Encourage Activity is a new micro-enterprise set up to provide fun, increase mobility and get people thinking. Chris Golding came up with the idea after running sessions for a charity and says
I finished University last year after completing a sports coaching disability degree. I decided to start working with Sky Blues in the Community, a registered charity which started as part of Coventry City Football Club. I was coaching children in football and other sports, and then I got put onto a session coaching older people. We started off doing Kurling and Boccia and after a few weeks I realised I enjoyed this session much better than the sessions with the children. It was very social, and a really good laugh and I wondered if any of the care homes were doing anything like this. I decided to go round local homes and find out and some of them were really receptive to the idea – and that is how I started Encourage Activity.
I started with 1 or 2 sessions locally and now as the business grows I am going into 35 care homes across the West Midlands and into Gloucestershire and have taken on additional staff. Our sessions are not only fun but as part of a weekly routine they can support a happy and healthy lifestyle, helping older people to keep well and retain mobility by providing physical, psychological and social benefits.
Feedback from one group of care home residents has included:
“It keeps us moving”
“It is something so different to what we do other times and that is why we enjoy it”
“I like to see the young men doing something for older people to be honest”
“Fascinating, it’s different.
Most of our days are exactly the same, this is a lovely bit of light relief it’s fun and competitive.”
Some of the people who the sessions have made a difference for include a lady who is 100 years old and after the first few sessions of joining in whilst sat in her chair suddenly got the competitive bug and decided to stand up and see if she could get a better score. Another lady who was in for rehabilitation after a really bad fall said that the sessions helped her regain her confidence and the gentle exercise helped her realise that she could get over her injury.
Plans for the future include delivering sessions in the community, Chris says “we want our services to be able to involve all older people across the community not just care homes and be affordable and accessible for everybody.”
All of the equipment is provided and sessions tailored to suit and can be delivered in Day Centres, Care Homes, Village Halls, or Community Centres.