Mirfield Salvation Army opens health suite for older people
published on 20 Nov 2023
A new gym to help improve health and tackle loneliness and isolation in older people has opened at Mirfield Salvation Army.
Teaming up with social enterprise Legacy Active Communities, part of the church and community hall in Huddersfield Road has been partitioned off to create a fitness and wellbeing area equipped with state-of-art machines aimed at people who are 55 and over. Gym instructors are also on hand to provide guidance and training.
Officially opening earlier this month, the gym has the stamp of approval from local MP Kim Leadbeater, who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Sport.
It forms part of a programme of activities at the church and charity aimed at supporting older people in the community.
Ali Thornton-Dean, The Salvation Army’s outreach mission partner for older people, said: “We are an ageing society and as we age and live longer, we need to live well and live better so that means exercise, eating healthily and looking after ourselves.
“This beautiful expression in Mirfield promotes health and helps fight loneliness and isolation. The gym is set out so beautifully, people can exercise and talk to each other at the same time. It ticks every box in helping to improve the wellbeing of older people, I think it’s wonderful.”
The gym will be open Monday to Friday from 9am to 3.30pm with staff available during those times. It is partitioned off so offers privacy for people who may be anxious about using a gym for the first time.
It will run alongside Salvation Army coffee mornings and a warm welcome space so gym goers will be encouraged to stay and have a coffee, chat and explore potential volunteering opportunities with The Salvation Army.
Major Andrea Still, Mirfield church leader, said: “Our whole ethos as a church is to share life together with a focus on older people and families, so we hope that this space will help us to do that. It’s a great opportunity to get people through our doors as well as work with local partners like Legacy Active Communities.
“People using the gym can come through to our community hall and have a coffee and join in with the other activities we already have at Mirfield Salvation Army. We are hoping it helps people interact and build relationships.”
Shaun Fox, CEO of Legacy Active Communities, said: “We want to help people to be independent and stay in their homes for longer by improving health and wellbeing. One of the stories that sticks with me from a previous project is a client who said using the gym had helped make her home bigger because she could now reach the top and the bottom shelves in her cupboards, which she struggled with before. These machines are designed for older people to help them use muscles in a way that will help them day-to-day.
“We have already had 25 people sign up which is really encouraging. Our exercise suite has a different feel to a typical commercial gym. It’s an exercise facility, but also a social area so we think combining the two will make a real difference to the people of Mirfield. Working together with partners like The Salvation Army and Innerva, a local company who built the equipment, will make a success of this project.”
Mirfield Salvation Army also runs a food bank, uniform exchange, a ‘Boogie Tots’ parent and toddler group, coffee morning, warm welcome space, Sunday worship, all age holiday craft cafes, and chair-based exercise classes with plans for messy church and more activities for older people in the coming weeks.
If you are interested in signing up to the gym you can do so at The Salvation Army or by contacting Legacy Active Communities via phone 07395 374415 or email@example.com.