When the pandemic hit in early 2020, the negative effects of lockdowns and reduced social contact were quicklyevident, particularly amongst older adults and those classed as clinically vulnerable.
An Age UK survey conducted early in the pandemic found that over a quarter of older adults couldn’t walk as far as they used to and that 1 in 5 felt less steady on their feet which in turn increased their risk of frailty and falling.
1 in 5 felt less steady on their feet
Buckinghamshire Council Public Health team together with organisations from across the Voluntary and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector all wanted to help residents who had become isolated, lonely and had reduced physical fitness from the restrictions imposed.
However the challenge of reaching and supporting so many residents in unprecedented circumstances was far greater than any one organisation could achieve alone.
The answer lay in working together and Leap, working with Buckinghamshire Council led the development of Home Wellbeing Packs which included resources to help people recover that lost physical and emotional wellbeing.
9,500 residents across Buckinghamshire received wellbeing packs
9,500 home wellbeing packs distributed
80% surveyed said the pack improved their mood
1/3 recipients had a long term condition
18% said they were more active asa a result of the contents
What recipients said about the packs
“Less sitting, more dancing in the kitchen.”
“We feel more supported and someone cared.”
After doing the exercises the aching has stopped and I can move freely.”
“I try to build into my daily routine, especially now my exercise class has stopped.”
“Conscious of my diary activity now.”
Collective effort across the health, social care and the charity sector
The home wellbeing packs were co-funded by Sport England’s Tackling Inequality Fund and Buckinghamshire Public Health. Leap staff time was used to manage and coordinate the creation and distribution of the packs. Then Buckinghamshire Council’s Community Boards co-ordinated the delivery effort of packs to residents through over 75 VCSE organisations. This collaborative approach to a project is warmly welcomed by Leap’s Head of Strategic Relationships, Chris Gregory who commented:
“The collaboration across the statutory and VCSE organisations supporting adults in later life has been great to see, we want to particularly thank all the CVSE organisations and the hundreds of volunteers for helping to distribute the packs and for the encouragement they are giving to adults in later life to recover physically and emotionally.”
To increase the usability and knowledge of the packs, Leap offered all the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisations involved a free one hour workshop from Active Medicine programme called ‘Helping People Become Active’.
The workshop helps increase awareness of the benefits of sitting less and moving more to the physical and emotional health of residents and increase confidence of those supporting residents to raise the conversation, provide encouragement and signpost to appropriate local opportunities. So far over 300 resident facing statutory and CVSE roles have taken up the offer and are now part of a movement to recondition Buckinghamshire residents.