To involve older adults in the promotion of physical activity to their peers

Training to assist in the development of local programmes

Two different courses have been designed to provide choices for local programme coordinators to meet local needs and are designed for health professionals who work to promote physical activity with older people. These courses are designed for health and other professionals who work to promote physical activity with older people (e.g. Health improvement managers in PCTs, development officers in local authority leisure and social services, non- governmental organisations, the residential and care sector, housing wardens and exercise and health co-ordinators).

* Working with and Training Senior Peer Activity Motivators – Course 1

* Bespoke Training for local partnerships and stakeholders – Course 2

Further information on the course, including a downloadable flyer, duration of the course and resources can be found further down this page.

Course 1. Working with and Training Senior Peer Activity Motivators

This is a one day open course is for those who wish to develop their understanding of the concept of senior peer mentoring and experience of working with volunteers and who wish to undertake their own specific local training of Senior Peer Activity Motivators with a specific focus upon physical activity. The course follows a cascade model and participants are provided with materials to assist in the delivery of their local training and includes information on how to plan, monitor and evaluate a local programme.

It has often proved advantageous when two people from a local partnership undertake training so they are able to support each other when it comes to planning and implementing a local Senior Peer Activity Motivator programme.


A one-day programme – 9.30 – 4.00 with a maximum of 24 participants.

  • Session A: An introduction to planning a Senior Peer Activity Motivator Training Programme – What is it all about ?
  • Session B: Developing communications skills, listening and talking and understanding the barriers to physical activity
  • Session C : Physical Activity Matters – Providing information about physical activity
  • Session D : The next steps – Putting mentoring into practice, action planning and evaluation

Course 2. Bespoke Training for local partnerships and stakeholders

For those who wish to take this work forward and develop a local programme within a local partnership but require a collective understanding and direction to their work. This course provides bespoke training for groups of local professionals and partnerships who feel that they need additional support in planning and implementing a Senior Peer Activity Motivator programme.


Courses will be designed to meet local needs and priorities but a possible outline might include:
– Half day meeting between local partners and trainers to disseminate and plan local training programme (minimum of four weeks in advance of training event) and agree:-

  • An Introduction to the Someone Like Me programme, background, purpose and philosophy
  • Planning your local programme – principles and strategies to match local needs including targeting, partnership development
  • 10 steps to successful planning
  • Four priorities for action, developing a mentor recruitment plan, understanding motivation, resourcing a local programme, monitoring and evaluation
  • Planning your local training activities
  • Building on your success and finding out more

– One full day training with group (experience suggests maximum of 20 participants).

Training could be delivered by external trainer together with local trainer. Experience suggests that this training is best delivered over two separate half days, but the material can be delivered in one day. This would involve a 9.30 start and a 4.00 finish.

Follow up meetings (half day) undertaken by local coordinator and local partner agencies as first step to developing support mechanisms for mentors and look at the progress of the programme.

Individual queries and discussions about tailoring a programme to meet your needs contact Bob Laventure via the LLT office.

Course Flyer

Download a Course Flyer


Course 1 is a one-day course. Bespoke training can be adjusted to meet the needs of local co-ordinators.


All participants will be provided with training resources for their own use with Senior Peer Activity Motivators. They will also receive the following resources for their own use.

  • CD ROM for Local Coordinators which covers the 10 steps approach to the planning, organisation and evaluation of a local Senior Peer Activity Motivator programme.
  • CD ROM of Senior Peer Activity Motivator training materials including powerpoints and volunteer mentor resource/handbook.

The following resources will also be available to view at the course.

  • Age Concern (2008) Ageing Well Volunteer Training Pack
  • Age Concern England (2003) Volunteering Development Resources. Age Concern England
  • British Heart Foundation National Centre for Physical Activity and Health (2005) Someone Like Me. Resources for training Senior Peer Activity Motivators
  • Help the Aged (2008) My Home Life, Volunteering in Care Homes a Tool Kit. Help the Aged (Now Age UK)
  • Mentoring and Befriending Foundation (2007) A synthesis of published research on mentoring and befriending. Mentoring and Befriending Foundation, Manchester.
  • Volunteer Development Scotland (2004) A Way of Life: Black and Minority Ethnic Communities as Volunteers’. Volunteering Scotland.
  • Volunteering England (2004) Volunteering Impact Assessment Toolkit, Volunteering England, London.
  • Fit as a Fiddle Programme for working with volunteers from AgeUK.



“Someone Like Me!” is a national programme of training for health and other professionals who wish to deliver their own local training for senior Peer Mentors. The Someone Like Me programme was developed as a partnership between Later Life Training (LLT), the BHF National Centre for Physical Activity and Health (BHF NC) at Loughborough University and Age Concern, Ageing Well (now AgeUK).

There is substantial evidence relating to the benefits of physical activity for the older person as a means of improving physical and psycho-social health, promoting independent living and well being. However, for many older people, physical activity is not an integral part of their lives. The aim of the Someone Like Me programme is to therefore increase opportunities for older people to become motivated towards and participate in health enhancing physical activity. Volunteer peer mentoring is a well established mechanism for engaging older people in health promotion programmes.

The Someone Like Me Programme can be used by a range of agencies as a means of initiating physical activity among older adults and provide a “strategic fit” to local health and activity promotion programmes which target older adults. We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions about the programme, Click here to download.

Original Development Team

The Someone Like Me programme was part of the original Department of Health development work for the Later Life Training continuum and was led by:

  • Vanda Brown, (Manager ActivAge, Age Concern, England)
  • Dr Susie Dinan-Young, (Senior Research Fellow at the Royal Free and University College School of Medicine London and the University of Derby)
  • Dr. Charlie Foster (The British Heart Foundation Centre for Health Promotion Research, Oxford University)
  • Piers Simey (Health Promotion Services, Wandsworth PCT)
  • Bob Laventure (BHF National Centre for Physical Activity and Health, Loughborough University)

*Our thanks also go to: The organisers and participants of the Senior Peer Activity Motivator pilot courses held in Dudley, Eastbourne, Kirklees, Liverpool, Sutton, Wigan and Woking and the participants in the pilot regional training event in Preston.
*Additional more recent contributions have also been made by:

  • Sarah Hawksworth, Ageing Well, Age Concern, England
  • Dean Hill, Dudley Health Improvement
  • Alison Morby, Kirklees MBC
  • Kay Muir – East Sussex Health Promotion
  • Mary Thomas (formerly Ageing Well Age Concern, England)
  • Gill Walker – Go 50 Surrey

*Additional development funding was also provided by the Department for Education and Skills (Adult and Lifelong Learning Section)

What is a Senior Peer Activity Motivator?

Someone who will help their peer group overcome some of the barriers to physical activity that older people face and move into or step up their campaign for healthy living and successful and active ageing.

What do they do?

  • point people in the right direction
  • help by providing appropriate information
  • are someone that an older participant can talk to
  • are someone who will understand things from “their point of view“
  • are someone who provides positive health promotion
  • are a positive role model.

Senior Peer Activity Motivators can be used in a number of situations to engage, motivate, buddy and support people into physical activity programmes and have been used in falls prevention, mental health, befriending and active living programmes. However, they are not trained to, nor are they expected to give medical advice or lead/teach exercise and physical activity programmes.

Principles that underpin the Someone Like Me programme

The following guiding principles represent the values, beliefs and philosophical underpinning of older people’s beliefs about an active way of life that underpin the Someone Like Me programme.

  • Older people should be placed at the centre of development and these principles should underpin the promotion of physical activity.
  • It is recognised that physical activity is essential for daily living and a cornerstone of health and quality of life.
  • There is a need for more positive attitudes towards ageing, with realistic images that depict older people as respected, valued and physically active members of society.
  • Older people should be encouraged to participate in decision-making and leadership positions, in all phases of programme planning, service development and delivery.
  • Through co-ordination, collaboration, consistent messages, and appropriate programme planning, physical activity may have a significant impact on society and lead to positive long term change.
  • The issues, interests and needs of older people in their community must be identified, and accessible, affordable activities and programmes must be designed to meet these needs.
  • While it is recognised that ageing and learning are both lifelong processes, it is appreciated that, for some, pre-retirement may be a key time to focus on physical activity and well-being.
  • Society should be a society for all ages. It is therefore necessary to develop programmes and services which accommodate older people’s choices to be with others.
  • There is a need for education on and promotion of the health benefits of physical activity as a way of life for both older people and those who work with them.

The role of Senior Peer Activity Motivators

Senior Peer Activity Motivators are not expected to give medical advice. Training for Senior Peer Activity Motivators does not entail the leading of exercise classes or groups, although in many cases that is what Senior Peer Activity Motivators may go on to do following further training. A job description for a volunteer Senior Peer Activity Motivator can be downloaded from here and a further document on their role, downloaded from here.


There are two seminal papers, one on volunteering and health and one on the role of mentors in falls prevention that you can download direct. An abstract on the LLT Peer Mentor Programme can be downloaded by clicking here.


LLT have worked with a number of local partnerships to develop bespoke training events including:

The Someone Like Me programme is endorsed by the BHF NC and by Age UK (the merged Age Concern/Help The Aged Charity). If you would like to speak to any of the previous bespoke Course 2 Someone Like Me contacts, please contact LLT.

Someone Like Me – Is it effective, does it work ?
There is growing evidence that such programmes can be very effective in helping older people to make decisions about their own health and become more physically active. There is also evidence of the benefits to those involved in volunteering and mentoring.There are two seminal papers, one on volunteering and health and one on the role of mentors in falls prevention that you can download direct. An abstract on the LLT Peer Mentor Programme can be downloaded by clicking here.Local programmes will identify their own criteria for success and there is detailed advice on evaluating local programmes included in our resources and training activities. The examples included below indicate both the nature of evidence that can be collected about successful programmes as well as the way in which programmes can be used to target different groups of older people.

Over the past 15 years we have had feedback from those we have trained and held stakeholder consultations and have produced further information on Key Lessons learned – how to make a real success of your mentoring scheme.

Key Lessons for a successful local Someone Like Me Programme

The BHF National Centre for Physical Activity and Health at Loughborough University and the ActiveAge Unit, Age Concern England undertook an assessment of the impact of the Someone Like Me programme. They identified top 10 key areas of learning from programmes currently involved in the “Someone Like Me” Programme. They are seen as essential to the successful planning of any local programme.

To download and view the details of the 10 key points to ensure a successful programme, Click Here

There is no formal assessment of these courses other than in-course review and evaluation of the extent to which courses have achieved their stated learning objectives. Certificates of Attendance, detailing content hours, course content and date for evidence of CPD and training are provided by LLT.

Course 1: The day course costs £120 (+ VAT) per person. There is a discounted rate of £100.00 (+ VAT) for those working for age related charitable and volunteer organisations. The cost covers all course resources on a CD Rom, printed resources on the day and a certificate of attendance.

Course 2: LLT will provide Bespoke Someone Like Me Training for an organisation to host the Programme for £1,200 (+ VAT) per day. There is a maximum of 20 participants on a single day and all some course resources must be printed by the host organisation. All resources will be provided on a CD Rom.

You can apply online, but first we ask that you ensure you have read the Eligibility Guidelines below and the statement about Medical Conditions and Learning Support Requirements first.   Alternatively, download and print an Individual Application Form and send into the LLT Office.
If there are no courses in your area we will initiate a course as soon as there is enough interest in an area.

Hosting a course

If you want to host a course in your area, please complete a Host Booking Form.