Letter of the week: Older people don't seem welcome at Haven Point leisure centre

Haven Point.
Haven Point.

I attend fitness classes twice a week at Haven Point.

These classes are part of the Health Education scheme and are designed to help those with health problems recover and get fit.

Individuals are assessed and monitored by trainers and the classes are well attended.

I understand similar classes are held at Temple Park and in Jarrow and Hebburn.

They are not free, we all pay membership fees plus class fees – as well as council taxes of course.

Last week we were told, by the trainers, that the classes are under review and likely to stop.

We are extremely upset and angry about this.

Senior council staff attended one of our classes last week to try to make amends for the badly managed way it has all been handled (this was not the fault of the trainers as they had little information themselves).

We were told by the senior staff we should access other classes such as yoga or the gym or join initiatives such as the “walking in the park schemes”.

However, these options are not suitable for most of us. They also stated that there is a high drop-out rate and attendance is low - hence the need to drop the classes. However, they provided no data to support these statements.

They showed a woeful lack of knowledge and totally missed the point of these classes.

They seemed to think they are social meetings and the health issues could be met in other ways.

There is a social element as the classes are friendly and non-judgemental but people attend who would never attend a gym as they see the gym as intimidating or not suitable for their health.

They stated that all trainers in the centres are fully trained first-aiders but our point is that the trainers at our classes closely monitor individuals and observe, help, support, and encourage where necessary. This is not done at a gym or, I suspect, at other classes.

It is obvious that the decision to stop the classes has already been made and that older people are not welcome at Haven Point and the other centres.

People left the meeting still very angry.

Yvonne Anderson.