Help provide an extra pair of hands to aid the elderly this Christmas

Age UK Balance and Stability class for older people to improve coordination and balance. From left volunteer Amy Crammond and staff teacher Nicola Bruce
Age UK Balance and Stability class for older people to improve coordination and balance. From left volunteer Amy Crammond and staff teacher Nicola Bruce
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A busy mum-of-two is using her passion for fitness to help elderly people stay active.

Amy Crammond, volunteers at Age UK South Tyneside’s Balance and Stability classes twice a week in Hebburn and Boldon.

Age UK Balance and Stability class for older people to improve coordination and balance. staff teacher Nicola Bruce

Age UK Balance and Stability class for older people to improve coordination and balance. staff teacher Nicola Bruce

The full-time self-employed businesswoman is studying for a degree in health sciences online with the Open University and wants to use her interest in fitness to benefit the borough’s elderly folk.

Volunteers like Amy are needed as part of Age UK campaign No One Should Have No One - urging people to help the charity, particularly by getting involved with its befriending service, which puts volunteers in contact with lonely older people.

The 32-year-old teaches as class at Glen Medical Centre, in Hebburn, on a Monday and at Boldon Community Centre on a Wednesday and loves it.

“Six to seven people come along to the classes,” Mrs Crammond said.

Age UK Balance and Stability class for older people to improve coordination and balance. volunteer Amy Crammond

Age UK Balance and Stability class for older people to improve coordination and balance. volunteer Amy Crammond

“We get referrals all the time, but have to keep the classes quite small because the people we teach are quite unstable and we have to be in control.

“The classes are run by Nicola Bruce and I support the sessions. I stand behind people to make sure they don’t fall and join in the exercises to help with techniques and make sure everyone is doing it properly so they don’t get injured.

“I also work one-on-one. I love it because I am interested in the fitness of older people. I think we could use a few more volunteers who would enable us to be a lot more hands on. ”

Teacher Nicola Bruce, Health and Wellbeing manager for Age UK South Tyneside, said she needs volunteers like Amy to make the classes more accessible to older people.
“Amy is really reliable and very good at her role,” she said.

Age UK Balance and Stability class for older people to improve coordination and balance. From left staff teacher Nicola Bruce  and volunteer Amy Crammond

Age UK Balance and Stability class for older people to improve coordination and balance. From left staff teacher Nicola Bruce and volunteer Amy Crammond

“It is definitely important to get more volunteers just to make it more accessible to older people.”

Please help

Christmas is supposed to be the happiest time of the year as we enjoy festive cheer with our families and friends.

But for many elderly folk across Tyneside, it can be a very lonely time.

In South Tyneside Age UK estimate that the borough is the 15th most lonely borough out of the 326 local authority areas in England. Age UK says some senior citizens in South Tyneside can go for a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member. The Shields Gazette is teaming up with Age UK’s team in the town to launch our No One Should Have No One campaign - urging people to help the charity, particularly by getting involved with its befriending service, which puts volunteers in contact with lonely older people. Age UK is also calling for local and national government action to recognise loneliness as a serious health hazard and put policies in place to tackle it. It is asking the public to sign its loneliness petition to make sure no one has no one.

It wants to see the Government and South Tyneside Council develop strategies to map, prevent and address loneliness; evaluate and improve existing services to combat loneliness; and invest in testing and evaluating innovative solutions to loneliness.

To sign the petition online or donate to Age UK, visit the charity’s website.

Alternatively, click here to get a printable version of the petition to sign and send in – get your friends to sign it too.

To get involved in volunteering, contact Age UK South Tyneside on: 0191 4566903