Increasing activity levels and reducing isolation for Over 60’s
An over 60’s Sports and Social club at the Deanes School in Benfleet was set up to encourage the older generation to participate in physical activity, form friendships and reduce loneliness.
After identifying an activity provision gap in the area, Active Essex worked with the School Sport Partnership to provide funding for this project to take place at The Deanes School. Due to the school day at The Deanes finishing at 1pm on a Friday, the club was able to have access to its indoor sports facilities every week from 1.30pm -3pm.
With The Deanes Sports Centre offering a variety of facilities for all ages and abilities, it was important to understand the types of activities that participants had an interest in, to ensure that they would come back again the following week. It was identified that the most popular activities for this age group, were racket sports, such as badminton, table tennis, tennis and pickle ball. This has steered the development of the club each week and the sessions are led by deliverers with the necessary skills, as identified by the School Sport Partnership staff.
Both males and females, ranging from age 60-82 come along to the club each week, with many of them widowed and lacking social interaction. Although primarily the project aimed to increase activity levels amongst the older generation, it was also important to ensure that there was a social aspect, to help build connections and friendships. This has been key to retaining participants, and regular attendance has been very strong each week.
There has been a great response to the project so far, and through targeted local marketing, it has attracted people who have not been regularly active for a long time, but like the idea of a relaxed social club. In April, the group had its first social gathering outside of the club, where a local pub provided a buffet and drinks for the group, straight after the Friday club. The majority of participants attended, and it was a wonderful opportunity for them to interact and get to know one another outside of the physical activity sessions.