Ensure that Ability Bow gym in Bow has enough funding to stay open and have ongoing one to one support for those who need it most.
Why is this important?
I was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy when I was 19 and I now use a wheelchair. My muscles break down over time and lose strength and flexibility. I have to do lots of low level exercise to slow the progression of my illness, prevent heart problems and manage pain. It takes me an hour and a half to get there but I always go no matter the weather or how exhausting it is. The specialist equipment is unaffordable for individuals to own. I do not know where I would be without this place.
There are thousands of people like me that Ability Bow has helped in the ten years it has served the community. It is the only Disability Gym within zones 1 to 4 for people with long term health conditions that has accessible equipment and specialist staff. They have comprehensive programs for dealing with Stroke, MS, Heart Conditions, Diabetes, Muscular Dystrophy, sensory impairments, age related illnesses, mental health issues and more.
Their waiting list is more than a hundred people long. Demand has increased while funding has actually reduced. To keep the gym open they have already had to make half their staff redundant and cut the ongoing one to one support service. The most vulnerable people here are the ones losing access to ongoing support, for them the gym has already closed. There are people who have been written off who could not feed themselves who are now running on the treadmills thanks to this service. There is a cancer patient with a back broken in two places who was a wheelchair user and is now walking everywhere. This place has worked miracles and fundamentally transformed peoples lives for the better.
People with preexisting medical conditions are a lot more vulnerable to complications without exercise that could cost them their lives. There are lots of services for healthy people but as soon as you have a complex need and are at higher risk there is significantly less opportunity to exercise. Active people need less medication, see doctors less, relapse less, have fewer falls, fewer fractures and are more likely to go back to work. Treating the complications will cost the NHS a lot more than funding a gym to prevent them in the first place.