Some time ago we reported on the campaign to save the Ability Bow Gym in St Paul’s Church in Gym. They’ve had some good news and some bad news.
While the long term physical rehabilitation service is still gone, they have some good news for a different project. The gym has received some funding from the City Bridge Trust for a mental health support project called Positive Steps. The grant for the Positive Steps work is restricted to mental health, so the long term physical rehab is still shut down for now. This is still good news but this is just the first step in trying to rebuild the service.
The need for facilities for physical rehabilitation has not gone away, and Gym needs your continuing support to get them restored.
They have produced their first video Wheelchair to Walking showing Grace’s story as she went through the long term disability rehabilitation service.
Please sign the petition and share it with your friends and family:
A recent survey of 27 people found that thanks to long term rehabilitation at the gym:
85% of users signed off physiotherapy.
37% Need fewer carers.
29% Reduced their medication.
25% Had fewer hospital visits.
22% Returned to work.
Members have complex and varied conditions and most need long term support,
but by using the service here they are proven to be less reliant on the NHS and Social Services.
The petition has almost reached 6000 signatures. The Long term rehab service has been closed for 8 months now. The closest one to London is now near Birmingham. 60% of people referred by the NHS needed long term help which they are not getting now. The Minister for people with disabilities, Penny Mordaunt, has not been in touch, in spite of her department telling the BBC they would contact the gym directly back in February 2017. Please feel free to contact her yourself to make sure she has not forgotten us:
Tweet: @PennyMordauntMP ,
Updates and media coverage can be seen on the Facebook Page:
Here are ten personal experiences people have chosen to share about the gym on the petition page:
1 – “My father had a severe stroke so I witnessed at first-hand the debilitating effects of no longer being able to walk. This could happen to any one of us. People affected by stroke or injury all deserve the chance to have life-changing rehabilitation to help get their lives back on track. Rehabilitation does work, so please keep this gym open, it’s crucial.” – Denise
2 – “i have disability and to have gym for that use is really good. I’m Paralympic athlete and for me i think this good idea for those who may need it. If this helps people who can’t walk or is helping them how can we not do this? How can we take people happiness away from them. Just look and watch around you how much you have to give up just because this gym had to go.” – Sabrina
3 – “My daughter uses the gym regularly. She is long term disabled. She no longer gets regular physio. The reason is funding cut. The excuse is that she has the gym to keep her agile. Now the gym is being affected by cuts! What a disgrace. The top priority for fundingin the city should be important projects like this!” – Akiva
4 – “It is so shortsighted and stupid to close a gym for disabled people that improves their mobility and sense of self esteem, and that also certainly saves the NHS millions in further medical support that would otherwise be needed as these people would further deteriorate without the benefits the gym has given them. for disabled people, as well as the obese, would help to lower the demands on the NHS as people got fitter and became more active.” – Norma
5 – “My wife is a user of Ability Bow. It is a rehabilitation centre as welll as a gym. My wife was always falling due to her poor balance and mobility limitations. Use of the the specialist/adapted equipment at Ability Bow and the support from staff has helped her build strength and develop confidence which in turn has reduced her falls and visits to A&E. As her carer, Ability Bow helps me to help her, Please save Ability Bow” – Joseph
6 – “The loss of this vital gym will be a disgrace. Health should be accessible to all. It will be a massive hit on the economy as other therapy services cost much more and are so complicated and less dignifying to gain access. At the gym with qualified willing happy staff it make rehabilitation enjoyable and satisfying for the staff to work in the field in witch they have trained. is will be a sad and angry loss for all the community and society.” – Daniel
7 – “My best friend is quadriplegic, almost 8 years in and still getting stronger, still more and more independent. She couldn’t be where she is without a place like this. It’s incredibly important and worth while to support anywhere really trying to help and make a difference for the lives of those with disabilities, injuries or health issues and it’s terrible that such places are having their funding cut. Please help out however you can.” – JB
8 – “I have worked here for the last 7 years and it’s one of only 2 or 3 gyms in the country that caters for people with serious health conditions with specialised equipment.I have loved working at this gym and seeing the life changing impact it has had for clients. Please sign this petition” – Andrew
9 – “I signed the petition because my wonderful sister attends the gym and has benefited immensely. The staff and centre do fantastic work helping some of the most vulnerable and often forgotten members of the community. The gym provides a much needed and invaluable service.” – Mary
10 – “My lovely aunty uses this amazing facility and I think it’s such a shame we can find money for Olympics and garden bridges and new trains but not rehabilitation spaces for our disabled people. As a physiotherapist we are constantly fighting for people’s independence and this gym is a key resource! Save ability bow” – Alison
Want more stories? Check out the Ability Bow Website: https://www.abilitybow.co.uk/story-wall/siji
Please read more about the campaign and consider donating to the charity or doing your own fundraising: https://www.abilitybow.org/get-involved/protect-our-long-term-sessions