As we age, taking part in regular light physical activity can improve our mental health and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

We have been running our activity groups for those over 75 in Wales for 18 months now and we’ve had such a positive response that in January, we decided to trial our first online activity groups in West Yorkshire.  We’ve used the feedback we received from our trial sessions, which ran through December, to develop regular online activity sessions for those over 75 in the area. 

15 older people attended the sessions, and it soon became clear that those who attended were keen to come back for more. 

“This has been the best experience of mindfulness I’ve ever had.’
Activity guest, Yorkshire online activity trial session

On 14th February, we are launching our first block of eight online sessions, including activities such as chair yoga, tai chi, meditation and light fitness sessions.

We caught up with Re-engage engagement officer, Deb Meynell (pictured right), to find out more.

Why did Re-engage decide to launch activity sessions in West Yorkshire?

We launched our first online activity groups in Wales in February 2021 and five months later we launched our face-to-face groups.  More than 300 older people have accessed our groups in Wales and we now have 11 in-person groups up and running, as well as three weekly online groups. The groups have been such a success that we plan to launch many more groups in Wales this year.  There seems to be such a clear appetite for gentle, tailored exercise groups for older people that we knew that if we had it right the first time around, we could do it again.

How did the taster sessions go? 

Our pilot sessions were a chance to test the water in West Yorkshire, using the lessons learned by our Wales team. Our sessions gave our guests the opportunity to try out new activities with just a handful of other participants.

Christine, who is 80 and recently attended one of our pilot sessions, said:

‘I’ve never done chair yoga before - it was a new experience for me. I’ve found that gentle exercise can energise you and being in the chair gives you confidence that you won't fall. You just have to reach out, and pick up the phone, take some action, it’s all there for you to access.’

Interestingly, we also learned that the majority of our participants join our groups because they want to be more active.  This is closely followed by those who join because they want to have a chat and find companionship. 63% told us that they felt more active and happier after the sessions.

Our participants told us that they enjoyed our tai chi and chair yoga sessions most and so we will be running these activities when we launch our groups on 14th February.  

Why are the sessions online?

Initially our sessions will be online, but once our groups are up and running, our next step will be to set up face-to-face groups.  Our research indicated that there was a thirst for online activities amongst those over 75 in Yorkshire and there has been a great response to our pilot sessions

What is your role?

My role is to get our groups up and running in Yorkshire and make sure local partners, referrers and stakeholders know about our project. I attend networking meetings and forums where I learn about local needs.  I am also looking for partnership and funding opportunities wherever possible so that we can make our groups available to more people in the area.

Who will be teaching the sessions?

To get our groups off to a flying start, our first sessions will be run by instructors we’ve worked with before.  But we’ve also started recruiting new instructors so ultimately, we’ll be able to provide more groups. 

What are your plans for the future?

We want to be in a position where we have at least 40 older people regularly accessing our group sessions by the summer.   By then, we’ll also be planning our first face-to-face groups. Once our activity groups in West Yorkshire are established, how fantastic would it be to do this all over again in another part of the UK?

Contact us

We have teams across the UK.


7 Bell Yard


0800 716543

Office phone:

020 7240 0630