Small Steps to Health

Fibro Active

Reduce StressImprove balanceEnhance healthBuild immunityGentle movementsLift moodReduce back painIncrease muscle strengthIncrease flexibilityMindfulnessBreathing techniquesAchieve

Small Steps to Health: Falls prevention programme

Our instructors are able to deliver a range of workshops and activities to raise falls awareness and work with you to help reduce the risk of falls.

We are all at risk of trips and falls. It is no longer considered an older person’s circumstance and that is why we accept anyone aged 18+ and all abilities in our classes. It’s never too early to strengthen your leg muscles especially if you lead a predominant sedentary lifestyle whether it be at home or work.

The less mobile we are, the weaker and more painful our muscles and joints become. This has a negative effect on our daily lives. We go out less, sit more for long periods to try to avoid the pain and increase our risk of falling.

Improving your leg strength and balance will give you more confidence to do everyday activities, help reduce painful joints and muscles, allowing you to become more mobile, help you take part in social events and improve your overall health and wellbeing.

View our class schedule by clicking on the purple button above.

We invite you to join our weekly classes to suit all abilities, choose from the short descriptions below to find the right class for you.

Small Steps to Health Class

Our own unique classes have been designed to help you improve your strength and balance and helping reduce the risk of trips and falls. We deliver a mix of Otago strength and balance exercises as well as basic tai chi drills in a safe and fun environment. They are ideal for everyone, including progressing from seated to standing.

These classes are great preparation for anyone who would like to progress to our tai classes and for existing tai chi students wishing to improve their leg strength.

Tai Chi for Arthritis (Sun Style)

Our Tai chi for Health Institute classes include Tai Chi for Arthritis Part 1 and 2, with Falls Prevention, also known as the Sun Style Short Form.

Tai Chi for Arthritis Part 1 (TCA1) and Part 2 (TCA2) is primarily aimed towards people with all forms of arthritis, fibromyalgia and balance issues.  It is based on Sun Style Tai Chi, which due to it’s higher stance makes it easier for everyone to learn.  However, this course provides a good introduction to Sun Style Tai Chi and is also known as the Sun Style Short Form, it is suitable for everyone.

Our classes start with the Tai chi for Health warm up followed by a few minutes of relaxation practicing Qigong and then we follow the Stepwise Progressive Teaching Method learning a new movement each week. Each class is finished with a cool down.

Traditional Yang Style Tai Chi

For those of you who are ready for a bit more of a challenge, our yang class offers 8. 16 and 24 steps. The 24 step is the most popular and practiced form in the world. ‘The 24 Step Taijiquan routine retains the inner essence and finesse of this great traditional art and yet it is easy for beginners to learn.’ A typical class consists of an energetic warm up, qigong routine and consolidating and learning new postures. Yang style is flowing and graceful and will help improve your balance to the next level.

British Health Qigong

Are you wanting to improve your flexibility and strength? Our British Health Qigong Association routines will be perfect for you. These routines need very little space to practice and are the perfect a compliment to your health and wellness routine. The moves make up routines that are slow and graceful and using controlled breathing techniques, we close the class with a short relaxation to leave you relaxed and energised.

For those of you who feel you need a confidence boost before you try tai chi, we offer a Small Steps to Health class.

Age UK Falls Friends and Falls Ambassador Workshops.

We are trained Falls Friends and Falls Ambassador workshop facilitators. You have a choice of attending a full 2-hour workshop or if time is tight, we do a quick 25-minute whistle stop presentation.

All workshops are interactive and can be delivered on zoom or in person. On completion of the workshop form, attendees will receive a Falls Friends pin badge and certificate.

Workshops can be booked to cater for groups in the work or community setting. Contact us for more details.

Want to know our schedule for classes?

Go to our Class Time Table page

View our class schedule by clicking on the purple button above.

Reported Benefits of Tai Chi:

  • Pain relief and less stiffness
  • Improved balance and less falls
  • Uplifting of the spirit and greater relaxation
  • Improved ability to do daily tasks
  • Improved muscle strength and joint flexibility
  • Enjoyment of tai chi practice

Certificates and T-Shirts

Students who complete Tai Chi for Arthritis Part 1 and principles are awarded a T-shirt and those who go on to complete part 2 and principles are awarded a certificate of attendance.

small steps to health tai chi
Fibro Active

Small Steps to Health

small steps to health tai chi
Who are we?

Fibro Active is a support group for people with Fibromyalgia (FM) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and their carers.

We are a positive and inclusive group that focuses on healthy lifestyle, light exercise, support and sharing information as well as educating members about their condition and help them move forward with their acceptance and management of the illness.


Kev and Julie launched Fibro Active and put on a 6-week programme


Be Active


Members suggested a Tai Chi taster session

Keep Learning


Take Notice


Kev travelled the lands of Erewash in search of the elusive Tai Chi instructor but no success!


Julie found a tai chi instructor!
Her own physio therapist!

Chris Davenport

Then one day...


Julie quickly booked a taster course with 5 group members


Julie was dependant on a mobility scooter

Jane was also hooked.
It was helping with her stress

After 12 weeks she started to have the strength to walk again


We applied for funding and brought Chris into the programme


One member was so weak that we thought he might fall. He was dependant on crutches.

He persevered and today he can demonstrate Tai Chi for Arthritis Parts 1 & 2

He attends our group walks with just a stick.

Case Study


Chris saw the potential in Julie and Jane and suggested they trained as:

Sustaining the Tai Chi classes

Tai Chi for Health Instructors


The Thursday evening group meetings quickly evolved into open Tai Chi Classes


Falls Prevention

We launched the classes at the Spring into Action Event.

Jo Briggs funded us to open a class in the afternoon.


We had a fabulous turn out with over
20 people taking part


Thursday Evenings

We created a second class

We qualified in part 2 of the course


A move to Petersham Hall in 2018 brought us back to familiar surroundings


Starting at 10am in the first time zone and moving as a wave around the world as 10am reaches each time zone

We organized a small gathering on World Tai Chi & Qigong Day 2019


Tai Chi in the Park

The last Saturday in the month
10am – 11am
March to October

Free practice sessions in the Floral Gardens, West Park.


We presented T-shirts and Certificates to students who had completed the
Tai Chi for Arthritis programme

August 2019 BBQ Presentation


Tai Chi is...


Challenging to learn so you have a sense of accomplishment

You can practice it anywhere

It’s an accessible way to improve health without medication



Uplifting of the spirit and greater relaxation

Improved muscle strength and joint flexibility

Pain relief and less stiffness

Improved balance and less falls

Improved ability to do daily tasks



Chris continues to volunteer his time at Fibro Active every fortnight

We refer students to each other’s classes

You might even see a panda or three

We are stronger together

Julie and Jane continue their CPD at Chris’ Thursday classes at Petersham Hall

Chris, Julie and Jane lead the World Tai Chi & Qigong Day event

We meet to discuss development


We have extended our Monday classes. Students can drop in and access a range of coping skills to reduce stress.

Open Minds and Inspirative Arts rotate every 6 week to deliver:

Coping skills

Structured cuppa and chat


Art therapy


FM & CFS/ME can effect 1 in 20 of us

We bring isolated sufferers together

The income from the open classes help sustain our group meetings

In turn the community benefit from falls prevention and improving mental health

Fibro Active


You have been watching us demonstrate

This form takes a year to learn and a lifetime to master

Tai Chi for Arthritis Parts 1 & 2


Active lives in Erewash 2020 Awards

Runner Up

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Tai Chi in the Park

Tai Chi in the park is a free practice session open to all abilities on the last Saturday of every month from 10:00 to 11:00. We are located in the floral gardens on West Park, Long Eaton just left of the butterfly gates entrance.

During the winter months the ground and weather are a little wet so we are taking a break until the new year. We have booked Petersham Community Hall on Jan 25th and Feb 29th 10am. If you would like to join us we just ask that we split the cost of the hall hire between those who attend. We will hopefully return to the floral gardens in March and in April it is World Tai Chi and Qigong Day.


This is what some of our students had to say:

It’s a pleasure to attend this tai chi course as the instructors create a lovely relaxed atmosphere, whilst teaching an art that keeps you fit and healthy in mind and body.  Each week learning a series of named movements adding to a general tai chi routine; I have found these courses most beneficial and really enjoyable.


Harder than it initially looked, but Julie and Jane are very patient and professional. Will be signing up again.


I started my first tai chi class on Monday and was very impressed and thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was so spiritual to watch Julie and Jane do the routine with such synchronisation. I hope I can learn to do this too!


Been a lovely calming experience learning with Julie and Jane.  They are very patient teachers and I love the lessons. Looking forward to the next phase.  Practice, practice, practice!


I have psoriatic arthritis so to find something that I can do is a real bonus.  The gentle movement and co ordination is a great way to try and move painful joints.  After many years of falling the improvement in my balance is remarkable.  It doesn’t make me superwoman but makes me a lot more measured in movement and steadier with my balance.



Julie Barker is group Chairperson and Jane Gordon is group treasurer. They have trained, qualified and deliver classes together to ensure professional standards are maintained while living with chronic illness.

They started learning tai chi in September 2016 with Christopher Davenport at Impact Physio and first trained as Tai Chi for Arthritis Instructors with the Tai Chi for Health Institute in February 2018.

In 2017 they started learning Yang style and qualified as Deyin Institute Level 1 instructors and British Health Qigong Association Instructors in July 2021.

They both are assessed to deliver Otago and Falls Friends/ Ambassador workshops.

Fibro Active were originally funded by Public Health to deliver Tai Chi for Arthritis classes to group members. By training as instructors, we can make the Tai Chi classes sustainable for the group and work in partnership with other organisations such as Strictly no Falling to deliver the programme to help reduce the risk of trips and falls in the community. Our instructors have also been funded by Erewash Brough Council Community grant to train as British Health Qigong Association instructors to continue the quality standards in their delivery.

To ensure we maintain quality standards our instructors are registered with the the following tai chi and qigong associations.