A NOVEL way of tackling obesity and helping the elderly at the same time is coming to Warwickshire.
Volunteers are being recruited to run to a pensioner’s home to offer help or just have a chat before running back again. It is part of the national Good Gym scheme which Warwickshire County Council has now adopted.
A council spokesman said: “The Good Gym scheme aims to help tackle growing obesity concerns as well as addressing issues affecting our ageing population, such as loneliness and social isolation.
“Good Gym recruits volunteers. They run to a person’s home or community venue, carry out the agreed task or simply drop in for a social call, and then run home again.
“The model has three main benefits. It encourages people to be active – to run for pleasure, for a purpose, and to make a positive contribution to their community. It taps into unused community capacity to increase local, non-service responses to low-level need. It provides social and practical support to more vulnerable residents, without the need for a public service solution.”
Funding of £23,000 will be used to coordinate, vet, interview and support runners.
The council is also launching a pilot Timebanking project designed to test and establish a new model of community-led support across Warwickshire.
Timebanking is a means of exchange where time is the principal currency. People who spend an hour helping someone out – such as mowing their lawn or doing their shopping – would earn them an hour’s help in return of someone else’s time.
The impact of the initial year-long £75,000 funded pilot will be monitored and provide the basis for decisions about future funding.
Council leader Izzi Seccombe said: “The county council works hard to find new, innovative ways to keep the residents of Warwickshire healthy, supported and independent and these two schemes are designed to do just that.
“These schemes support our vision for the Year of Wellbeing, by inspiring and empowering individuals to take action to support one another, be more physically active and improve their own overall wellbeing, as well as in others.”
Visit www.timebanking.org and www.goodgym.org for further details.