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The first Centipede Club

Today I visited the first meeting of the Centipede Club in Liskeard following months of organisation behind the scenes by various individuals.  The aim is for patients with leg conditions from a nearby surgery to have their legs dressed by nursing staff but not in the GP surgery as you would expect.  The idea is to get patients out of their homes and along to the St Martin's Church Hall where they can have their clinical needs taken care of by healthcare professionals but also to embark on a journey with ActivePlus as part of their ActivePlus in Communities programme. 

As well as having their legs taken care of by the wonderful nurses (hence the name the Centipede Club) they can also gain confidence, increased mobility and socialisation whilst learning new additional skills.  The diverse additional skills are delivered by Mark and Mike from ActivePlus.  As ex-military veterans, both guys have a wealth of knowledge in how to get the best out of people. 

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Not just delivering library books!

Last Friday saw me go out into the community to a lovely little rural hamlet called Bathpool.  I was in search of the Mobile Library Service that goes around the county delivering library books to people who can't get to a main library.  

After around 40 minutes of driving and, having ventured down some very interesting (!) and narrow beautiful country lanes, I arrived at my destination.  Without being able to see where I was going due to the high Cornish hedges, I'd arrived in Bathpool to find a sleepy little hamlet with only a few houses and a few cars.  I then parked up, having found the mobile library van and, on first glance, there was no one to be seen.  (I began wondering why I'd driven for 45 minutes into deepest Cornwall to find there were no customers!)  

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The importance of social conscience

A small inspiring team (Tom, Trudy and Josh) saved their local shop from closure and at the same time began a local delivery service with a difference to their older residents.

Tom didn't want to see his local shop close down and neither did a lot of the residents.  So, helped by an inspiring partnership with Trudy and Josh and funded by locals, they set about a transformation.  With the support from around 300 people they were able to buy the shop and completely turn it around.  They invested in peer-to-peer loans (which means locals get a return on their original investment) but also they introduced a delivery service with a difference.

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Last week I had the privilege to meet two inspirational figures from the community in Redruth.  I'd popped along to Redruth Community Centre to check out the venue for an event and stumbled across a class known as the 'Cardiac Rehab Awareness Support Haven' or 'CRASH' for short. One by one the hall filled up with ladies and gents from the local area - all of whom were in 'later life' - older adults categorised as over 50 to you and me!  They came in their fitness gear armed with water bottles and big smiles.  

I looked around thinking the 'instructor' or rehab therapist will turn up soon and, much to my surprise, was then introduced to Roy and Jim (both in their 70's) who run the class. They told me how they'd met on their own rehab course many years ago and, following sign-off from their respective consultants, then thought well what do we do now? And so, they joined forces with three other members and set up the CRASH group; following input and advice from cardiac rehab therapists, their own group was up and running - that was in 2005.  

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Research research research!

With the second of the four workshops now under my belt, now was the time to do some research.  

Everyone has a story to tell but it always surprises me how some people are happy to tell their's.  This could not be more true than of the lovely lady that I interviewed last week about staying physically active in later life.  There she was, a picture of health - tall, slim and with glowing skin - but then she opened up as to how she'd struggled with her weight for years leading up to her 50s.  This was hard to believe as she now rows, runs, horse-rides, swims and does pilates - in fact, she didn't get into 'sport' until her 60's!  (So it's never too late folks!).  She then mentioned that she also does a spot of gardening - although quite how she finds the time is beyond me.

Read more: Research research research!