“It’s inspiring to meet someone who has faced the same difficulties and still manages to enjoy life”

We’ve had real success with our Over 50’s exercise classes that we launched in January 2015, as part of Manchester Reducing Social Isolation & Loneliness in Older People programme.

We spoke to two members at our Blackley class – Sylvia and Kathleen at their last session of the six week programme to find out what they’ve gained from the classes.

Image of one our classes, with the group sitting on chairs and doing stretching exercises Kathleen and Sylvia from our over 50s exercise class

Sylvia says:

“I’ve been to the Henshaws resource centre a couple of times in the past but it wasn’t always easy to make my own way over to Old Trafford from North Manchester. When I found out these free classes would be running at my local library, I jumped at the chance to get involved – it was so convenient!

The exercise classes are great – Elaine and Lisa from Henshaws who teach the sessions are wonderful, so supportive and make sure the class is suitable for all levels. The classes have become a little more challenging each week so you do feel like you’ve had a work out at the end – some of us remain seated throughout so the exercise can be adapted to your needs. I’ve definitely felt myself becoming fitter, more flexible and most importantly more confident since joining the classes and they’ve inspired me to keep the exercises up at home (the ladies provide us with a CD containing all the exercises so we can keep practicing them at home!)

One of the best things I’ve gained from the classes is new friends. I’ve really enjoyed socialising afterwards with the other class members (with biscuits and tea or coffee – kindly provided by the Henshaws ladies!) and have made some great friends – myself and Kathleen have swapped numbers today and are going to keep in touch. I’ve come to accept my visual impairment over the years and have learned how I can still enjoy life by adapting what I can do but Kathleen’s sight loss is more recent and she is still struggling with coming to terms with it so I’m hoping I can provide emotional support and a shoulder to lean on, as someone who understands what she’s going through.

Other members of the group, a new friend called Pam has been very proactive with organising meet-ups for the group and she is planning to organise some trips out – we’d love to go to Blackpool for the day! Thank you Henshaws, for giving me an extra spring in my step and for introducing me to a wonderful new supportive group of friends!”

Image of the group members of our Over 50s exercise class sitting round a table and chatting

Kathleen says:

“The exercise classes have been great for increasing my confidence, I do remain seated throughout the session due to health issues but the sessions are adapted so I still feel like I’ve had a good workout.

One of the biggest benefits for me is finding support and friendship through the sessions, we have tea and biscuits afterwards and all have a chance to chat. I have found it difficult coming to terms with my sight loss as I led a very active and social life previously, I am still learning how to enjoy life with my limitations. Sylvia has been a wonderful friend, so positive and supportive and it’s inspiring to meet someone who has faced the same difficulties and still manages to enjoy life. We will definitely stay in touch and can hopefully organise some day trips together, I feel as though I’ve gotten more of my independence back”.

Watch one of our exercise sessions in action!

The next programme of exercise classes will begin on Tuesday 22nd September and run until Tuesday 27th Oct, details below:

Venue: St Kents Irish Social Club, 36 Wilbraham Road, Fallowfield, Manchester, M14 7DW

Time: 1.00pm -3.00pm

For more information and to book your place, please get in touch with Henshaws on 0161 872 1234 or e-mail: info@henshaws.org.uk.

A project of the Manchester Reducing Social Isolation & Loneliness in Older People programme 2014-16. Grant Funding from Manchester’s three NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (North Manchester CCG, South Manchester CCG and Central Manchester CCG) in partnership with Age Friendly Manchester. Managed by Macc. Further information at:http://bit.ly/maccrsi

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