Vitality – Movement to Music for the Over Sixties

Vitality – Movement to Music for the Over Sixties

VITALITY provides movement to music classes for the over sixties and those younger with medical conditions that cannot exercise or take part in similar activities in any other way. We are part of artsNK which deliver visual and performing arts projects, initiatives and events in Lincolnshire.

Our mission is to provide age appropriate, effective, enjoyable physical activity for older people in Lincolnshire, leading to improved health and wellbeing, independent living for longer and decreased social and rural isolation. Vitality supports local and national health initiatives and concentrates on 'improving the health and wellbeing of older people in Lincolnshire' and 'promoting healthier lifestyles'.  The Vitality project delivers exercise and movement to those most in need, sociability in rural communities, physical and psychological benefits, friendship, fun, laughter and most importantly ..... tea, biscuits and a chance to chat.  Vitality is approved by the NHS.

The project is funded primarily though class fee income supported by income from grants.
Vitality has been running since 2003 and in its current rebranded format since 2009. Initially the project was started to deliver gentle seated exercise to the less able, but over the years identified the need for more active exercise and movement for older people. The project has developed and grown to meet this need and now delivers 40 movement to music classes each week in community venues throughout Lincolnshire.  There a three different levels of class; gentle seated, part standing and part seated and fully standing ‘active’ classes. We cater for all abilities and for those with medical conditions that prevents them from exercising and moving in any other way, this includes individuals who are under the age of 60. Our age range is currently 48 to 92 with 84% of our participants between the ages of 61-80. The classes are ongoing throughout the year.  Several Vitality teachers have dance backgrounds and bring their artistic knowledge and experience to the team and their classes when creating routines.

Description of the arts activity

Our activity concentrates on bringing about improvements in physical and mental health and general wellbeing. We use music from all eras to encourage participation and enjoyment. We include dance movements and welcome men and women to the classes.  We use scarves, ribbons, balls and bands to vary the type of exercise and artistic quality.  We structure the classes to include routines and activities that will enhance daily activities, support independent living for longer and provide opportunity for fun and laughter in a relaxed group setting.  The classes encourage sociability and many participants come for the company as much as the activity.

Details of the project participants

Our target population is the over sixties, people at danger of social isolation and younger individuals with medical conditions. Most of our recruitment is by word of mouth although we do use local venues and publications to advertise the classes. Medical professionals can signpost their patients to our classes and we work closely with the respiratory teams, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, cancer and diabetes specialist nurses. GP’s are also aware of our service.

Project management

The project manager leads the team and ensures quality through a well-structured and delivered project with an experienced team of instructors who undergo yearly assessment and regular CPD. Participants pay £4.00 per class or £12.00 for the month.  In areas of deprivation we charge less.  We ask participants to complete a safe to exercise form before starting a class and we ask for DPA and photo consent at the time of completing this form. We carry out risk assessments at each venue and teachers are DBS checked and First Aid trained. We have all policies in place to support safe working and delivery.

Evaluation methods and findings

We are currently involved with the University of Lincoln who are undertaking a research project into the effectiveness of Vitality classes on health, which will be completed in August 2016. We evaluate our project every year through an annual survey which measures improvements in participant’s health and asks for feedback on project delivery and the quality of classes and teachers. The results of the annual survey allows us to review the project, see our success, learn about how our project is being received and make necessary changes to ensure improvements continue. Additionally the survey shows us changes in demographics over the years. We also collect case studies from participants. These show us personal stories of success, of how Vitality has been life changing and how health and wellbeing ambitions have been achieved. 

Supported using public funding by the Arts Council England