A new series of strength and balance classes designed to help older adults gain confidence by boosting their mobility and helping to maintain independence are being launched across Shropshire.

The Elevate classes, run by active partnership Energize and funded by Shropshire Council, aim to help reduce the risk of falls, taking pressure off the NHS.

They are specifically for people aged 60 or over – and have already helped more than 1,000 people since being launched in 2018.

The new season sees the programme expanding into even more Shropshire communities, with Much Wenlock, Broseley, St Martins and Ellesmere among the locations added to the list for the first time.

There are also classes planned at various locations around Shrewsbury, as well as Ludlow, Oswestry, Pontesbury, Bishop’s Castle, Prees, Bridgnorth, and Church Stretton.

Christina Morgan, Energize’s Elevate project manager, said: “We are so happy to be bringing these Elevate classes back after a challenging couple of years.

“Elevate is an evidence-based programme, proven to increase strength and improve balance, therefore reducing the risk of falls. The classes also address deconditioning post-lockdown, helping to maintain independence and improve overall well-being.”

Latest figures show there were nearly 234,000 emergency hospital admissions across England during 2019/20 amongst people aged 65 and over, as a direct result of falls.

And research shows that, in the year to May 2021, older people experienced a considerable reduction in strength and balance activity as they spent more time at home during the pandemic.

Christina said: “These sessions help to build strength and balance and therefore improve confidence in undertaking daily tasks inside and outside the home. The classes are really helping people to be more confident getting out and about again.

“We are pleased to have new instructors joining us, along with our longstanding instructors who are eager to get started again, and we hope to further expand the number of Elevate classes in the coming months.”

The Elevate classes are available on referral from a GP, health professional or by self-referral.

Anyone interested in the classes must complete a one-page referral form which can be found on the website at energizestw.org.uk/elevate. Alternatively, call the team on 07852 871589 for a form to be posted out, or email elevate@energizestw.org.uk.

Once the completed referral forms have been received, Energize will invite people to attend a pre-class appointment to ensure the class is totally suitable. Most classes are expected to start in April.

Pictured: One of the Elevate classes in progress.