Older adults keep fit and well with free sport and physical activity packs

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Age friendly sport and physical activity packs are being distributed to over 200 of our older residents within the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough thanks to a collaborative effort from a range of Community Planning Partners including Sport NI, Southern Health and Social Care Trust and Armagh Banbridge Craigavon PCSP as well as the British Gymnastics Foundation, Disability Sport NI and Table Tennis Ulster.

It is widely recognised that older adults have become increasingly isolated during the current pandemic, leading to dangerously low levels of sport and physical activity which could prove detrimental to their overall physical and mental wellbeing.

The packs are designed to encourage older adults to remain active safely within their own home whilst isolating or shielding due to Covid-19. To date packs have been distributed to identified older residents within the Banbridge and surrounding area via community or voluntary groups who expressed an interest in getting involved with support from the ABC Seniors Network and the Multi-Disciplinary Team at McNiff Surgery in Banbridge.

In order to support those in the borough not involved with the participating community groups, any older person or their family member or carer can request a pack through the council’s Sport Development Team. As packs are limited they will be offered on on a first come first served basis where need has been demonstrated.

Each pack contains a range of items and equipment to support staying active whilst isolating during the pandemic. A key feature of the packs is the inclusion of an instant ping pong pack which includes bats, balls and a retractable net which can be clipped on to any table or desk for a fun sporting activity either individually or as part of a household. A resource booklet is also included on how best to use this equipment.

The packs will also be filled with inspirational resources including the interactive ‘Move with Mary’ DVD featuring Lady Mary Peters produced by Age NI along with an accompanying resource booklet.  The Southern Health & Social Care Trust have kindly provided approved strength and balance exercise booklets which focus on gentle exercise movements and British Gymnastics Foundation have provided ‘Love 2 Move’ exercise booklets which feature age and dementia friendly seated gymnastics movements.

As well as sport and physical activity resources, the packs also include information on home safety provided by the council’s Home Safety team plus advice on crime prevention, staying scam alert and individual In Case of Emergency (ICE) cards thanks to the Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon PCSP.

Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough, Councillor Kevin Savage said: “The current pandemic has been particularly difficult for our older citizens who have faced many months of isolation and loneliness. This can make it harder for our older citizens to stay physically active and participate in their usual sporting activities which can have a detrimental impact on health and wellbeing. The sport and physical activity packs have been designed to support those older adults with a wide array of age friendly equipment, information booklets and DVDs to enable them to become active and stay active within their own home and keep them as physically and as mentally strong as possible”.

If you or someone you know is aged 60+ and feeling isolated or lonely, you can complete the short self-referral document available to download at the link below and returned to . Alternatively you can speak with Amanda Mogey, Assistant Sports Development Officer at 07816 341112

Self-Referral Form – Age Friendly Sport & Physical Activity Packs