Older people in the community across Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven are benefiting from an exercise group to support mental health. Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust’s charity, Better Lives and Skipton Charitable Foundation funded the equipment for the group.

The exercise group is a physiotherapy led group for older people diagnosed with mental health conditions. The aim is to promote physical activity and to socialise for health and wellbeing benefits.

Heidi Thomas, Allied Health Professions Lead for Older Peoples Mental Health at the Care Trust said: “The group is a socially inclusive group where we encourage laughter and chatting to establish friendships, as social activity is key to healthy aging. Topics discussed range from politics to football team results, decorating and gardening to the latest news and fashion; nothing is off the table.

“We meet weekly and go through some strength and balance exercises to help prevent falls, keep people physically active, maintain independence and promote bone health through strengthening exercises using therabands and weights funded through charitable donations.”

Jack Beck, who attends the group, said: “I really enjoy coming to the group as it’s a lovely bunch of people who are welcoming and friendly, they chat to you like you are a real person and everyone is always pleased to see you, everyone gets a turn to talk, but there is no pressure if you don’t want to. Attending is the highlight of my week; I miss it when I don’t come. I never feel like I am an old man when I’m in the group.”

The charity raises funds to enhance patient care and go over and above the core services offered. Find out more about the charity: www.bdct.nhs.uk/better-lives-charity/.