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Restart programme for people recovering from coronavirus

The Restart programme is a unique, 12-week wellbeing programme from Middlesbrough Council and South Tees Public Health.

It's specifically designed for people who are still suffering the after-effects of coronavirus (COVID-19), even if it's a long time since they had the virus. This is often known as 'long COVID'.

These after-effects can include:

  • chronic fatigue (extreme tiredness)
  • breathlessness
  • aching muscles
  • brain fog (for example, difficulty thinking, staying focussed, or remembering things)

The programme is also for people who might be at higher risk of getting coronavirus, and who might not recover as well. This includes people with:

  • a BMI over 40
  • diabetes
  • coronary heart disease
  • limited mobility

How will I be supported?

On day one, you'll be met by our specialist team. They'll talk to you about any concerns you have.

If you need help with anything other than your symptoms, they'll find the right service to support you. This might include help with:

  • employment or money
  • addiction
  • quitting smoking
  • exercise and / or wellbeing
  • LGBTQIA+ issues
  • sexual health

At the first face-to-face session:

  1. We'll do a full assessment of your health, so we know where you're starting from. We'll let you know how to access the online materials, as well as giving coaching tips.
  2. We'll give you a tailored exercise programme. This can either be accessed online, or we can give you a hard copy of the session.

Your assigned mentor will call you regularly for support and to review your progress every week. They'll talk to you about the best way to increase your daily activity levels, and also discuss any concerns or problems you have.

Remember, physical activity does not have to mean going to the gym - there's lots you can do at home, in the garden, or on the beach!

Do I have to come to the Live Well Centre to take part?

Ideally you should complete sessions number 1, 6, and 12, as well as potentially session number 8, face-to-face. We have late-night sessions if you're at work or have other commitments during the day.

If you cannot attend the face-to-face sessions, you can complete the programme remotely (online), as long as you have a way of getting online.

Is this just an exercise programme?

No. The exercises have been chosen with 'long COVID' recovery in mind. The programme includes chest-opening exercises which focus on breathing, and a range of movement to improve respiration (breathing). It also includes regular checks on your progress. Our staff are experienced at running these kind of programmes, as well as SMART goal setting.

Will I have to pay?

No, the sessions during the 12-week period are free of charge. You'll also be able to take part in a range of other sessions, like tai chi, pilates, and chair-based and aerobic-based exercise sessions.

Who can take part?

The programme is for people recovering from coronavirus who may have 'long COVID' symptoms like chronic fatigue (extreme tiredness) and breathlessness.

It's also for people who are at higher risk of getting coronavirus, and who have conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, or a BMI of over 40.

Currently, people who are classed as 'clinically vulnerable' may not be able to take part in this programme. Those who are not classed as 'clinically vulnerable' can take part.

Can I refer someone else to the programme?

Yes. If you're a social prescriber or a health professional, please choose this option on the application form.

How do I get started?

First, you'll need to fill in the coronavirus-specific questionnaire and medical questionnaire (DOCX). You'll need to return it to the team, either by:

  • emailing the form to livewellcentre@middlesbrough.gov.uk
  • dropping the form off at the Live Well Centre (inside Dundas Shopping Centre, Middlesbrough, TS1 1HR)
  • sending the form by post to: Live Well Centre, Dundas House, Dundas Shopping Centre, Middlesbrough, TS1 1HR

If you're struggling with filling in the form, you can call 01642 727580 and ask to speak to someone from the Restart Team, who will help you to fill in the form over the phone.

We'll use the information on your form to decide whether you can take part in the programme. Once we've got your form, a member of the Restart Team will contact you within 5 working days to discuss what happens next.

If you're not sure whether the programme is for you or not, you can find out more about how the Restart programme has made a real difference to local people.