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Stay Active @ 70+

Improving and maintaining health, reducing loneliness and celebrating diversity in residents over 70 in Tower Hamlets

With the increase in life expectancy in Tower Hamlets - coupled with an increase in social isolation and health issues amongst the elderly - WHFS (Women’s Health & Family Services) has developed our Stay Active @70+ project.  Funded by the City Bridge Older Londoners 3-year grant programme, it will run until March 2018 and supports people over 70 to become more active through volunteering, social activities and adopting healthier lifestyles to help reduce isolation and improve general health.

People we support

The Stay Active @ 70+ project supports all people over 70 living in Tower Hamlets, in particular the Somali, Chinese, Vietnamese, Bengali and white communities.  We encourage group activities and especially support:

  • Affiliated groups supporting people over 70 in Tower Hamlets;
  • People who would like to form a new group to support people over 70;
  • People over 70 who wish to volunteer (training provided).

Why the project is important

Tower Hamlets currently has 19,000 people over the age of 65, of whom 5,000 are over 80.  Whilst this is less than the national average, the number of residents over 75 increased by 5% in 2012. Through our outreach work we have found that a significant number of elders in Tower Hamlets are unsupported, or do not regularly receive support from family members.  This is due to a range of factors, but our research revealed this is mainly due to:

  • Not having family living close by;
  • Family have limited spare time, which is often dictated by work or their own immediate family commitments;
  • They no longer have any close family members.

Loneliness and inactivity can have a greater impact on general health for older people, as they are less likely to be active through social activities and are at greater risk of becoming housebound (either through choice or decreased mobility).  The Stay Active @70+ project aims to help people develop their social networks and increase their wellbeing.

About the project

WHFS has been supporting communities in Tower Hamlets for over 35 years and we regularly gather feedback from residents on the issues that affect their health and general wellbeing, which we use to help shape the services we offer.  Our research amongst elder people highlighted the significant impact the following has on this group:

  • Loneliness and isolation;
  • Lack of physical exercise and mental stimulation;
  • Low incomes;
  • Lack of professional financial advice;
  • Inadequate housing;
  • Lack of appropriate health advice and information.

The Stay Active @70+ project aims to address these issues, and in particular aims to:

  • Facilitate a community-centred approach to identify what physical, educational and creative activities will help improve wellbeing;
  • Encourage and support elders to volunteer, including “peer befriending”;
  • Offer locally based activities such as exercise, walking, dancing, gardening and cooking;
  • Develop and expand our reach into new and existing community groups throughout the borough;
  • Establish a Steering Group to monitor the progression and development of the project;
  • Partner with relevant organisations to support people to live with dignity, by reflecting their community’s diversity and cultural heritage;
  • Celebrate with community elders in an annual event to share and showcase good practice in staying healthy and reducing isolation.

Project development & sustainability

WHFS plan to develop an “elder people’s network” in Tower Hamlets aimed at encouraging community groups and relevant organisations to form links to share good practice and knowledge.  This is a large undertaking and is outside the remit of the project funding, but WHFS will promote the benefits of a network through the Steering Group, annual events and visiting groups.  We will also encourage community groups to become more sustainable by offering training in simple budgeting and how to apply for small grants.

Get Involved – for groups

Whether your group is new or long established, or you would like help to set up your group and are Tower Hamlets residents over 70, we would love to hear from you.  We can support you to develop any of the group activities below:

  • Physical activities – for example: referrals to (or how to start) walking, dance, keep fit, knitting, cooking, singing groups, etc;
  • Education and continued learning– referrals to organisations offering ESOL classes (English for speakers of other languages), how to use social media (Twitter, Skype, email, etc), starting or joining story & history telling groups;
  • Health education – health information and advice sessions;
  • Funding your group – how to apply for small grants and budget to pay for activities for your group - for example: outings, art classes, keep fit or anything that engages and keeps people connected in Tower Hamlets;
  • Volunteer opportunities – how to become a volunteer and receive training to support WHFS projects and other relevant organisations in Tower Hamlets.

Get Involved – for individuals

You can join the activities listed in our Events page – please click here for details.  Please contact us (details below) and we will be happy to:

  • Introduce you to a group near you to get involved with their activities;
  • Help you become a volunteer to offer your skills to others.

Events

Please see the Events page for details on current activities, including regular weekly sessions.

Contact

For more information, please contact:

Tuyet My Diep – Project Worker
T:   020 7377 9654
M:  07496 704 885
E:   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dymphna Dale - Project Co-ordinator
T:   020 7377 8725
M:  07960 328 099
E:   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.