The Chelsea FC Foundation has provided senior participants of our Bridging Forces and Activate Seniors programmes with iPad’s to ensure they are able to stay connected with the club and their families during this time.

Bridging Forces is a health and wellbeing, education and employment programme for ex-service men and women while our Activate Seniors programme is for over 50s, connecting individuals and communities through providing them with unique opportunities to improve their physical and mental health.

The participants have been attending a variety of sessions for over two years, building friendships and a huge rapport with Foundation staff.Due to the Covid-19 pandemic these weekly sessions have been put on hold but with the participants now having iPads the Foundation can stay connected with the participants through the delivery of sessions via online video calls.Working alongside Stoll, an organisation who house and help vulnerable veterans, the Foundation health and wellbeing team are now delivering coffee mornings, exercise and mobility circuits and chair-based exercise sessions all via online video calls.

Participants have also been given an Activate Seniors activity booklet and equipment pack to give them some guidance on how to keep both the body and mind active whilst at home during lockdown.Health and wellbeing project officer Ellie Lock said: ‘Working at Stoll was always a lovely way to start the week with a Monday morning circuit session.‘The group are always so lovely and we have built a great relationship – whilst working hard of course!‘I have regular calls with the participants to stay in touch and check how they are doing whilst isolated and the main feedback was being bored inside and missing the sessions.‘This iPad initiative is a great opportunity to have a catch up with each other over video and give those participants the workout they are missing, whilst staying safe in their own home.‘We have also put together an Activate Seniors activity pack for them to follow at home so they can do more exercises and activities in their own time too, aiming to get them physically, mentally and socially active as much as possible.’George Bageya, wellbeing, health and activities manager at Stoll added: ‘Stoll tenants were delighted to have received iPad loans from the Chelsea Foundation - most of whom have been in isolation during recent Covid-19 outbreak and haven’t left their homes for weeks.‘I explained that we were moving elements of our health and wellbeing programme including the exercise sessions with Foundation online, through an application online and they will be supported to join the sessions from the comfort of their own homes.‘They were really excited to hear that they would not only be able to see their trainer Jordan but also all the other participants and friends on screen at the same time.‘Lots of friendships have been built or strengthened through Chelsea Foundation exercise sessions over the many months it has been running at Stoll and for many of the participants it will be the first time they have seen their friends since the beginning of the lockdown.’