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The 12 week programme has been a huge success, with over 38 people signing up to take to the dance floor.

The programme was carried out with three local GP practices based in Newcastle’s West End, who came together on the project in an effort to improve strength and balance in older people, as well as to counter the effects of social isolation.

Falling on Your Feet was run by Cheryl Gavin of Newcastle-based Helix Arts who commissioned Nadia Iftkhar from “Company of Others” to co-choreograph the dance work. The sessions proved very popular with participants, and they helped to promote the benefits of physical activity for people aged over 65 years.

Catherine Hearne, Chief Executive of Helix Arts, said “”We really enjoyed working with Dr Catherine Bailey from Northumbria University. Her findings and recommendations will influence our arts practice in future.

“We are seeking investment to run “Falling on your Feet” more widely across the North East of England to help transform the lives of people aged 65+. It’s a real thrill to know our arts programme is being discussed at this international conference.”

Assistant Clinical Chair of NHS Newcastle Gateshead CCG, Dr Guy Pilkington, said: “I’m delighted to hear that this dance initiative has found so many fans among the over-65s in the West End of Newcastle.

“Dancing is a fun way to keep fit, improve flexibility, and balance and helps to reduce the likelihood of falls. Falling on Your Feet has helped to give older people confidence in their movements, as well as helping to reduce the social isolation that can lead to health problems.”

Helix Arts is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation, and was among 11 groups who won funding from the NHS Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) through the £100,000 Innovation Fund.

The Innovation Fund is intended to bridge the gap between what is already on offer and what patients need, helping healthcare professionals to work in new ways.

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