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Project helps residents to age well

Wednesday, 09 July, 2014
Project helps residents to age well

Over 50s are invited to try a new programme of free activities in Ashington to help them stay active and well.

Hirst Welfare Centre has teamed up with the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation (CISWO) and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s Ageing Well programme to run a series of activities for older people.

The project, called Active Age, involves regular social and leisure activities aimed at encouraging older people to socialise, develop new skills and engage in fun physical activities to help them lead an active and healthy lifestyle.

Connie Hovsepian, 76, from Newbiggin by the Sea, attends the older people’s forum in Ashington, hosted by Northumbria Healthcare, and was involved in sharing ideas about the activities older people might like to see at the centre.

Connie, a retired midwife, said: “It’s lovely to be able to do something positive for your community and help shape what services are delivered where you live.

“I got involved in doing activities at Hirst Welfare, where older people and teenagers come together to pass on our experience and swap skills. We’ve made calendars, done willow weaving, played computer games and now we are doing cooking.

“With the cookery classes we teach the kids the basics of how to cook meals. It’s wonderful to see the kids grow in confidence. After classes we all eat together and sample everyone’s cooking so it’s a great opportunity to meet people living in your neighbourhood too.”

Hirst Welfare Centre received funding from the Big Lottery Fund to expand on existing provision for older people to promote healthy lifestyles.

With eight new weekly activities to choose from including luncheon clubs, pilates, circuits, gentle zumba, craft, and cooking there is something to suit a range of tastes and abilities. The centre also offers personalised fitness programmes for over 50s at its gym which includes regular fitness and health checks.

Clare Orange, health improvement specialist for the Ageing Well in Northumberland programme at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, added: “We are delighted with the range of activities the centre is putting on and it’s great to see them involving older people in decisions about what they offer to promote healthy lifestyles for the over 50s.

“Making staying active and exercise a regular part of your life can greatly improve your health and helps you to maintain independence as you age. It’s really important people know what’s out there and we are working with our partners across the county to raise awareness through the Ageing Well in Northumberland programme.”

For more information about activities at Hirst Welfare Centre call 01670 857810.