EMD UK supports development of a chair-based seated exercise DVD for residents in care homes

The Medau Society has been supported by EMD UK to develop a chair-based seated exercise DVD for residents in care homes.  The project was made possible by funding from Sport England’s Tackling Inequalities Fund, which had been allocated £20m  of National Lottery money.  Chair of the Medau Society, Barbara Rose, tells us about the project –

‘When EMD UK sent the alert that Sport England (SE) were launching a Covid-related Tackling Inequalities Fund, I was reluctant to apply as had not been successful with earlier applications for SE Covid-related funds.

However, encouraged by EMD UK’s Head of Sales and Marketing, Brett Pearson, we went ahead with a project to distribute a Medau chair-based exercise double DVD to care homes via Caring UK magazine.  Our aim was to bring a little light relief and fun to those who had suffered (and continue to suffer) greatly from lockdown rules and who were still unable to see family and friends face to face.  The benefits of group exercise have long been proved as enriching the quality of life as well as improving mobility, strength and coordination.  During these strange and scary Covid times, the mental health benefits of exercise are ever more significant too.

To our great delight the project was accepted and funding from SE and the Lottery Fund ensued.  Obviously, being granted public money meant that many hoops had to be jumped through, protocols observed and stringent budget controls imposed.  We decided we would record six 30-minute sessions taken by three senior Medau trainers:  Margaret Charlwood, Jo Power and Jane Seyler as each has their own teaching style and would offer variety and colour.  Each of them, whilst admitting it was a challenge, accepted readily.  Because Medau teachers are trained to be creative in their own right and are free to pursue our Medau teaching method in their own way, each Medau session is fresh and original;  there are no routines and the variety of music and rhythm means nothing becomes stale.

By the time lockdown eased in early July, we were ready to explore suitable venues for filming.  Coltsford Mill in Oxted, Surrey was our final choice – a picturesque venue with good facilities for filming the sessions.   The videographer, Alex Boundy (In the Loop Films) had been booked and arrangements made for the distribution of the DVD.

On the day of filming in early September, we met in the car park and all of us admitted to an almost sleepless night – this was unchartered territory for us all.  In the event, Alex was absolutely charming and put everyone at their ease.

As an ‘official observer and timekeeper’, I was proud and thrilled to watch our teachers ‘perform’ virtually without a hitch – it was amazing and incredibly exciting.  We had tentatively thought that we might have to book an extra morning at least for ‘re-takes’ but the teaching was flawless.  The excitement and feeling of accomplishment meant the adrenaline was running high:  if only we could have hugged each other in celebration!

The double DVD was distributed with the November issue of Caring UK Magazine and the feedback has been amazingly positive.  Without being complacent, I think we can safely say ‘Mission Accomplished’ and it is immensely gratifying to learn from the staff at the care homes that their residents and, in fact, the staff, are really enjoying the exercises and love the fact that the variety etc means they can tailor each session to specific groups and their needs.

Biggest thanks are due to Brett and also to Sarah Leeves and Faye Downey all of EMD UK for their help, support and encouragement.  The Medau Society is a Founder Member of EMD UK and is a 100% voluntary organisation so professional input is particularly valuable.  Here’s to the next project . . . ‘