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Village hall fitness group tackles local loneliness

Published: 23rd Jan, 2019

Village hall fitness group tackles local loneliness


This week is Village Halls Week, a campaign by national body ACRE and its network (including us!) to celebrate rural community spaces and the people who keep them going.

The 2019 campaign is focusing on how village halls provide a space for communities to come together, something ever more pertinent with the rising number of people affected by loneliness (read about our work to tackle loneliness here).

One community building near Bridgnorth is being used to host a group which helps combat social isolation and health and wellbeing.

Active Friends takes place every Monday afternoon at Chetton Village Hall, an old RAF barracks hut which has been used by the community since 1965.

It was set up to help bring together older local residents in a rural area where houses are scattered and isolated.

The aim of the group is to improve people’s general wellbeing with gentle exercise and give them the chance to socialise with a cup of tea and a chat after.

Since launching in October 2017 it has grown to a healthy membership of 25, and is run by a Pilates instructor with experience in cardiac fitness.

The group has been funded by grants including the Lottery Fund and the Shropshire Grassroots Fund, which Shropshire RCC administers.

Sue Bayliss established the programme after becoming aware of the number of people reporting feelings of isolation and loneliness in the community.

She said: “These sessions have proved invaluable to those who attend. We have a stroke victim, whose confidence and mobility has improved enormously over the last twelve months.

“A lady with dementia also attends, which this gives her husband a couple of hours respite each week.

“Rural isolation and loneliness are a huge problem for areas like ours and there is a real party atmosphere when the refreshments are served!”

Active Friends has also helped to boost the use of the village hall for other events.

Sue added: “It’s made the community aware of what else is on offer at the hall, and the attendance at [touring community film scheme] Flicks in the Sticks has improved, helping the charity that runs that service too.”

For further information on Active Friends please click here and fill out an enquiry form.


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01743 360641