The UK has an ageing population – people are living longer due to better health treatments and lifestyles – and North Kensington is no different. With this good news, however, comes a greater responsibility to make sure people are comfortable and able to lead fulfilling lives.
Open Age is a charity based in west London that provides opportunities for people over 50 to stay active and develop new and stimulating interests and works at 60 different sites in the area.
We provide over 350 weekly activities ranging from working with computers to learning a new language and various physical activities as well
,explains Open Age’s Head of Physical Activity Deryn Bath.
The incredible range of opportunities for older people, which includes dance, yoga, walking groups, employment programmes, creative arts and more, aims to provide for a range of abilities and interests. As exemplified by their Step Up For Steady programme, funded by a Westway Trust grant.
“This fills a gap for people who are more able for instance than a chair exercise class however can’t get on the floor to do a yoga or pilates class, or don’t have the coordination or reactions to keep up with a zumba class,” says Deryn, who trained as a biokineticist in her native South Africa.
Participants must pass the Steady and Stable programme first, and then Step Up For Steady “provides them an opportunity to continue the good work they’ve done, continue to maintain their strength and their balance.”
Deryn enjoys working in the North Kensington area “because of the diversity of people living and working in the area - all ages, races, cultures.” The projects she runs also help people get out and meet up with others, she says: “I do hope that this programme can keep going forever because it helps people, as well as the physical fitness they maintain, it helps them make friends so there’s huge social aspect in these classes.”