Collaboratives take their Tai Chi session to Facebook Live to reengage with service users
Health and social care services across the country have been working in new ways to ensure people needing urgent or ongoing support can still get the help they need, despite the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Multiple services across Care Plus Group have been doing just that by altering their ways of working over the last few months, in order to continue improving people’s health and wellbeing across North East Lincolnshire in their time of need.
The Health and Wellbeing Collaboratives team, based at Centre4 Grimsby, will usually deliver several face-to-face activities for their service users each week, encouraging people to improve their health, wellbeing and overall lifestyle.
However, with social distancing measures prevalent, the team decided to take a look at alternative ways of working and recently took to Facebook Live to deliver their very first, virtual Tai Chi session.
Martin Wakefield, Health & Wellbeing Programme Manager for Collaboratives, said: “In normal circumstance we would hold our Tai Chi sessions at a number of social clubs across North East Lincolnshire. However, since the start of the pandemic, we haven’t been able to run our normal sessions so a lot of people have been missing out on their weekly exercise regimes. We’ve been keeping in touch with all our service users over the week and we’ve had a lot of them saying they were missing our Tai Chi sessions the most.
“With many people turning to technology throughout the isolation period, we looked at how we could deliver our Shibashi Tai Chi session. Although it was something totally new to all of us, we took our Tai Chi session to Facebook Live to reengage with our service users. One of our brilliant instructors, Brian Page, delivered the online class and we couldn’t have been happier with how it went!”
Charlotte Kirk, Health & Wellbeing Programme Assistant, said: “Our first Facebook Live, Tai-Chi session with Brian was a huge success! We’ve had lots of great feedback from participants who thoroughly enjoyed the session.
“Since the session went live, the post has had near to 1,000 views and reached 1,800 people across the local community! We’re already looking forward to our next Facebook Live session and featuring more activities which our service users are missing in the coming weeks.”
Margaret Allbones, one of the Collaboratives long-standing volunteers and social club member, wrote a poem to sum up her experience:
“Visiting Centre4 and doing Tai Chi meant so much to me,
But I haven’t stopped it altogether as I can now watch on my TV.
Facebook Live really helps this way,
I can watch it now every morning on a Thursday
10.30 am it starts so be aware,
To be ready for this fun to share.
Brian’s Live Tai Chi session keeps the muscles moving and the mind at peace,
Join us all on Thursday mornings as Facebook Live helps us release,
Any tension we can do without, cos at the moment we can’t get out!”
Footage of Brian’s first live Tai Chi session can be found on the Collaboratives Facebook page here
Elsewhere, another member of the Collaboratives instructors, Sue Thomas, recently took advantage of the sunshine to deliver a socially distanced Tai Chi lesson to eight of her neighbours. The video of the session can be found here
Kerry Vause, Collaboratives Project Worker, said: “It was great to see everyone adhering to the social distancing rules, but still managing to come together to look after their physical and mental health wellbeing. In the current situation it’s so lovely to find these silver linings, with many great relationships being made in the local communities.”
Shibashi Tai-Chi is a set of 18 movements that are practiced in a fluid and continuous manner. The movements are gentle, and will help to increase energy and rejuvenate the mind, body and soul, as well as improve agility and flexibility.
Shibashi is suitable for all ages and fitness levels. All participants need to take part in the session from their own homes is enough room to comfortably stretch their arms out to the side. Most of the moves can also be performed whilst seated, if necessary.
The Health and Wellbeing Collaboratives will be holding live online classes every Thursday at 10.30am on their Facebook page, which can be found here