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Derbyshire falls prevention programme shortlisted for award thanks to Covid-19 work

A falls prevention project has been shortlisted for a prestigious national public health award.

Our Strictly No Falling service is delivered by Age UK Derby and Derbyshire. It’s a community falls exercise prevention programme that works with people at particular risk of falls.

The project has been shortlisted for the national Royal Society of Public Health’s Health at Every Age award thanks to the innovative work carried out during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Around 1 in 3 people aged over 65 will fall each year which results in 11,000 ambulance call-outs each year across Derbyshire.

Cabinet Member for Health and Communities, Councillor Carol Hart said:

“Falls can significantly contribute to a loss of independence and reduced physical and mental wellbeing for older people.

“Working to prevent people from falling can help ensure that people stay happy, healthy, and independent in their own home for as long as possible.

“We’re delighted that the marvellous work that the UK Derby and Derbyshire is doing has been recognised nationally.”

During the Covid-19 pandemic the Strictly No Falling programme made more than 40,000 contacts with people.

The programme includes chair-based exercise sessions which are designed to improve strength and balance that in turn leads to a reduction in falls.

A wide range of different methods were used to make sure that people could continue to receive support during the pandemic.

Options included online Zoom exercise classes, one-to-one phone calls, an informal buddying support system, WhatsApp groups, and CDs and booklets as well as a YouTube channel featuring exercise sessions.

Age UK also worked with local radio stations to deliver daily chair-based exercise sessions over the radio.

All participants were sent a support pack at the start of the lockdown which included an exercise band, instructional booklet, homework diary and Age UK magazine.

Katy Pugh, Chief Executive of Age UK Derby and Derbyshire said:

“Our Strictly No Falling team always work hard but Covid-19 brought unprecedented challenges.

“We supported older people, maintained their physical and emotional strength and balance and developed our capacity to deliver falls prevention work in the future.

“I’m so proud of our SNF team and feel they thoroughly deserve to be shortlisted – not just because of what they have achieved but because of the way they have done it”.

Evaluation of the project shows that 82% of participants said they were more active than they would have been without their instructor’s support.

A class attendee said:

“I really look forward to these classes knowing that we’re all doing it at the same time. For a while I don’t feel so isolated.”

As a result of this work Age UK Derby and Derbyshire has been shortlisted for the national Royal Society of Public Health Award Health at Every Age award.

The winner will be announced at a ceremony in London on 21 October.

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