Volunteers encouraged to join project which gives carers free time to stay active

Age UK Norwich is looking for volunteers to join the All About You project. Pictured are: Robin Oakl

Age UK Norwich is looking for volunteers to join the All About You project. Pictured are: Robin Oakley and Shona Heazle with volunteer Angela, Averil and John Lapping. Picture: Age UK Norwich - Credit: Age UK Norwich

Volunteers are being encouraged to join a project which gives carers who look after people with dementia some free time to stay active.

All About You is a partnership between Age UK Norwich and Cotman Housing Association which launched in September last year.

The service sees a volunteer accompany a carer and the person they look after on occasions when the carer takes part in a physical activity or sport.

Under the partnership, which is supported with Lottery funding from Sport England, Age UK Norwich is recruiting and training volunteers who are a key element in making this free service work.

Project co-ordinator Shona Heazle said: "Everyone needs some downtime, and what we've found is that many carers used to enjoy a sport or physical activity but are no longer able to fit it in. Now they can - and we'd like to reach out with this service to even more families.

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"What we are providing is primarily for the carer. It's about improving their own health, having a bit of fun - while knowing that the person they care for is safe and enjoying the time as well."

Robin Oakley, from Norwich, who looks after her mother Churbie full-time uses the break to take a swim.

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She said: "I used to go and get some exercise and leave mum for an hour, but it was always at the back of my mind that 'I must get back'.

"People told me I never seemed relaxed. This project has made a real difference. It just means I can completely unwind, knowing mum is safe. She likes Angela, our volunteer, so I don't have to worry."

Averil Lapping, from Wymondham, looks after her husband, John, a keen guitarist who used to run his own business.

She said: "I like to exercise, and used to go to the gym about four times a week At one stage, I could leave John, but he is starting to wander.

"Now I can go to Wymondham Leisure Centre twice a week again. John comes and sits in the café with Angela, so he is well looked after."

If you are interested in taking part in the project, and you are resident in the Norwich area, contact Shona Heazle at Cotman Housing Association on 01603 731681 or email allaboutyou@cotman-housing.org.uk.

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