Fleetwood Town’s Community Trust celebrated their one-year anniversary with their gentle exercise provision, which has gone from strength-to-strength as a second class is now being added!
Off the back of the Covid-19 pandemic, it became apparent that social isolation, poor mental health, and physical well-being problems were escalating within the Wyre borough, so the Trust partnered up with Fitness 50, after the Wyre Council’s tackling inequalities funding, and launched a class for over 18s which would aim to target some of the issues from that pandemic.
Over the past year, the Community have worked with local partners, GPs, and social prescribers to provide an opportunity for people to improve their physical and mental well-being, and they have reaped the rewards having engaged with over 160 participants through just this one class, from something that started out as a four-to-six-week trial!
Not only have they sustained regular participants in the group but have attracted new participants week after week. There's been on average 43 participants attending weekly and, after the turn of the new year, they have welcomed up to 60 participants for just one class alone.
Due to the significant increase in demand, our Trust has decided to celebrate the group’s growth and success and add another Gentle Exercise class to our provision! This is thanks to a continuation of funding from the national lottery community fund and Sarah our Be active stay healthy coordinator, which will secure the group's future going forward.
Couple Lynda and Peter, who have been attending the class for almost a year, spoke to us about the positive impact the class has had on them and mentioned: “We were both very lethargic after lockdown and used to do lots of walking, but our legs had no strength in them. We had stopped mixing with people and needed something to kickstart change.
“Since joining the class, our mobility has improved, can go for our walks again, and feel fitter. We love the music, sometimes you feel as though you’re dancing and later you realise you have done a workout! Meeting new people, making friends, and being able to socialise on our rest breaks – it has given us a purpose to get up and get moving outside the house.”
Joanne, who recently joined has also described some of the benefits she has gained since joining the class. She exclaimed: “I did some walking but no real upper body exercise following a fall in the summer of 2021. It has made a huge improvement in my general health & mobility – especially my upper body to my left arm which had limited movement due to shoulder impingement.
“My shoulder is now 80% more mobile than it was before I joined, and I’m now able to lift my arm above my head which I was unable to do before I started the class.”
Jules, who leads the class, also added: “When Emma asked me to run this class, the idea was to give it a trial run, but now one year on, it’s become so much more than a gentle exercise class! We have engaged with well over 150 different people in that time, from teens to 80-plus years old.
“We have created a mini-community of lots of different abilities who all feel comfortable within our group! We laugh a lot, it’s never dull, and it’s great to see new friendships growing. I’ve witnessed some huge gains in confidence, mobility, and balance from the attendees and there have also been remarks about how it is improving people's mental health as well as their stamina levels!”
Emma, who coordinates the programme for the Trust, has also described what it’s been like to see the group grow from strength to strength: “I would’ve never anticipated just how much this group would grow when we first decided to launch it back in January; it’s fantastic to see the impact it’s had and how it has given an olive branch to so many, Jules is fantastic and it’s stuff like this that makes the job extremely rewarding knowing that you are providing that we can benefit people’s health and wellbeing.”
Our Trust’s Gentle Exercise class takes place every Wednesday with a new class starting at 12:45pm-1:30pm, and the original class taking place 1:45pm-2:30pm at Cleveleys Park Church, West Drive, Thornton-Cleveleys, FY5 2BL and is FREE. For more information, you can contact Emma via email HERE, or you can head over to Fitness 50 Facebook page!