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The get-fit plan which is coming to Sunderland doorsteps - and there's a cuppa waiting for you afterwards

A campaign to bring exercise to thousands of Wearside homes has been revealed – and it is coming to your doorstep.

Thursday, 28th April 2022, 4:55 am

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It plans to get residents, especially older people, up and active in their own street with a cup of tea or coffee on offer afterwards.

The project is called the Well Bean Machine and it has received £47,000 funding from UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Healthy Ageing Challenge to start up in Sunderland.

It will be run by a community organisation called Active Families North East and will be targeting 10,000 households across Sunderland.

The new Well Bean Machine project which has been unveiled for Sunderland.

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The Well Bean machine comes packed full of exercise and activity equipment.

The Active Families programme has trainers who will carry out their popular on-street fitness classes for older residents. They will also provide additional health support and opportunities for social interaction.

Kelly Brougham, Director at Active Families, said: “Supporting and improving the lives of older people is something we’ve always been committed to through our work at Active Families North East.

“It can be incredibly isolating for older people in general, in addition to the circumstances inflicted by the pandemic and we knew we needed to offer something innovative and different to encourage more social interaction, while also helping residents to stay healthy and have a bit of fun.

(L-R) Jack Desmond, David Houghton, Allan Curtis, Jo Buckley

“We feel the Well Bean machine does just that and we can’t wait to hit the streets of Sunderland and get individuals involved in the activities we have planned.”

One of the classes will be the Seat to Street programme which allows older people to sit in their doorways and take part in instructor-led classes.

Active Families North East will also be offering health assessments, free resources and equipment packs with ‘at-home’ exercises to try.

George MacGinnis, Healthy Ageing Challenge Director at UKRI, said: “Social enterprises like Active Families are playing an important part in addressing inequalities in healthy longevity, yet recent research has highlighted the difficulties they face in raising funds to grow.

The team which is bringing the Well Bean Machine project to Sunderland.

“The ‘Well Bean Machine’ is a great example of the innovation and imagination the social enterprise sector brings in tackling some of our society’s most difficult issues”

This is not the only campaign run by Active Families North East. It worked with other organisations to offer a Winter Support Scheme to people living in former coalfield areas of Sunderland. It helped them to cope with the rising costs of fuel and food.

So far, the group has helped over 1,000 households with plans to help even more residents in the coming months.

Kelly added: “We’ve had a very busy start to the year, but it’s our ultimate goal to help Sunderland residents stay healthy and active and provide the support needed to help families cope with the rising costs of living.

Ready to get you active. The Well Bean Machine team.

“As well as our Winter Support Scheme and Well Being Machine we also have our regular programme of fitness classes, family activities, care home seated exercise classes and school camps which you can find out more about on our website.”

To learn more about Active Families North East and get involved with their upcoming events and programmes, visit: https://activefamiliesne.co.uk

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