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Falkirk Community Trust Falls Prevention Programme

Falkirk Community Trust (Active/Step Forth) worked in partnership with Paths For All, NHS Forth Valley and other partners to develop a Falls Prevention initiative, incorporating Otago Strength and Balance exercises, health walks and gentle exercise into communities.

This project looks to take falls prevention beyond the clinical setting and into communities so everyone can be proactive in maintaining their independence in older age.

***PAHA Award Winner 2012***

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How It Started

Paths for All wanted to find out whether Otago exercises could be incorporated into their walking for health programmes in Scotland to improve the strength and balance of its participants. After discussions with Glasgow Caledonian University, they approached Falkirk Community Trust, who had recently put their Active Forth and Step Forth staff through Otago training, to see if they could carry out some applied research into this area using the Step Forth walking programme and their links in Falkirk.

Partners Involved

The main partners have involved; Falkirk Community Trust, Paths For All, Glasgow Caledonian, Active Forth and Step Forth and Falls Implementation Group at Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

Other partners have included CVS Falkirk, Falkirk Council Community Learning and Development, The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and other community groups.


In response to the research proposal, the advisory group met and agreed on 10 exercises that would be made into a set of cue cards with supporting a leaflet. Step Forth implemented a trial programme using the resources via their walking groups and in a care home setting.

Results and Impact

The research, although applied and not an academic trial gave encouraging feedback, both people in the walking groups and in residential care, found the exercises easy to do, and coupled with walking advice, they felt that their strength and balance improved.

There was lots of case study feedback and anecdotal evidence that made the programme seem very worthwhile rolling out . Paths for All produced the cue cards which are currently being piloted in the field by walking groups and other practitioners, and these resources will be made available to the walking for health community in early 2013.

Lessons Learned

The successful Step Forth pilot programme informed the decision of Paths for All to produce the resources and consult on their effectiveness on a larger scale. The Chief Medical Officers report, Start Active, Stay Active, which included guidelines for older adults, had also been released during the research period, and the strength and balance advice for older adults was a match with the findings.

What's next for the project?

Paths for All have recognised the success of the pilot and will provide the resources (cue cards, walkers leaflet and leaflet for those working with older adults) nationally in early 2013.

The pilot area of Falkirk intend to deliver the training in the long term, and the development of an older adults referral stream will allow them the flexibility to tailor service provision to this specific group.

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Lead Contact Name

Lee Kelso


Development Officer


Falkirk Community Trust


Westburn Avenue, Falkirk, FK1 5QE

Phone Number

01324 504556

Email Address


Westburn Avenue Falkirk FK1 5QE

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  • I would like to learn otago to help members of my ParkinsonsUk Falkirk Branch

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  • Hello, I work in a primary school and part of my job I deliver a program called Get Set Go to children with poor fine/gross motor control. We had a visitor at our school last week who demonstrated some of the Otago exercises, and I think that this may be helpful for some of our children who do not have good balance and stability. Do you have any training courses available? Thank you Velvyn

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