WHAT is believed to be the first 'leg club' in the North of England has opened in Otley.

All Legs Allowed has been set up to support anyone in the area who has a lower leg health condition.

Based on the award-winning Leg Club model created by former district nurse Ellie Lindsay OBE, the club also aims to help people get out and meet friends.

The service is being delivered by nursing staff from Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust and Chevin and Westgate GP Surgeries, with support from Otley Action for Older People.

Practice nurse at Chevin Surgery, Julie Rooney, says the club is offering a new approach by treating lower leg conditions in a non-clinical, community-based setting.

She said: "This is a really important and exciting partnership that we hope will help patients in Leeds become more involved in the care they receive.

"Every week two nurses will be on hand to provide self-care advice and treatment for hard-to-heal leg problems.

"This could involve changing dressings and providing wound care and leg ulcer treatment."

As well as the UK the Leg Club model is being used in the UK, Germany and Australia - and proving successful.

Evidence has shown that such groups can lead to improved healing rates by encouraging members to take more interest in their care. They have also been found to be useful in prompting patients to openly discuss their treatments.

As well as providing lower limb care, the Otley club hopes to combat isolation and loneliness by giving its members a chance to socialise with others experiencing similar health problems.

Volunteers will provide transport for housebound patients and oversee a programme of regular activities.

Otley Action for Older People Project Manager, Sue Trainor, is certain the initiative will deliver real benefits.

She said: "All of the partners have the same aims and objectives - to improve the health and wellbeing of the local older population.

"The leg club is a brilliant initiative that Otley Action for Older People is delighted to be involved in."

All Legs Allowed will run each Wednesday, from 1.30pm to 3.30pm, at the Otley Old People's Welfare Centre, on Crossgate.

Interested patients who are currently receiving lower limb care should get in touch with Otley Action for Older People for more details.

The charity can be contacted on (01943) 463965, e-mail info@otleyactionforolderpeople.org.uk .