One grassroots programme which has been most effective in helping to improve the physical activity of aged participants is the “Love to Move” Programme, run by Springfield Charitable Association in Belfast.
Using a resource instruction booklet and guidelines designed by the British Gymnastics Foundation, the Association ran what was originally a 12 week pilot programme, funded through Sport Northern Ireland for older people, many of whom are living with dementia. ‘Love to move’ helped to recover and develop the participants’ motor skills and eye to hand co-ordination through a range of fun-based light activity sessions.
The Programme proved extremely successful. Numbers participating have grown to 27 people with a range of debilitating conditions. More importantly, however, there was a tangible improvement in the capabilities of those taking part, as they were encouraged and supported to develop at their own pace, with activities designed to meet their specific needs and abilities. Additional funding has subsequently been obtained through Sport NI to extend the Programme at Springfield through to March 2020.