Interim Report on ‘Containing Outbreak Management and Falls Prevention’ through KLS’ Elders exercise programme

Katherine Low Settlement was made a direct award by Wandsworth Council to continue our community falls prevention work with older residents in Wandsworth. This funding is part of the national Contain Outbreak Management Fund (COMF) which is allocated to local authorities in England to help reduce the spread of coronavirus and support local public health.  The award recognises that older residents have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and associated lockdown measures and require interventions to support them to regain their strength and balance in order to prevent falls.

What follows is an interim report about the work so far:

About Katherine Low Settlement

Katherine Low Settlement has worked with older people since its conception in 1924.They are a core part of the community that we continue to work with. We provide, often in partnership, a range of projects and activities for older people including Health and Wellbeing, Creative Arts, Intergenerational Work, Connecting Neighbours & Active Participation and Trips / Outings. We are locally focused, responsive to need, co-produce our work programme and achieve effective and significant outcomes for older people.


All exercise sessions for KLS Elders Service meet the following requirements:

  1. Encourage active and independent living: By enabling people to stay physically healthier and have a sense of purpose to their lives.
  2. Improve health and wellbeing: By improving balance, stamina, fitness, flexibility and strength and a general sense of emotional well-being and therefore also come under falls prevention.
  3. Reduce isolation and loneliness: By encouraging people to meet peers and join some of the other social programmes within KLS and the wider Battersea community.


Our eligibility criteria are that attendees are aged 60+, living in Wandsworth, with a preference for Battersea.

Sessions held

From September’21-end-January’22 we ran the following exercise sessions:

Chair-based exercise sessions

  • Parkinson’s Dance Class: 60+ living in Battersea with a diagnosed neurological condition (eg Parkinson’s stroke etc).  A chair-based class with option to stand for those that could.
  • Chair Exercise: Class specifically for members with less mobility.
  • Age Well seated zoom exercise class: Chair dance class specifically for members with less mobility that can access Zoom.
  • Chair Dance & Dance Fit: a 45 minute and 1-hour weekly class running January to April 2022.
  • Tai Chi class: members can do seated or standing. Transport picked up from local sheltered housing for some of the sessions.

Wellbeing sessions

  • 2 hours in length, these sessions were specifically for people not known to KLS. Sessions include a short talk on a subject around improving health and wellbeing, a healthy refreshment break and an exercise session lead by trained leaders.

Walking-based exercise sessions

  • Walking Photography group: To encourage members to take purposeful walks as apathy and lack of motivation was raised as a reason for not going out. Members take photographs as part of a photography project
  • Men’s Walking sessions: held in Battersea Park when the weather is more clement.

Dance for Life sessions

  • Dance class: for more physically able elders.


We agreed to meet the following targets with our exercise programme:

Trained tutors (supported by volunteers) will deliver a range of walking groups, dance and exercise classes on a weekly basis. Minimum 72 sessions


Minimum 160 regular participants and 500 attendances — Regular attendance is defined as attending at least one session every two weeks


1-2-1 support (including transport) provided to a minimum of 25 members


From September’21 to January’22 we have held 94 exercise classes, with 121 older members attending regularly (there are members who attend ad hoc or one-off but we don’t record these numbers here). Overall there were 865 attendances to the classes. We have had 10 amazing volunteers supporting the sessions and our paid staff.

Numbers are below target due to Covid restrictions and lack of a minibus driver to bring frailer elders to the exercise sessions. We’ve had to restrict the group numbers due to Covid, so that we can continue to hold smaller but safer groups, as many of our elders are clinically vulnerable. We have also lacked a minibus driver. It’s been very difficult to recruit one, though we have been trying for 5 months. We know this recruitment difficulty is shared by other older people’s services in the borough, as we’ve been meeting with them regularly. This does reflect the national driver shortage and hike in wages that drivers can now command. We are re-thinking our recruitment strategy and roles yet again. As a result we have not been able to offer transport to bring in our frailer members to attend these exercise sessions.

The following tables and graph give a breakdown of the classes:

Table 1: Sessions run from September 2021to January 2022

Class Frequency Number of classes Numbers of elders regularly attending Numbers of volunteers Total attendance
Parkinson’s Dance class Fortnightly 10 6 2 47
Walking Photography group Fortnightly 8 12 1 78
Dance for Life


Weekly 16 14 0 210
Chair Tai Chi


Weekly 12 7 0 74
Wellbeing session 6-week programme, then repeated with new members.

3 sessions per week

18 36 0 200
Chair-based  exercise class


Weekly 12 6 1 68
Zoom chair dance class Weekly 16 12 1 148
Men’s Walking Group Ad-hoc due to Covid staff shortages 4 4 1 16
New Chair-based Dance Weekly

(started Jan 23rd 2022)

1 12 2 12
New Dance Fit Weekly

(started Jan 23rd 2022)

1 12 2 12
Totals   94 121 10 865

Age: Members attending the sessions range from ages 55 –94, with a mean age of 71.

Gender: Most people attending are women (80:20 ratio) with men more likely to attend Tai Chi and walking groups (though a small number do attend chair exercise and wellbeing sessions).

Sexual orientation: We do not currently ask questions related to sexual orientation, though members do choose sometimes to disclose it to us. One person raised that they are a gay man.

Carers: 10 were carers for a spouse or family member.

Further information

If you have any questions or would like to find out more about this work then please get in touch with Sarah Goodall, Head of Elders Team, on 020 7223 2845 and [email protected]

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