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RHL - Age No Barrier Funded by Hampshire County Council’s Older Persons Community Support Grant for Basingstoke, Rushmoor and Hart

We are living longer and therefore the number of older people is increasing. This can mean an increased burden on health services, social care and other resources. We want older people to be happy, healthy and enjoy a good quality of life.

We have devised several programmes aimed specifically at older people to keep them active, reduce loneliness and isolation and empower them to stay independent and healthy.

We believe achieving these aims will improve older peoples’ physical and mental health and have a huge impact on the resources mentioned above by preventing or slowing down physical and mental conditions. There is also evidence to suggest a fit and active community can lead to the slowing down of the onset of dementia.

We have been providing self- funding exercise classes aimed at the over 50s for several years but wanted to extend these classes to a much wider audience and provide different types of activities rather than just exercise based. In February 2015, we successfully bid for three-year funding from Hampshire County Council (HCC) Older Persons Support grant. This has enabled us to establish social events across Rushmoor and into Hart. We then obtained further funding to replicate our programme in Basingstoke. Hampshire County Council had identified elderly Nepali's in Basingstoke as a priority in their strategic review and we were tasked with setting up a sustainable social project in Basingstoke.

We have established six exercise-based socials in Rushmoor, two in Hart and two in Basingstoke. Over 200 people attendances are recorded every week. Activities include: Social gatherings in community settings and sheltered housing schemes, Yoga and Zumba Gold (originally aimed at elderly Nepalis but now attracting many non-Nepal is as well), Seated Exercises and Seated Pilates for the more active. These are not just about exercise, they are socials too where people can meet each week, have a chat over a cup of tea and biscuits and forge new friendships.

The participants see the activities as a club and look forward to meeting up with each other to swap stories and of course, exercise.

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