Two new classes aimed at older folk have been lined up for Barnard Castle’s arts centre this autumn as officials continue efforts to attract more people through the doors.

Singing for Fun, led by Jane Ford, and Falling on Your Feet, run by Helix Arts, have been made possible thanks to funding via the County Durham Community Foundation. Both classes will start at The Witham in September.

Susan Coffer, manager at The Witham, said they were part of ongoing efforts to live up to the complex’s role as a community arts centre.

“In reality, what does that mean?

“One of the key things is how to we get more people using our resources on a more regular basis.”

Organising an ever increasing number of activities in the first floor Witham room was one way of doing that, she explained.

“We have the scope and the capacity to do more in The Witham room,” she said.

“I want that space occupied every day for the whole age range.”

Singing for Fun is for over 55s and Ms Coffer said the emphasis would be just a much on the social aspect of the group as the music.

“There is a huge amount of research around saying how music improves your wellbeing and your mood.

“You don’t have to be a singer or have experience. It is about joining like-minded people, having a cup of tea and possibly creating friendships.”

Session will be just £2 and will include refreshments.

Falling on Your Feet uses dance to help those over 65 who are beginning to struggle with their mobility.

Ms Coffer said the sessions have been tried and tested in other areas of the North East and are aimed at those living independently.

“It is a movement project. It is not keep fit, but uses elements of dance to improve core stability.”

Sessions will be run twice a week – Tuesday and Fridays – and although free, places are limited to 15. Falling on Your Feet will continue into the new year, when sessions will be held weekly.

Ms Coffer added: “Over a period of time, we are traying to achieve our aim of this building being active and that there is a reason to come into the building every day of the week. We are not there yet, but we are widening our reach.”

For more details on both classes, go to www.the witham.org.uk or call 01833 631107.

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