Chair-based group exercise club Chatter Chairs was set up to help over-50s develop their muscle strength, flexibility and balance, while improving their social connections.
Weekly sessions were established in two delivery areas (with a third session in an additional area introduced after 12 months). A small per-participant fee was introduced to cover ongoing costs. The delivery team reported facing challenges with negotiation of venue hire costs.
The delivery team received help from the Brightlife marketing team to establish and promote the Chatter Chairs brand, including through the development of a distinct logo and visual identity, a professional website and a branded uniform. A professional promotional video was also produced, which was reported to have provided excellent value for money over print marketing.
Participants were recruited through informal referral by pharmacists and physiotherapists, as well as a display advertising campaign in the delivery areas, including leaflets and posters in public and community venues. The delivery team encountered challenges enlisting recruitment support from GP surgery staff and other community health workers, due to privacy rules and an objection to promoting a chargeable service.
During the evaluation, some participants were put off by the ‘intrusive’ questions in the CMF questionnaire and said that they didn’t want to complete a second one. The delivery team reported a reluctance from participants to admit to being lonely, even in cases where they were clearly very socially isolated.