Parkinson’s UK, the national charity that supports people with Parkinson’s is working with Sport England on the Parkinson’s Power project, which is currently running across the north-east from Berwick to Darlington.

Being active and exercising can really help people to live well with Parkinson’s, and the project will help people with Parkinson’s to access more opportunities to become and stay physically active.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological condition, meaning that it causes problems in the brain and gets worse over time. There are nearly 6000 people in the north-east living with Parkinson’s, and the project is focusing on supporting people to become and stay more physically active by doing things they enjoy. Part of this work involves using volunteers to support people to take their first steps to lead a more active life, including working with local community and volunteer groups.

Project Support Officer Anna Castiaux is running a brand-new volunteering scheme called Parkinson’s Power Buddies, and she needs recruits to join up from across the region. Volunteer Buddies will support people with Parkinson’s to become and stay active, in a wide range of fun and enjoyable ways.

“We want volunteers from all walks of life who can spare us an hour or so a week and want to make a difference to the life of someone who needs it” said Anna.

“Activities that Buddies will support will be very varied, it could be accompanying someone to an exercise class for the first time, doing a bit of gardening together, or just going for a walk, that’s the beauty of our project, there is something for everyone!”

“Our Buddies will play a vital role in supporting people with Parkinson’s” commented Anna, “as well as enjoying the benefits of being active and meeting new people themselves. We know that getting out and about, enjoying the outdoors and doing something positive has huge mental and physical benefits for everyone, so the project really is a win win!”

“We also want to work with local clubs and groups who would like some training for their volunteers to help them understand more about Parkinson’s, and how they can support people to become more active, whether it’s walking, angling, cycling or anything else, fun, social and enjoyable” said Anna. “We know what a rich heritage of supportive community groups there is in the north-east, and we want to make sure people with Parkinson’s can access that support.

For more details about becoming a Parkinson’s Power Buddy, contact Anna on 07970407838 or email parkinsonspower@parkinsons.org.uk

For more information about Parkinson’s, visit www.parkinsons.org.uk or call our free, confidential helpline on 0808 800 303