed alongside acclaimed dancers including Darcey Bussell.

Diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, Ruth retired as a professional dancer at the age of 24 to focus on her wellbeing and is now ten years into recovery.

Ruth is now using her past experiences to implement a robust support scheme for everyone at Ashgate Hospicecare in her role as the charity’s staff and volunteer wellbeing advisor.

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Ruth Bailey was a professional dancer with the Royal Ballet Company when she retired at 24 to focus on her wellbeing after being diagnosed with anorexia nervosa.

She said: “My own struggles with wellbeing and the barriers I faced when accessing support has been the driving force behind my studies at university, which focused on nutrition, health and lifestyles.

“I knew that I wanted to support other people to improve their health and let people know that healthy wellbeing takes work every single day.

“I believe that I am now a role model for this, which I absolutely love!”

Since her appointment in August last year, Ruth has offered 1:1 wellbeing calls, group meetings on nutrition and exercise and 30-minute mindfulness sessions.

Ruth, who lives in Sheffield, said: “Since the start of the pandemic, we have seen how people have been impacted by the changes to our work and home lives. At Ashgate, we are taking a proactive approach to addressing these issues to ensure we have a well-supported and resilient workforce.

“My ambition is to help make wellbeing a priority for everyone. It can be difficult to give yourself permission to allow time for yourself, however, I believe it’s the key to long term sustainability.

“I hope to build and promote a really strong message that wellbeing should be paramount to healthy staff and volunteers. Human beings have basic needs and I hope to give time, energy, and a safe space for people to acknowledge these in the workplace.”

Matt Corbishley, director of people and performance at Ashgate Hospice, said: “Supporting our staff and volunteers to stay healthy and well is a key priority for Ashgate. A healthy workplace helps our teams to deliver the very best end of life and palliative care to families across north Derbyshire.”