Kingston charity wins national award

Fit as a Fiddle project wins a national award, beating stiff competition from around the UK.

Age Concern Kingston won the award in the Guardian Public Services Awards 2011 for its Fit as a Fiddle programme, which tackles obesity in older people, by offering free two-hour exercise and nutrition sessions.

The programme has helped 166 Kingston residents over the age of 50 to lose weight, improve their balance and get fit, by attending a free Fit as a Fiddle course last year.

The judging panel chose Age Concern Kingston as the winner because their work ‘demonstrated good practice and promoted community cohesion.’

Chair of Age Concern Kingston, Anne Cann, who has been involved with the organisation as a volunteer for over 35 years, said: “This year, Age Concern Kingston marked 65 years since its formation.  Winning this award is great acknowledgement for our staff and volunteers, particularly Grace Shorthouse, whose Fit as a Fiddle project really impressed the judges.”

Age Concern Kingston has helped thousands of older people to get fit since it started running courses in the Kingston borough in 2007. It is estimated that there are 35,000 residents in the borough over the age of 50, with around 25,000 over the age of 60.

Age Concern Kingston is currently seeking funding to continue with the programme after their funding runs out in April 2012. Their vision is ‘to make later life a greater life’.

The Guardian Public Services Awards aim to showcase innovation and best practice across Whitehall, local government, the NHS and beyond.