It was a remarkable night for the Mytime Active team at Bromley Community Links ‘Vollywood Awards’, which celebrates volunteers in the community.
Mytime Active’s Primetime Buddies were finalists in the Volunteer Team category, while Ann Wilbourn won for Volunteer Manager of the Year.
Ann Wilbourn, who is Mytime Active’s Primetime Manager, has been leading the programme – which offers recreational activities, events, sports, dance and keep fit classes for those over 60 – since 2008. The activities are designed to help people to move more every day, and to offer opportunities for over 60s to socialise and make new friends.
Ann has successfully expanded the programme to offer more than 90 physical activity sessions each week, including specialised programmes for those with limited mobility and fitness. Under Ann's guidance, Primetime memberships have grown from just 80 in 2008 to more than 2,500 members today.
Jason Stanton, CEO, Mytime Active, says: “I am thrilled that Ann’s hard work and commitment has been recognised. Ann goes above and beyond in her role. She’s a champion for older adults and passionately advocates for our inclusion initiatives, such as MyClub, (activities for juniors and adults with learning difficulties) and dementia-friendly activities. She has effectively utilised the collective power of volunteers, leading our fantastic team of 25 dedicated ‘Primetime Buddies’ whom she personally recruited, trained and continues to manage and support. Some of our Buddies have been volunteering since the programme began, which speaks volumes of Ann’s leadership and camaraderie.”
The Primetime Buddies volunteer across nine different Mytime Active facilities and community venues in Bromley, giving over 3,000 hours of their time annually. They serve as role models, champions of physical activity and peer-to-peer health mentors,
actively participating in various exercise classes and facilities. Buddies also provide assistance, guidance, support and a warm welcome to individuals, helping them navigate the facilities, access programmes and promoting positive health.
Ann says: “We had wonderful evening at the Community Links Awards, and we are thrilled to have come away both as a winner and as finalists. The success of the Primetime Programme lies in our understanding of the fact that starting exercise and meeting new people can be challenging, especially as you get older.”
Ann explains: “The Mytime Active Primetime Buddies are like a security blanket to newcomers, gently and respectfully introducing people to our services, classes and groups. Our Buddies welcome, inspire, support and encourage while providing a caring, listening ear so members can talk through any concerns. We have both male and female Buddies, and for those who are particularly anxious, they can be on hand to meet members at reception, take them to a class, introduce them to the teacher and be available afterwards for a chat.
“The Primetime Programme has sessions for everyone, and a lot of our classes offer seated exercise options or supported modifications for those who struggle with their mobility. Our team of Buddies and the fitness instructors also have dementia training, and we welcome people living with dementia and their carers to come along too.”
Stanton adds: “Our Buddies are integral, valued members of Mytime Active and the Primetime team and I’m delighted that their enthusiasm and passion was celebrated at the Community Links Awards. Our Buddies will always greet you with a warm smile and are positive community role models.”
Details of the Primetime Programme and the range of activities can be found www.mytimeactive.co.uk/primetime or by calling Ann T: 07535 674 660 or emailing email@example.com