New activity sessions aimed at helping people with Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson’s Disease to get mobile and meet others living with the same long term conditions are being launched in the East Riding.
The weekly ‘Grin and Tonic’ activity sessions will start at East Riding Leisure Beverley from Wednesday 18 January, 1-2pm and at East Riding Leisure Haltemprice, from Friday 20 January, 11am-12noon.
The sessions, which are being funded by Public Health and run by the East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Sport, Play and Arts Service, will be free of charge for the first ten weeks.
Adults of all abilities can join the fun and friendly sessions, which will include such activities as boccia, ten-pin bowling, new age kurling, table tennis and quizzes, and will be particularly suited to those living with Parkinson’s and MS.
The council have been working with Parkinson’s UK and the MS Society to deliver these sessions which are thought to be the first of their kind for the East Riding.
Councillor Jonathan Owen, chair of the East Riding’s health and wellbeing board, said:
“This is the first time that the council has teamed up with Parkinson’s UK and the MS Society to deliver activity sessions like this, so it is very much a pioneering project for the local area which is aimed at demonstrating that a condition such as Parkinson’s or MS does not necessarily have to prevent someone staying active and socialising.
“The feedback received so far from taster sessions has been incredibly positive so we hope many more people will now give it a go and find out how these activities can benefit them.”
Tracy Westgarth, of charity Parkinson’s UK, said:
“Parkinson’s UK is working very hard to provide a menu of choice for people so they can exercise. Exercise is one of our key priorities alongside social activity and therapeutic activity, with our ultimate aim being that no-one should face Parkinson’s alone.
“The aim of the ‘Grin and Tonic’ sessions is to provide activities that enable people to move more, feel motivated and to meet like-minded people, in the hope that people will then feel inspired to exercise independently and reduce the isolation that people with Parkinson’s can often feel.”
Initially being run as a pilot scheme, if successful it is hoped that the sessions will be rolled out across the East Riding so everyone can feel the benefits.
One participant, Ricky, who has attended a ‘Grin and Tonic’ taster session, said:
“I was a bit apprehensive about attending because my mobility is not very good but I needn’t have worried at all. The tutors were fantastic; they were always there when I needed any help, always up for a laugh and wanted to make sure we enjoyed ourselves which I really did.”
Another participant, John, said:
“The staff were first-class and extremely patient and caring, as well as mildly encouraging. I did not feel under any pressure and attempted things I didn’t think I could do. I’m now really looking forward to the next session.”
The sessions are part of the council’s mobile health programme ‘Let’s Get Moving’ which aims to promote independence, increase activity levels and reduce social isolation by offering fun and informal activity sessions for over 50s and adults with disabilities.
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