Luton pensioners ‘up in arms’ as they can no longer attend Tai Chi classes

The last Tai Chi class that the interviewee was able to attend.
The last Tai Chi class that the interviewee was able to attend.

Luton pensioners say they are “up in arms” as they can no longer attend Tai Chi classes.

The residents used to enjoy the Luton and Dunstable Hospital’s Tai Chi classes on Thursday evenings at Chaul End Community Centre, which was free for the first four weeks on referral.

To continue, participants then had to pay £3 each week, and residents also say that any member of the public could attend if they paid.

However, they claim they have been left feeling far from relaxed, because the L&D says it no longer has the space to offer classes to people who have been in the lessons for over six months after referral (or to those who have not been referred at all).

One woman claimed: “This is the only form of exercise some people can do due to injury or old age.

“There are other, fuller L&D Tai Chi classes, but I don’t think this one will be after we leave - what’s the point?

“There is a private Luton lesson during the daytime - but that’s no good for those who have jobs.”

She added: “I also want to thank our physio instructors and note that this isn’t their fault!”

An L&D spokeswoman, said: “The popularity of the classes has grown significantly over the years and some of the classes now have between 40 and 60 attendees. In order to give new patients being referred from the hospital the opportunity to attend the sessions, and get the most benefit from them, we are now limiting people to attend for a maximum of six months after they have been discharged.

“This has affected some participants because they are no longer eligible to attend. Everyone who has contacted us about their concerns have been sent a letter explaining the situation and why the service is having to limit attendance to these classes, and attendees have been provided with information about alternative classes offered by other local providers.

“As a hospital providing acute care we can only stretch ourselves so far without disadvantaging new patient referrals.  Very similar classes are provided locally and people can attend a number of them on a pay as you go basis for a similar charge. Participants have been given information about alternative classes.  

“The L&D will continue to run the classes for former patients for up to six months after discharge because of the benefits they offer both physically and in terms of their confidence.”