HERMITAGE Park is set for a summer of free tai chi and local residents are encouraged to get involved.

Hermitagetaiji are providing the classes for the benefit of the local community and, as it is an official park activity, has been given permission to continue while the park’s renovation work gets underway.

The project has been started by a local unemployed man, Chris Godwin, who is a registered tai chi instructor with the Tai Chi Union of Great Britain in 2016 and has been practising tai chi for 18 years.

Hermitagetaiji is a not-for-profit endeavour aiming to promote the health and wellbeing benefits of tai chi, especially for those who might not be able to afford to pay for tai chi lessons, as well supporting the active use of Hermitage Park.

Chris described tai chi as an ancient Chinese philosophy and exercise routine that anyone can do, regardless of age or level of fitness.

It is sometimes described as moving meditation and there is now overwhelming medical evidence that regular practice of tai chi improves health and wellbeing.

Chris said: “Over the years many people have approached me and asked the same thing, ‘isn’t tai chi just a load of arm waving?’. I have decided to help others by sharing my knowledge and experience, as is the Chinese tradition, by guiding students through the exercises, showing them the meaning of the movements, helping them to improve their health but also introducing them to the ancient philosophy of tai chi.”

The first class was held on May 2 and Chris was delighted that 10 people turned out to support his new venture.

Chris said: “The reaction from all of the participants has been positive but it is the comment, ‘just what I needed’, that has most resonated with me.

“One of the benefits I have enjoyed from tai chi is that it has helped improve my health and wellbeing over the years.”

A crowdfunding page has been set up to help support free tai chi, as well as to promote the project to a wider audience.

The page has been set up with a target of £25,000, which they will use to keep the free classes going and set up a dedicated website. The aim is to provide a village roadshow to help educate people in practicing tai chi.

The crowdfunding page can be found by visiting http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/free-tai-chi-classes-in-the-park

Chris’s class runs every Tuesday at 10am and the group meet at the main park entrance.

The class runs for 60 minutes and participants are asked to bring a pair of flat soled shoes, a waterproof jacket and a cheerful attitude. Visit the Facebook Page Hermitagetaiji@taijienergy