After a year of living the ‘retirement dream’, I began to feel that life must be able to offer me a bit more than this. My confidence could do with a boost too.
Christine is now one of the many valued volunteers that play a major part in the Older People’s Health and Wellbeing Programme.
“After yet another visit to my daughter I was curious to see what was happening over at the Duke of York gardens. It was some kind of open day for the public and I wanted to know more”.
While wandering around the stalls Christine bumped into an ex-work colleague, Pat Wilsea. Christine hadn’t seen Pat for ages and had quite a bit of catching up to do, but obviously not today as Pat was running a stall on behalf of the local allotments and had something to do with the stall close by that was promoting the Older People’s Health and Wellbeing Programme (OPH&W).
“Right”, said Pat. “Come round to West Marsh Community Centre next Tuesday, we run a social club there, I’m sure you’ll find something to talk about while you’re there and we can have a cup of coffee and perhaps join in with the things that go on there”.
So Christine did, and ended up going regularly, helping out with the shoebox appeal that they had launched, originally helping out the older people and has now been continued to include youngsters too.
“I was eventually invited to attend an OPH&W Steering group meeting and realised that there was more to the programme, and I felt I wanted to be a part of it in some small way”.
Christine commented on how friendly everyone is and how she looks forward to the weekly tai-chi sessions presented by Gill Wright at west Marsh Community Centre, so was pleased when Andrea Burdett (Programme Assistant) invited her to take part in the tai-chi/Shibashi training sessions. “I already enjoyed the sessions, realised how supple they began to make me feel and now I was learning how to deliver the class, learning about the various muscles in the body and how parts of the body linked in with others to help us become more mobile. And of course, making sure I knew the difference between the rights and wrongs of the movements”.
Christine now wanted to take what she had learnt to other people, and with encouragement from Andrea went out to the village of Ashby-cum-Fenby to take on a fairly new social club that was beginning to struggle with numbers due to the new craze of Zumba fitness taking place around the area.
“I was quite happy showing off my new talent to anyone who wanted to join in, and I don’t know how it happened but new faces began to join the club and one or two of the older ones returned”. There is now a regular number attending each week, and they all look forward to the tai-chi sessions too. “Andrea then nominated me to take on a new club at Vicarage Lawns and Gardens and I jumped at the chance (well, not quite literally, but almost!)
Christine doesn’t mind helping out at other venues when someone has taken time out for a holiday or when they need volunteers for their latest campaigns. All of this has helped to improve her confidence and she likes the fact she is able to meet the public and help to get our messages across.
“All of this has helped me to get out, meet a different array of people, kept me and the club members supple and more mobile. For some, I may be the only person they have seen this week, so classes are quite relaxed and we all end up exchanging views by the end of the lesson”. Feedback has always been positive, Christine says that they love to tell me that they could reach up to a cupboard to put something away this week, and they couldn’t do that several months before. They now encourage each other to keep moving their limbs to help themselves stay fit and healthy.
“For me, I have never looked back since the day that I met up with Pat Wilsea and took an interest in the OPH&W programme. No two days are ever the same, and I now wonder, how I ever found the time to work”!
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