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Programmes

Third Age Project runs several programmes and projects aimed at improving the quality of lives for the elderly. Some of our major programmes are described below.

 

1. Outreach Programme 

Reaching Out

As part of the Outreach Programme, we reach out to the most acutely isolated and lonely elderly residents. In recent years, we have gone out and developed new relationships and recruited sessional outreach staff and volunteers that made contact with local businesses including a launderette, post office, bakery & café and several supermarkets who promoted our activities by giving out our monthly newsletter and in making referrals to us. We linked isolated older people to relevant local services that focus on reducing loneliness and isolation and improving general health and wellbeing. 

Every Monday the outreach worker kept in touch by phone with a growing list of new isolated older residents that were often followed up with a home visit. Those phoned were informed of forthcoming activities and events and, if needed, transport and/or a volunteer escort was organised.  Many were signposted to agencies so they could access specialist support. Others with poor mobility were signed up for the various accessible transport schemes available to them such as Dial-a-Ride, Taxi Card and Plus Bus.

Older people can feel lonely even when living within an extended family. Our local campaign work increased general awareness of loneliness as an important social issue, especially to local businesses as well as to local residents and our users.

 

Group Sessions

On Tuesdays we run a highly popular supported chair-based exercise class, providing escorts to and from the sessions followed by a low-cost lunch provided by West Euston Time Bank volunteers. The group exercise aids everyone, regardless of their ability/level/age, as the exercises can be done seated or standing, with or without chair support.  It helps to maintain and improve emotional and psychological health, motor fitness, assists with maintaining and improving cognitive and coordination skills/ability and supports general wellbeing. With exercise promoting the release of feel-good endorphins, participants are encouraged to return each week and progress.  These group sessions also significantly reduced isolation and encouraged communication among participants.

In 2018, 53 people registered for this class, with average attendances of 25 per week (a 56% increase on last year). 94% of our older people registered with the chair-based exercise class and rated it 10 out of 10 in a survey for assessing the impact attendance has had upon users lives.

Digital Inclusion Project

Older Men’s Outreach Project

This project launched in October 2018 with the recruitment of a dedicated men’s outreach and development worker from January 2019. David Fennelly, as a self-employed consultant has been carrying out extensive outreach work visiting many organisations (including Salvation Army, hostels, community centres, Scotcare, churches and sheltered housing schemes) who stated they had older men as service users. All stated they experienced similar problems- men persisted in remaining disengaged and unconnected, few organisations knew what they need to do to improve the situation, all agreed the need for more outreach work. We now have 73 men registered with 42 new users an increase from 12% to 22% of total users. Several new activities have started including; a Chi Gung class on Mondays, an Upper Deckers kayak club on Wednesdays, a music circle on Thursdays, and we are currently recruiting a new tutor for a men’s cookery club to be on Fridays. After a visit to the Camden Town Shed we ran a woodworking course for local men at the Maiden Lane Community Centre (where they have a fully equipped workshop). Local men made 3 nesting boxes that will be fixed to the trees in our garden.

Ms W Joined us six months ago after chatting to her neighbour.  She lives alone and suffers from depression, exasperated by her arthritis. Her medication to ease her joint pain unfortunately produces a range of adverse side effects that makes her condition even worse. Several years ago she had breast cancer, needing a mastectomy and many weeks of chemotherapy that made her very ill. She says that when she retired she lost touch with her friends and knew nobody locally. She also says that coming to the Third Age Project has changed her outlook on life, enabled her to make new friends, feels part of the community and started for the first time to enjoy her retirement

Mr J is a 79 year old single man who has lived on the estate for 51 years but says he knows nobody or anybody he could call his friend. He is an intensely shy person that has needed a lot of support. However, we have discovered he is a railway enthusiast and a volunteer at a narrow gauge line in Ruislip and we have through him arranged a day trip with him as the train driver! He has also attended our woodworking class being meticulous in his approach.

Mr A is a 68 year old Bangladeshi man brought to the centre by a local caretaker. He lives on his own and appears to have no family or anybody to provide help and support. After  giving us several cursory visits he now comes every week on Tuesdays to the chair-based exercise class that is followed by a luncheon club where he always askes for second and even third helpings!

2. 60+ Health Club

The need for a 60+ Health Club has never been so urgent or necessary.  We operate within a deprived inner-city neighbourhood where there is a high level of general poor health, low self-esteem and poor knowledge and understanding of health issues, and barriers to accessing mainstream services. Primary care is at crisis point and over stretched, with some seeking access to healthcare services through A&E at nearby University College Hospital. Public Health England’s recent report acknowledges the urgent need for a greater focus on prevention services, new innovative solutions and ways of engaging with older people in non-clinical community-based settings, particularly those unable to self-manage long term health conditions. Diabetes alone costs the NHS £14 billion a year. In 2018,

  • 131 older people registered with the Health Club (93 women and 38 men), with 64 being new members.
  • 80% were of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) origin. 
  • 26% of club users were of Bangladeshi ethnic origin.
  • 113 (81%) had an identified health condition (67 women and 33 men).

Ethnic background of 60+ Health Club users

The 60+ Health Club achieved impressive outcomes over the year and was evaluated though an independent survey completed by 63% of club users. 

  • 90% reported they now felt healthier as a result of taking part.
  • 89% reported an improved general sense of wellbeing.
  • 87% reported they had increased their knowledge of health issues.

An independent customer satisfaction survey from a random sample of 42 club users found 100% rated the service 8 or more out of 10, with 72% giving 10 out of 10.

Following a one-day training and induction session our older Bangladeshi women’s group launched their new weekly Walking for Health on 1st February 2018. On a very cold and wintry March day they celebrated International Women’s Day by having a picnic in Regents Park!

 

The Men’s Shed (a pilot project)

The idea was to create a male friendly space for older men to meet with table tennis, pool table, a refreshments bar and comfortable seating, run at the same time but alongside the 60+ Health Club on Wednesday mornings. In 2018, 51 older men registered with 26 new users.

New Men's kayak club

Mrs B is a 57 year old Bangladeshi woman who was the second wife of a much older Bangladeshi man already with grown up children. She had to nurse her husband for many years until he sadly passed away. She has had very little time to herself to do the things she had always wanted to do. She has taken on her new volunteer role with unexpected zest, is a good organiser and says her mental health has improved considerably. She and the group talk excitedly about making other plans for new walks and trips including taking part in our other walks and activity programmes.

Mrs Z is a 73 year old Filipino woman who worked in the kitchens for over 33 years at UCH Hospital before retiring. She joined the Over 60s Health Club about five months ago. At her initial assessment she reported a multiplicity of health conditions that were creating a very poor quality of life and that made her acutely depressed. She mentioned: angina, asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, dyspepsia and osteoporosis and depression. When she first arrived at the club she was suffering in particular from severe osteoporotic knee pain. After filling in her initial assessment form we advised her to attend our Chair-Based Exercise Classes on Tuesdays. After several chair-based sessions she was able to progress to our Gym Classes using light weights, a tread mill and rowing machines. She reported that her knee pain was beginning to reduce and was becoming more confident in walking. She then further progressed by attending our weekly strength and tone classes regularly at the club. After a few more weeks of regular exercise and also attending the weekly health information talks she now feels her health has considerably improved. She sleeps very much better, her knee pain has improved, her stress levels have reduced significantly and says she feels much more relaxed, especially after her exercise classes. She says she is a much happier person, rarely feels lonely and has made several good new friends.

Mr B is a 68 year old man who before joining the Men’s Shed exercised infrequently and was in poor physical health. “Joining the club and meeting others and having a fitness plan prepared by a professional has helped me tremendously in terms of motivation, setting goals and developing an alternative healthier lifestyle and routine. I feel fitter and healthier physically and mentally and now sleep much better. I am now active three days a week. I have improved my sense of wellbeing and social life.”

Mr C is a 69 year-old Filipino man who was not physically active at all before he joined the club and never took part in any sports or exercise of any kind.  He had diabetes, which he found difficult to control, and felt regularly unwell. He has shown great interest in resistance training.  At the start he struggled with even the lightest of weights and has now progressed to batch press 15 kilograms as well as carry out a range of other exercises with fixed weights. “I now feel fit, strong and confident.”

3. Health & Wellbeing Community Learning

There is increasing recognition and acknowledgement of the importance of the creative arts for health and wellbeing, and feedback from our users and supporting partners provides powerful evidence of impact on health outcomes. 

The key aims of our learning programmes are to maximise the impact of community learning, reduce health inequalities and support sustainable and resilient communities. Benefits for learners include:

  • improvements in physical health
  • improvements in mental health
  • improved mobility
  • increased engagement in community activities
  • improved confidence in the future
  • increased sense of belonging

We are able to deliver a large range of accessible free community adult learning tasters and courses through our partnerships with supporting organisations. Classes include: home crafts, crafts, yoga, drama, ESOL, jewellery, Tai Chi, art & drawing, computers and country dance. We regularly hold open taster sessions at community events and at our premises and hold a well-attended Open House Week each year.

Women's Keep Fit Club

Third Age Project, Cumberland Market, Regent’s Park, London NW1 3RH          +44 20 7383 4922          info@thirdageproject.org.uk

 

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