A partnership was formed between Porthaven Care Homes and Sunnyside Park Care Home in Pietermaritzburg to raise funds to build a gym at the South African home. Porthaven is well-known for promoting a culture of living well and active ageing and our staff are highly knowledgeable when it comes to the recognised benefits of regular exercise for our residents so had plenty of inventive ideas as to how they could raise the money. The significant sum has enabled residents at the South African care home to now exercise regularly and achieve their personal fitness goals. Some of Sunnyside Park’s residents had never had access to a gym before or the opportunity to use fitness equipment.
Over the course of four months, our care homes raised the total sum in a number of different ways. Their efforts included climbing Snowdon, sponsored cycle rides, a wellness day of massage and beauty therapies, summer fairs, a life drawing art class for families and raffles. As well as the installation of the gym, the money raised will go towards the cost of a ‘Take the Lead in Healthy Ageing’ workshop for Sunnyside Park’s carers.
Suzy Cooper, Porthaven’s Group Leisure and Wellness Manager, oversaw our participation in the project after being put in touch with Margie van Zyl, chairperson of the South African Care Forum. Margie’s initiative is running across the whole of South Africa and aims to encourage care homes to install gyms and incorporate exercise into residents’ care plans. Suzy was delighted with the outcome of the fundraising and the enthusiasm shown by Porthaven staff, commenting, ‘It was great to see everyone really getting behind the initiative and coming up with these brilliant ideas to raise the money.’ She continued, ‘We envisage this partnership continuing to develop with our residents contacting each other and developing relationships. As South Africa is only two hours ahead of us, we’re looking forward to organising exercise classes at the same time and sharing the impact of exercise on our collective residents’ lives.’