Funding aids start of Teesdale armchair exercise group

08 September 2011

A disability group has gained funds from County Durham Community Foundation to run a weekly armchair exercise group for elderly and disabled residents in Teesdale.

Teesdale Disability Access Forum has secured £2,000 of funding from the community foundation for the group to become a permanent feature, following a hugely successful six month pilot project.

The sessions focus on exercises suitable for people who cannot stand to perform normal exercises. They are designed to help decrease blood pressure, body fat, cholesterol and the risks of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and osteoporosis, as well as increasing concentration, energy levels, self-esteem and self-confidence.

The pilot project began in June 2010 and was financed by small fundraising activities. All participants achieved greater flexibility and mobility, and were unanimous in their enthusiasm for its continuation. One gentleman, who has Motor Neurone disease and was previously unable to lift his arms above his waist, can now raise them above his head.

The forum, based in Barnard Castle, was formed in 2000 to discuss and respond to issues and concerns that the disabled and elderly community face. It now offers services including a Wheelchair and Mobility Aid Loan Service, a Health Library and a Thursday Afternoon Club, which provides arts, crafts and activities for elderly people living in isolation, disabled people and those with mild to moderate mental health.

The money makes up just under half of the total budget for one year’s worth of weekly sessions, which includes the costs of transport for participants who would otherwise not be able to attend. The group hopes to secure further funding for the continuation of the project if the monitoring and evaluation process shows it to be successful.

Barbara Gubbins, Chief Executive of County Durham Community Foundation, said:
“This is a great example of a group that is really making a difference to people’s health. Exercise is so important to reducing serious conditions and even gentle exercise helps.”

Anyone interested in applying to County Durham Community Foundation for funding can find more information at