Later Life Training

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Later Life Training's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Later Life Training is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Managing Director
ProfessorDawn Skelton
Exercise in standing is vital
to improve balance
Later Life Training are the UK’s only training provider of
evidence-based exercise programmes for older people at
risk of a fall and stroke survivors of all ages. According to
Managing Director Professor Dawn Skelton, LLT’s portfolio
of endorsed courses is enhanced by a suite of continuing
education opportunities. Dawn tells
The Parliamentary Review
that these are designed to meet the needs of the country’s
ageing population and the local health, social care and specialist
exercise services that support them.
Founded in 2003 by three close friends and professional colleagues, LLT were
innovators and forerunners who promoted the case for strength and balance
exercise opportunities to be accessible for older people.
Prior to this, movement to music, walking programmes and bowls were the only
available local opportunities for an over-50 population, mainly provided by the
voluntary sector. Older people were not seen as a priority either for the NHS or for
local government.
We started as a small family business, with just three training courses and three
directors as tutors, with administration being done at home by my retired father
and my mother illustrating and designing manuals. Preventing falls and maintaining
independence in later life was and remains our priority and focus. However, as the
implications of an ageing population were slowly being realised, and the evidence
for the benefit of physical activity and exercise continued to mount, the demand for
exercise opportunities and expertise to support participation also increased.
»Managing Director:
ProfessorDawn Skelton
»Established in 2003 as a not-
for-profit organisation
»Based in Killin, Scotland
»No. of employees: 4 full-time,
5 directors and 25 tutors
»Services: Training and
education in specialist
evidence-based exercise
programmes for older people
and stroke survivors
»Training delivered across the
whole of the UK, with courses
running in 14 EU countries
and Singapore
»Over 11,000 professionals
trained since 2003
Later Life Training
Highlighting best practice
In 2008, demand and expansion
resulted in the purchase of small office
premises – a former butcher’s shop
– tucked away in a Scottish national
park. Throughout our steady growth
we have strived to retain a family and
community ethos in all that we do and
have retained the majority of our tutor
and office team.
Our core business – driven by
A third of people over the age of 65
and half of those over 80 will fall each
year. Falls and fractures can result in
loss of independence, injury and death.
In health service terms they are high
in volume and in cost: with 255,000
falls-related emergency hospital
admissions per year for older people
in England alone, the annual cost of
hip fractures to the UK is estimated to
be around £2 billion. Forty per cent of
those attended by ambulance services
are not taken into hospital, suggesting
they are not injured but do not have
the strength and skill to get up from
the floor without help.
Falls and the resultant loss of
confidence often lead to admission to a
care home. The costs and implications
of these figures for both services and
individuals are well evidenced. The
role of specialist strength and balance
exercise programmes in combating
frailty, preventing falls, maintaining
independence and improving outcomes
is thankfully now being recognised.
However, in an older population with
complex physical and mental health
needs and comorbidities, to deliver
such programmes requires the exercise
instructor or health professional to have
a higher level of knowledge andskill.
We know that a “one size fits all”
approach to exercise does not work.
Effective interventions demand
person-centred, tailored, adapted
and progressive programmes over a
sustained period of time. Over and
above our training role, our expertise
is being called upon to support
services in understanding what it
takes to establish sustainable exercise
continuums for all older people and
helping to ensure that such evidence is
translated into practice, informing and
improving local service delivery.
Our business, with an annual turnover
of £390,000, now comprises eight
nationally-recognised training
courses underpinned by relevant
industry standards and assessment
of instructor competencies and
skills. We also provide continuing
professional development for a range
of professionals, and training that is
designed to meet local needs.
Retraining skills to get
up from the floor
Tailoring exercise to
support stroke survivors
We pride
ourselves in
our “over and
More than a training provider
- why we are different
We pride ourselves in our “over and
above” approach and desire to work
with projects and services before and
after training. As services and funding
landscapes continue to shift, it has
become apparent that education and
support are required not only for
instructors and health professionals
delivering exercise, but also the service
leads and commissioners who are
asking for our guidance and expertise.
Two of our directors have been invited
experts for a number of national
guidelines and government strategy
groups concerned with falls and
physical activity in older people and
have won national and international
awards for their work. We have
become the go-to organisation for
expertise and advice in this field.
By initiating and responding to
partnership approaches, we constantly
share with, support and enhance the
work of like-minded organisations. We
work closely with professional bodies,
age-related and medical charities and
higher education, thus influencing
and skilling the exercise and health
professionals of the future.
In order to reach a wider workforce,
we are also able to provide tailored and
customised education and training for
those in the voluntary sector, adult,
social care and supported livingservices.
Maintaining excellence and
standards during changing times
While the advance of technology
offers our business many benefits
in communications, marketing and
promotion, we are searching for the
most appropriate balance between
the increasing demand for short
bite-sized online training and our
belief in the value of face-to-face and
Commissioners and employers
looking for cost efficiencies in difficult
financial times are tempted to use
the many new providers who do not
value evidence-based, assessed and
accredited training. This leads to a loss
of quality and effectiveness, potentially
rendering such programmes a waste
ofmoney, even if fun.
At times, we may find ourselves
unpopular in our determination to
maintain the standard and quality of
our training. However, we are unwilling
to compromise to increase our reach
or share of the market. We believe we
can achieve our future goals through
organisational review and reflection,
maximising new and emerging research
evidence and providing training and
support to different professional
audiences and services by investing in
and supporting our skilled tutor team.
Sixteen years on, the exercise and
ageing landscape has changed and
continues to do so. As a small business,
we are punching above our weight
and are market leaders. At a time
when everyone sees an opportunity,
we will strive to protect and enhance
our practice, both at home and
increasingly abroad.
We believe we
can achieve
our future
goals through
review and
Building an LLT
“Community of
Practice” with tutors and

This article was sponsored by Later Life Training. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development