Through the Together Fund, Sport England and the National Lottery are providing community organisations with extra support to help local people get active.
County Durham Sport supported Age UK County Durham with their successful Together Fund application. This is their story.
Age UK County Durham’s ‘Keep Moving’ Together Fund project provided free physical activity sessions for older adults across three community venues: Heart on the Terrace in Murton, Bullion Hall in Chester-le-Street, and Castleside Village Hall. The sessions covered a range of activities, such as gentle seated exercise and new age kurling. They used consultation to shape activities to people’s needs and preferences, creating a sense of ownership amongst participants.
We asked Age UK County Durham to reflect on how things have been going.
What’s been going well?
Across the 3 locations, 65 participants were engaged in the activities, with an incredible footfall of 952 over the weekly sessions! The feedback has been amazing, with 99% of attendees responding positively to all questions in a survey. What came through strongly was the importance of friendly groups, getting out of the house, and mental stimulation contributing to better mental health.
“Wouldn’t miss this class for anything! It’s such a feel-good, happy session. Good exercise, brilliant, happy get together.”
What’s been challenging?
From a participant’s perspective, it seemed the only challenge was having the confidence to join the first session; once they were in, they were hooked!
For Age UK County Durham, the project came with the usual challenges of working in community settings, where some organisations are more readily open to activities than others. Some also have greater demands than others. The main challenge is continuing the sessions in all 3 locations from Age UK’s funds.
What have you learned?
They have learnt that the key to success is finding the right instructor with whom the group can bond. The sessions are as much about reducing social isolation as they are about promoting physical activity. Therefore, maintaining a sense of fun is essential, whilst listening and responding to participants’ needs is also paramount.
What should happen next/in future?
Age UK aims to continue to develop these sessions in line with what the groups would like to do, as well as develop additional sessions. They are also eager to introduce an extra social element, with the activity being followed by a light meal or a cuppa and a catch up!
County Durham Sport is proud to be able to support organisations like Age UK County Durham to make a difference in the lives of County Durham communities. Join us in celebrating the amazing impact of this Sport England/National Lottery funding by sharing your story on social media with the hashtag #TogetherFund.