Manchester’s over 55s enjoyed trying Tai Chi for the first time last week at a free outdoor class at Clowes Park, Salford.
The free outdoor Tai Chi class was part of First Time for Everything, a programme designed by Royal Voluntary Service to support health and wellbeing, and supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. First Time for Everything gives people, particularly those that are older or less mobile, opportunities to try new activities in their local community for free.
The First Time for Everything programme launched in 2017. Since then, and thanks to support from Royal Voluntary Service volunteers, more than 685 First Time for Everything events have taken place across Great Britain. Over 9,900 people have come along to date to try new activities like yoga, paddle boarding and IT skills, British Sign Language, treetop trekking and pottery. According to a pre-pandemic participant survey, 93% of respondents said they felt happier after attending a First Time for Everything event and 75% felt more connected to their local community.
Laura Chow, Head of Charities, People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “Staying active and connected to our local community are vitally important to our wellbeing, whatever our age, mobility or circumstances. First Time for Everything is a wonderful way for local people to come together to try something new and have fun. We all need that at the moment and I’m pleased that players of People’s Postcode Lottery are supporting the programme.”
According to new research by Royal Voluntary Service and supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, more than one in four people (28%) aged 55 and over haven’t been able to do any of the things they enjoy doing during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns. Half are looking forward to getting out and about and seeing people as restrictions ease.
Andrea Louden attended the First Time for Everything outdoor Tai Chi class. She said: “I found the taster session enjoyable, relaxing and interesting. Our coach was extremely knowledgeable and provided us with insights into the history of this martial art. It was a lovely afternoon with nice people.”
Karen Kennedy, Royal Voluntary Service activity co-ordinator for Manchester, said: “It was wonderful to see so many people trying Tai Chi for the first time in Clowes Park, particularly as it was a rainy day. Thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, we’ll be offering a wide range of exciting First Time for Everything activities each month at different locations around Manchester.”
For more information about First Time for Everything activities in Manchester, contact Royal Voluntary Service activity coordinator, Karen Kennedy, on tel: 07795 450563, email Karen.Kennedy@royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk
To find out more about local volunteering opportunities with Royal Voluntary Service, visit volunteering.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/volunteering