After the second time Emma Fisher was made redundant, she decided it was time to change her life so two years ago she retrained as a personal fitness instructor and launched her own business Diva Fitness.
Having noticed that there wasn’t much on offer for the over 50s, Emma took it upon herself to set something up to serve this neglected sector of the community. Finding funds to start her project was proving difficult until Brightlife came along. Chatter Chairs was launched in 2018 – a pioneering form of chair-based exercises using free weights and resistance bands to boost muscle strength and balance.
Emma opened two centres – one in Vicars Cross and the other in Hoole – with the focus on health and making new friendships.
“Muscle weakness and poor balance are the two most common risk factors for falls – which can lead to injuries such as hip fractures and means people are more likely to end up in hospital or need social care,” said Emma. “My classes can help mitigate these risks and it really helps them to regain their confidence – both physically and socially.”
The classes have been a huge hit with the local community. Recently she was delighted to have been awarded a further grant to expand and open a third venue in January 2019 at the newly-built St Mary’s Church centre in Handbridge.“I really enjoy chatting with the other members as well as the exercises that Emma has adapted for me,” said Jo Swift, 55. “I’m in a wheelchair so, when the other members are doing their leg exercises, Emma has devised extra ones that I can do with my upper body.”For ninety-three-year-old Mary Maddocks it’s her only weekly outing. “I can move better now and feel much more supple,” she says. “I really enjoy the company and Emma is friendly and gives clear instructions.”
Since starting, Emma has helped over 85 older people regain their strength and flexibility by adapting the class to suit individual needs – reaching out to those with Parkinson’s disease, Spina Bifida and even dementia. “It’s a fantastic way to bring older people in the community together while improving their health and wellbeing,” she says. The social benefits are a huge draw and 70-year-old Celia Powell, whose knee has improved significantly since she’s been going, describes the classes as “a lovely social get together”. “It’s everything I needed and more!,” she says.
The Brightlife Team is working closely with our lead body Age UK Cheshire on an integrated approach to responding to Covid-19.
Together we have set up a Community Response Team that covers four geographical areas across Cheshire. The Community Response Team has established a single point of contact telephone line to provide support for older people with: