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East London Pensioners Keep Fit

Zibiah Loakthar, Cuimnhe Volunteer Coordinator writes:

“It was really great to join the Irish Pensioners’ Forum of East London at Durning Hall, Forest Gate today for the first of three fitness exercise sessions being organised by Chris O’Reilly with support from our Irish in Britain Cuimhne treasure chest scheme.

This group is run by volunteers and holds lively well attended tea dances open to all every first Thursday of the month.

Mary Tilki and I visited this group last year and enjoyed a day of fruitful discussion together within our workshop on Understanding Memory Loss and Dementia.  As a group we discussed positive steps that we can all take – such as exercising and healthy eating, to stay healthy and active and reduce the risk or delay the onset of dementia.

We have been delighted that this group have been keen to take forward learning from the training and so proactive in putting ideas into practice. It is expertly coordinated by treasurer and Cuimhne Champion Chris O’Reilly, with support from group members and other volunteers including John and Ann O’Connor. Many more members from East London Irish Pensioners have taken part in discussion about memory loss this year and are helping open up conversations about dementia within the community.

sueThe group applied for an Irish in Britain Cuimhne treasure chest to continue the work and led by Chris, have set up three fitness sessions, open to all and led by Sue, a fitness coach with over 20 years experience working with groups of all ages.

This week ten of us, ranging from our 40s to our 90s, came together on a very hot day to enjoy an hour of indoor exercising together to lively music.  Sue made the session great fun and ensured everyone exercised safely.  

The hour was very well paced, with short breaks for juice and water, and involved moving around the room, dancing and stretching, group circle and paired activities as well as chair–based and wall–based exercise. Some of the exercises were designed to get our hearts working, whilst others were great for coordination and the brain.   

Wobbling on one foot, I had to chuckle hearing Sue remind us that  “coordination is a skill – if  you don’t use it you lose it”!!

Everyone was very supportive of each other and it was a lovely group session full of care and good humour.

The next session will run on Thursday 14 June at Durning Hall, Forest Gate and will be open to everyone to come and try. 

One of the participants today said, “this was great – good to do something a bit different”. 

Come along and try something a bit different in good company with us next time!

Irish Pensioners’ Forum run regular Keep Fit classes, Tea Dances on the first Thursday of the month and on 20 June there’s aday trip to Clacton–on–Sea (£5) email Irish Elders for more details. 

If you would like more information about our Cuimhne Champion programme of training and support for groups, or find out how you can offer your support or be supported to set up activities for a group in your area please do give us a call at Irish in Britain or email champions@irishinbritain.org

We are pleased to be able to continue to offer support to groups across London thanks to City Bridge Trust, and to groups beyond London with the support of the Irish Post.