Real Lives

Care home residents show pro athletes how it’s done with The Anchor Games

Anchor residents show off their rosettes alongside former welterweight world champion John H Stracey, at The Oval Leisure

Care home residents and colleagues across England are celebrating the Commonwealth Games by hosting their own inclusive sporting tournament, embracing the benefits of physical activity in later life.

Setting the tone for the upcoming Games, and backed by sporting legends, The Anchor Games is an initiative launched by Anchor, England’s largest provider of specialist housing and care for people in later life. Throughout July and August, residents and colleagues will compete in a wide range of inclusive activities to harness the mental, social and physical benefits of movement in later life.

Anchor’s Madeleine House care home in Birmingham – the host city of this year’s Commonwealth Games – is inviting seven other Anchor homes from the area to celebrate local buzz with a raft of sporting competitions for residents and colleagues including javelin throwing, hurdles and relay races.

Bilton Court care home in Northamptonshire is welcoming two special guests to mark the first day of the games. Local sporting legend and Britain’s first black female Olympian, Anita Neil, who won medals at the 1970 Commonwealth Games and 1969 European Championships. She will be joined by Canisus Alcindor who has represented Team GB at the Commonwealth Games as a high jumper.  During their visit, Anita and Canisus will share some of their very own sporting memorabilia and will cheer on residents and colleagues as they participate in a track and a high jump event in their honour. A barbeque and medals ceremony will complete the day of celebrations.

Anita Neil, retired British international sprinter and the first black British woman Olympian, said: “I’m excited to join The Anchor Games and meet residents and colleagues at the opening ceremony. Sport and exercise are a fantastic way to bring people together, and to keep healthy and happy in later life. I’m inspired by how passionate about sport Anchor’s residents are – they’re proof it’s never too late to embrace physical activity.”

And the celebrations don’t stop there. Six of Anchor’s care homes have enjoyed some friendly competition with a series of inclusive games at The Oval Leisure Centre in Wirral, Winners were honoured with trophies presented by former welterweight world champion, John H. Stracey.

The Anchor Games forms part of Anchor’s ongoing focus on wellbeing in later life. Helen Core, Wellbeing Manager at Anchor, said: “Making physical activity accessible and inclusive for all abilities is at the heart of what we do, along with having fun! We’re thrilled to be celebrating this year’s Commonwealth Games and involving residents and colleagues in a series of inclusive activities, all the while helping to boost mental, social and physical wellbeing.”

Maureen Leeming at Borrage House care home, age 78, said: “Sport has played such an important part in my life and I think very warmly of the Commonwealth Games having qualified for them myself back in 1962. Watching the Games this year will bring back many fond memories for me and I’m so excited to see all the athletes competing in the events I love.”

Anchor is committed to encouraging residents to take part in movement and sport all year round. The Anchor Games is one of many initiatives for residents. The popular Be Active programme, which offers a range of online resources including exercise routine videos, podcasts and tips on how to keep the mind active, helps people in later life to make small changes to make movement and exercise a part of their everyday lives. Zest, a fun physical activity programme offered across Anchor’s care homes, features a mix of active routines, dance moves, mobility work, and gentle moving and stretching. Recordings of Zest sessions are also available to residents via the Zest Wellbeing YouTube channel making them accessible at any time.

Anchor’s residents have developed a list of top tips for planning your very own tournament, and are encouraging the public to join in the sporting celebrations using #AnchorGames.

To find out more visit: https://www.anchor.org.uk/anchor-games and follow Anchor on Facebook, to see how care home residents are taking part and how you can get involved.

Edel Harris

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