Greenfields Community Housing is on the look-out for volunteers to lead its chair-based exercise classes (CBE), which take place in a variety of locations across the Braintree District and can have life-changing results.
The prescribed, adaptable exercises improve mobility, help to prevent falls and maintain independence, as well as reducing loneliness and isolation. Jane McClure, a 49-year-old Greenfields resident and CBE leader who lives in Halstead, credits the classes for helping her to manage her disability, following a freak accident four years ago; and for inspiring her to launch her own successful business.
Jane recalls the painful accident: “In 2014, my daughter and I were moving into a new home in Braintree when I slipped on the stairs, rupturing my Achilles tendon. I didn’t walk again for nearly two years.”
Jane was lucky enough to receive a transplant of her tendon, which helped to improve her mobility, but the accident left her permanently disabled. She moved into a Greenfields home in Halstead in 2015, as she was no longer able to work whilst recovering:
“I found out about Greenfields’ chair-based exercise classes and I thought they sounded ideal for me, as I’m quite limited on the type of exercise I can do. I went to my first class later that year at Halstead Leisure Centre and loved it. I then decided to become a “buddy” and was trained by Greenfields to become a “leader” of classes in Halstead and Braintree.”
Jane was then approached by Uttlesford District Council, who were impressed with her caring and encouraging style, and asked her to run her own class in Saffron Walden. Jane now runs another six successful classes across Essex, and is very touched by the difference her classes can make to people’s lives:
“Thanks to CBE, for the first time, a grandad managed to help himself out of his seat and over to the dinner table on Christmas Day. And one lady used to fall several times a day. Now when she goes to fall, she is able to steady herself and stop it. And for me, personally, if I didn’t do it, I’d be back to using a walking stick.
I love going home at the end of the day and thinking: “Today, I made somebody’s life a little bit better.”
James Taylor, Greenfields’ Health and Wellbeing Coordinator, mentors and trains his team of CBE Leaders: “Volunteers have found the experience to be extremely rewarding and confidence-building. They are given the opportunity to learn new skills, gain qualifications, help others to develop their confidence & mobility, and to make a real difference to the lives of people living in the Braintree District. Anyone interested in this fantastic opportunity – whether they’re a Greenfields resident or not – can contact James on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01376 535400 ext. 5656.”