August 2022
Halo Leisure welcomes the 200th participant to its Feel Good for Life programme in Bridgend County

07 Jun 2022

What started off as the Dementia Friendly swimming initiative in 2019 (latterly renamed Feel Good for Life) by the Social Enterprise and charity organisation - Halo Leisure. This programme has been an overwhelming success for all involved - the people living with dementia and their carers - such is the popularity of the programme, it has just welcomed Gwyn Powell as its 200th user!

After suffering a recent loss in the family, Gwyn Powell, 79, was referred to the programme by the Cwm Taf Morgannwg Community Dementia Team. The programme has had a massive impact on Gwyn's confidence. He looks forward to attending the weekly sessions that include activities such as quizzes, bingo, and crafts - his favourite being in the ukulele band and swimming every week.

This programme has been made possible with the funding from National Lottery Community Fund and Bridgend County Borough Council with practical support from Awen Cultural Trust and the Alzheimers Society.

In response to the Covid lockdown, Halo introduced its Feel Good for Life digital programme supporting vulnerable people, including those with complex health conditions and their carers, to stay physically active and stay connected via online exercise.. Internet access, and training were provided to some of Halo's most vulnerable customers, when they could not travel to their local leisure centre. This was made possible with support from Bridgend County Borough Council, as well as the Welsh Government's Voluntary Services Emergency Fund, administered by the Wales Council for Voluntary Action, and working with Digital Communities Wales, to help to bring about digital inclusion in the county borough.

Halo Active Communities Manager Ryan Statton said: "The popularity of the Feel Good for Life programme has shown the extent of the need, particularly since Covid, and 200 people like Gwyn have benefitted and been supported in the last 12 months alone.

With the number of people supported with dementia in Bridgend County anticipated to grow to over 3000 by 2030, that has got to be important for the future of the leisure sector and the future of our county's health.

When the scheme was first launched, Halo worked hard to identify potential users and understand their needs to ensure the environment and activities were accessible, appropriate, and, most importantly, fun. The approach has further developed and the Feel Good for Life Participants Panel gives everyone involved an opportunity to have their say.

Rosa, an unpaid carer said, “Seeing so many animated, laughing faces is brilliant after so long of being shut away, we haven’t laughed so much in ages". The outstanding contribution the programme is making to the lives of local families living with dementia has been recognised nationally when the programme was awarded the prestigious Community Leisure UK’s Award - 'Community Impact through Physical Activity’ for its 'Feel Good for Life' programme, dementia friendly activities.

“Supporting 200 families and individuals makes us proud and we are excited to welcome the next 200 to the programme!”


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