Barrow locals take control of their wellbeing

Barrow locals have begun training to lead activities to improve the health and happiness of local communities as part of a scheme to reduce social isolation in Barrow in Furness.

‘Furness Wellness Days’ which take place on Tuesdays and Fridays at Walney Cottage, Barrow-in-Furness were introduced to bring local communities together to promote health and wellbeing through a range of different activities. Originally available on Tuesday’s, the ‘Furness Wellness Days’ are now running on Fridays too due to popular demand.

The initiative was launched following conversations with members of the public who all explained that happiness improves their ability to manage their own illness.

Dr Farhan Amin, GP at Burnett Edgar Medical Centre in Walney, said: “Furness Wellness Days give the people of Barrow in Furness a place to engage with their local community, have coffee and lunch together, and lead and participate in various activities that help them achieve happiness and independence.”

Every Tuesday approximately 50 people of all ages gather at Walney Cottage to take part in a variety of activities on offer including chair yoga, pilates, meditation and reflexology. Attendance at the Friday sessions continues to increase as more people are made aware of them.

Betty Ducie, community member from Walney who attends the Furness Wellness Days said: “Its good fun, it`s exercise and we get to meet people!”

Anne Cottam, who also attends the days, said: “It’s very good exercise. I haven’t been able to touch my toes in years until I started coming to these classes.”

The activities and therapies were initially available thanks to facilitators from external organisations including Christine Kay Wellness and the World Health Innovation Summit (WHIS). As part of the second phase of the programme, the external facilitators are training local people so that they have the knowledge, skills and confidence to deliver the sessions themselves.

Following feedback from attendees, local volunteers have developed a transport scheme where local people are collected at their doorsteps and taken to and from the wellness sessions.

There are plans to roll out the ‘Furness Wellness Days’ to four additional areas within Barrow in Furness to enable more community participation.

All are welcome to attend, there is no need to book in advance.