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Older People In Kirklees Try Tai Chi For The First Time
Older people in Kirklees have tried tai chi for the first time this week as part of the Prudential First Time for Everything programme.

The class was designed specifically for older people by local tai chi teacher Dorothy Knowles and took place at Batley Old People’s Centre. First Time for Everything is a programme designed by Royal Voluntary Service and Prudential UK to give older people in Kirklees (and across the UK) an opportunity to try something new for free on their doorstep. Staying active and social have been proven to be important to keeping fit and well in older age.

Research[1] by Royal Voluntary Service earlier this year found that two thirds (65 per cent) of people aged 60 and over wanted to try a new activity, but three in ten (29 per cent) felt there weren’t enough local opportunities. Keen to address this, the charity joined forces with Prudential UK to launch the First Time for Everything programme.

As well as trying tai chi for the first time, older people have been trying ballroom, rock and jive dancing, bicycle wheel decorating and chair-based exercise at Batley Old People’s Centre in recent months.

Amanda Stirling, Community Buildings Development Worker for Royal Voluntary Service in Kirklees, says: “It’s been wonderful to see so many local people enjoying our First Time for Everything activities, including new members who haven’t been to the centre before. Thanks to funding from Prudential UK, we have lots more exciting events coming up and hope that even more older people, their carers and families will come along. It’s never too late to try something for the first time.”

Dorothy, a service user from Batley, attended this week’s First Time for Everything tai chi class. She said: “I am a carer and I loved this session - the quietness, the exercises and the lovely buffet. It was a change having time to myself.”

Jillian Lobban, Executive Director of Prudential UK and Europe, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting the First Time for Everything programme with Royal Voluntary Service. As we get older, it’s not always easy to find the motivation to get out and about and particularly to try something new, but staying active and social helps us stay fit and well and can stop us feeling lonely. Learning a new skill is also great for mental well-being. If you’re an older person living locally, we’d encourage you to come along.”

The next First Time for Everything event at Batley Old People’s Centre is a Christmas crafts afternoon on 19th December, from 12.30 to 2.15pm.

Royal Voluntary Service relies on support from local volunteers to help run First Time for Everything events and other social activities, and is looking for more volunteers to join its friendly, dedicated team.

Amanda Stirling says: “For anyone with a few hours to spare, volunteering is a great way to get involved in the local community. Our volunteers are a wonderful bunch of people – many are aged 60 and over - and they really enjoy the buzz they get from helping others.”

For more information about First Time for Everything activities and other services for older people in Kirklees, and to find out more about local volunteering opportunities, contact Royal Voluntary Service on 01924 446100, email: westyorkshirehub@royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk or visit www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/get-help.

Older People In Kirklees Try Tai Chi For The First Time, 29th November 2017, 14:44 PM