“We all know people who start the New Year vowing to lose weight, get fit or give up an unhealthy habit, but their good intentions often fall by the wayside after just a few weeks. When we set ourselves a goal that’s too big, those New Year resolutions can quickly start to feel unachievable.

Westbank takes the view that by supporting people in making small steps towards adopting better eating habits and taking up exercise they actually enjoy, they are far more likely to keep up the changes and achieve a healthier lifestyle over time, regardless of their age or level of fitness.

The charity’s mission is to improve long-term health and wellbeing outcomes and help people maintain their independence. To this end, we have worked successfully for years alongside the NHS, Public Health and clinicians to deliver innovative solutions for some of the most common health challenges. For example, our Healthier Devon scheme that supports those at high risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes has made contact with more than 1,000 people this year and currently has just over 500 active participants.

Falls and fall-related injuries, estimated to cost the NHS more than £2.3 billion per year, are a frequent and serious problem for the over 65s. Westbank will be starting the year with an NHS-approved Falls Prevention Programme to help people stay active and independent, indirectly also helping their family members and carers.  We are offering a number of free places on the 12-week course and will follow these sessions with an opportunity to hear from a range of organisations with expertise in this area.

Alongside this, our Exercise Referral Scheme will help people access safe exercise with trained instructors within the charity’s gym at Exminster, near Exeter. The scheme enables people to explore different possibilities to recover from a multitude of conditions by using exercise to improve their physical and mental wellbeing. Participants can build upon their progress after the course by continuing to use our gym. This excellent facility has specialised machines adapted for wheelchair use and for those who need additional support, as well as standard fitness equipment.

Local walking groups held across Devon complement many of Westbank’s other services. Participants love the opportunity to get out and about with a supportive group of likeminded people, an activity that increases their health and wellbeing and allows those who are socially isolated or lonely to connect with others in their community.

As the New Year gets underway, the team in the gym will be busy helping members with their fitness goals. Our gym staff run a variety of workouts and classes that deliver the ‘fun factor’. Elsewhere in the county, community projects offer activities like Yoga, Seated Exercise and Keep Fit.

2023 will no doubt bring new pressures to bear on the county’s different local health economies. However, Westbank has a long history of investing in health and wellbeing services across Devon and is well placed to support the NHS to take the strain off its pressure points.”

If you would consider supporting our charity through volunteering or by making a donation or legacy, please have a further look around our website. 

Article from The Moorlander newspaper