Kirsty Health, Healthy Communities Manager:

My role as a Healthy Communities Manager for Berkshire West has always been varied - a significant part of my role involves facilitating the development of relationships and partnerships that will help benefit our programmes and raise the profile of the benefits of physical activity.

During lockdown I have been focusing my efforts on some key area's. One such part felt as though it might be quite small but has in fact, gained some significant interest.

Fall-Proof Resources

We have been lucky enough to gain access to a set of resources (originally designed by our colleagues at Active Gloucestershire) targeting older adults, designed to encourage them to be active around the home and increase their strength and independence.

Due to lockdown we can assume that a higher proportion of this target group have been inside their homes for extended periods of time, often missing out on the usual activities that would keep them active and mobile. In addition, its very likely that a significant number are digitally excluded and therefore are not able to access the online opportunities that have become the norm.

The Fall-Proof resources feature 6 prompt cards, each with a different exercise, designed to be placed around the home to encourage the recipient to complete the specific exercise prompted by that particular card when they are nearby or passing. So far I have posted close to 1500 copies - I have become a regular user of Hermes having to coordinate these efforts from home! Batches of the cards have been sent to a range of partners including Social Prescribers, Age UK and the Carers Hub, who have, in turn, sent these resources onto the individuals who need them most.

'We've found them [Fall-Proof resources] hugely beneficial. The design of them is faultless and has provided regular opportunities for some good banter with our service users.

For example, when we get someone called Barbara into the Happy Feet session we say 'come on, you can bend it like Barbara!' The way the exercises are described and presented on the cards using 'real' people means they are well received and seen as exercises that can be done, for individuals who, if simply told to do 'exercises' might not see themselves in this light.

The cards have been distributed throughout our organisation and colleagues have also taken them home for their own family and friends. Once restrictions have eased we will also be able to use them within our social clubs'

Age UK Reading employee

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