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Hull’s rugby league clubs are putting aside their rivalry to join forces and support older people in Hull to feel happier and healthier as part of new wellbeing initiative; ‘Our Best Years’. The programme aims to offer inclusive opportunities for older fans to meet new people and participate in a range of activities which promote a healthy lifestyle.

Hull KR Foundation and Hull FC Community Foundation have partnered with Age UK Hull and Pickering & Ferens Homes to deliver this new initiative, which is part of NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group funded programme; ‘Teaming up for Health’.

Our Best Years welcomes every older fan, regardless of ability, to join what will be primarily conversation-led sessions, incorporating a mixture of light, appropriate exercises, such as chair exercises and tai chi.

Maisie Malton, Head of Health and Wellbeing, Hull FC Community Foundation and Ian Spencer, Community Integrated Manager, Hull KR Foundation, have spearheaded this new project. They said: “With the Covid-19 pandemic, we recognise that rates of loneliness and isolation have increased significantly amongst older people in our community. Having worked together to support a high number throughout the pandemic, we have been able to learn what challenges older people are facing and what activities they would like to access. In presenting ‘Our Best Years’, we have shaped a project that offers inclusive physical activity and social development opportunities such as arts and crafts, music, poetry reading, bingo, quizzes and reminiscence with ex-players.”

Older rugby fans are now invited to a launch event on Friday 11 March, 10:30am to 1:30pm, in the Community Hub at MKM Stadium, where they will get a taster session of the new programme, take a look back and remember games from the past and have the unique opportunity to mingle with club legends past and present.

As part of the event, attendees will be treated to a buffet, activities and games and learn all about how to get involved in future sessions. No booking is required to attend.

Erica Daley, Interim Chief Operating Officer, NHS Hull CCG said: “Our Teaming up for Health partnership has provided an opportunity to engage with countless people in our city to promote healthy lifestyles and tackle inequalities. The two foundations have already made a huge difference in our communities, and I’m delighted to see the Our Best Years project come to life to promote physical activity and emotional wellbeing for our older generation in Hull.”

Kellyjo Fletcher, Charity Activities Co-ordinator, Age UK Hull said: “This is a great way to reduce loneliness and social isolation amongst the older people in Hull and we are grateful for the opportunity to work with such great partners to make this happen. These sessions will form part of our proposal to improve wellbeing for older people across the city.”

Free transport to and from the sessions is available for those who require it, and regular cleaning and hand sanitiser will be in place to make the sessions as safe as possible for everyone attending.

Claire Champlin, Health and wellbeing Co-ordinator, Pickering and Ferens Homes said: “We are proud to support the Our Best Years project. This is a great opportunity for our older people to have the links within their local community to be a part of the history of our two great rugby clubs Hull FC and Hull KR. The sessions will open up conversation about the good old days, increase better physical and mental wellbeing and reduce loneliness and isolation in the ageing population.”

Following the launch event, regular sessions will take place three times a week across the East and West of the city. No booking is required.

  • Every Monday at Hebrides Close, East Hull HU9 3LF, 1.30pm-3.30pm
  • Every Tuesday at West Garth Ave Pop-In, West Hull, HU6 8LS, 1pm-3pm
  • Every Friday at the MKM Stadium Community Hub, West Park, 10.30am-12.30am

For more information on the project, please email maisie.malton@hullfc.com or ian.spencer@hullkr.co.uk.

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