Staff fundraise to help the elderly

Posted: 27/04/21

A group of NHS physiotherapists and community teams are raising money to help the elderly who have been affected by the pandemic.

Emma Armitage, Specialist Physiotherapist at Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) works with older adults with mental health problems in one of the Trust’s Community Treatment Teams.

During the pandemic, she noticed a lot of the older people she works with were inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore and wanted to recognise this.

This led to the creation of the ‘Star Trooper Awards’, which aim to recognise the efforts patients have put into their rehab and physio sessions.

Part of Emma’s job is to help encourage patients to get back to physical health. “Sometimes their mood impacts their mobility and vice versa,” she explained.

“If their motivation is low, they can find it hard to be active and their physical health can deteriorate. It’s important to prevent falls and frailty.”

The Star Trooper Awards give patients a goal to work towards and are for any older person who has overcome challenges during their rehab, particularly during the pandemic.

Emma said: “Older people have had a difficult time during the pandemic, many have suffered loneliness or bereavement. We wanted to do something to acknowledge their hard work and highlight the importance of saying ‘well done’.”

The money raised will go towards pin badges and certificates for award winners and the remaining will go to CNTW’s charity, The SHINE Fund. Certificates are already available nationally through the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

The SHINE Fund makes a huge difference to the people who are cared for in the Trust’s hospital sites and community services. Money is used to provide ‘little extras’ that make a big difference to people’s recovery and mental wellbeing.

The group of staff hope to have raised the money by International Day for Older Persons, which takes place on 1 October.

The pandemic prompted Emma to connect with patients in a different way. “I work with people in the community and visit their homes to do assessments. Now, when I go into someone’s house I’m wearing full PPE and it can be very impersonal. The Star Trooper Awards are a way for us to connect and bring things to life when it’s harder to express ourselves with masks on. I can tell it means a lot to them.”

CNTW is a leading provider of mental health and disability services in the North East and north Cumbria.

For more information and to donate, go to