A catch up with our Love to Move Manager

Last year we were delighted to announce that we had received nearly £500,000 of National Lottery funding from Sport England to help expand our Love to Move programme.

Love to Move is an age and dementia friendly cognitive enhancement seated gymnastics programme which is transforming the lives of those taking part, and the funding will assist a four-year project to develop and expand it.

Age UK’s research found the programme to have “a demonstrable benefit in the physical, emotional and cognitive aspects of older people and those older people having mild to advanced forms of dementia appear to benefit the most.”

Key to the project is Steve Peters (pictured above with Love to Move participant Leslie), our new Love to Move Manager. Having been to several sessions in 2018, Steve has got to know the programme and has seen first-hand the benefits that come with it. We spoke to Steve about his initial thoughts of Love to Move.

How pleased are you to be working on the Love to Move programme?
“I am delighted to be working as the Love to Move Manager. In the late 80s my Grandmother lived with vascular dementia in her later years and spent most of her time in her care home bedroom. Love to Move gives me the opportunity to make a difference to the lives of people like my Gran.”

What were your thoughts when you witnessed a Love to Move class for the first time? Or when you read about it and its impacts?
“I had read all about it, but seeing Love to Move in action was just amazing to see. I remember particularly a gentleman I sat with. We chatted about how he’d been in the RAF and we laughed as we tried to do the exercises together!”

What do think is the most exciting thing about Love to Move?
“Most exciting thing about Love to Move? The potential to change people’s lives. As I have been meeting people and making partnerships, I’ve realised that everybody has a dementia story. Whether a parent, grandparent or friend. The opportunity to help them is what excites me most.”

Did you talk to relatives or people who had witnessed the change Love to Move creates?
“I spoke to a young girl with her Grandmother. She had lost her Grandad recently. Her Grandad had been living with dementia and for three years she said she had a Grandad shaped person in the room, but it was not her Grandad. In the last three months of his life, he was taking part in Love to Move, and the young girl told me in those three months, she had her Grandad back. To hear that was a very emotional moment.”

What are your hopes for Love to Move?
“My hopes for Love to Move are for it to become part of the British psyche – that it’s something for everyone in everyday life. That people are protecting themselves and building cognitive reserves, as well as helping those already living with dementia.”

If you’re interested in training to deliver Love to move email info@britishgymnasticsfoundation.org.