Supporting people with disabilities and health conditions is not easy.
However, it is a crucial part of the recovery that can really transform people’s lives. Ability Bow are a team of committed individuals who are striving to support people with disabilities and help them to get fitter and more independent through exercise in their specialist accessible gym. We are very happy to be sharing their story and incredible achievements on this journey.
How it all started
Ability Bow was founded over a decade ago by Director Victoria Kent in 2006 with the support of the local community in Bow, east London. When the gym opened, it was a project of the charity, Ability UK. However, things were moving fast and in April 2006, Ability Bow took over the contract to run the gym independently. What is more, they won funding from Sport England! GPs, physiotherapists and other local health professionals began to regularly refer patients to Ability Bow to join their Exercise Referral Scheme. There is currently tremendous demand for the gym from local people who want to use it.
“Without this place I don’t know where I’d be!” – Nathan
How is Ability Bow doing now
Ability Bow has an incredibly dedicated team who works with over 400 people each year and enables them to transform their lives for the better.
“By helping people get fitter, their independence and resilience improves and many live their lives with increased independence. People become less reliant on NHS services, family and friends. Many members report increased energy levels, better mood, greater independence and less pain among many other benefits!” – says Victoria Kent.
Ability Bow continued to diversify their income and to gain the support of charitable trusts and statutory partners including. They also started receiving support from energetic and committed fundraisers who ran, cycled, walked and even baked to raise money to support their work. A couple of months ago, Ability have also successfully started raising money using GoRaise.
Why do programs (projects) like this matter?
Ability Bow members have a wide range of disabilities/health conditions. Many have had a life-changing event such as a stroke or the diagnosis of a long-term health condition which severely impacts on their quality of life. Unfortunately, it makes mainstream provisions unsuitable because the level of support they need is not provided. When people come to Ability Bow, they often find themselves in a position where they can no longer dress themselves, prepare food, cook, shop, wash or shave. They no longer go out, become increasingly isolated, they may lose their jobs and often become depressed, losing all confidence.
People with disabilities or long-term health conditions can experience many barriers to exercise. Therefore, it is Ability Bow team’s mission to break these barriers down. Their aim is to overcome the obstacles and help every individual fulfil their highest potential.
People who get a referral to Ability Bow receive ‘one-to-one’ personalised gym sessions. Each session costs them £70 which they do not pass on to their members, charging the service user just £4.50.
Each year the charity needs to raise over £250,000 to maintain their vital service. Also, it is the only gym of its kind in inner London.
“To carry on supporting disabled people to live richer, more active lives we need all the help we can get. “
In order to develop the number of people they reach, Ability Bow team gets support from various charitable trusts, and national funders, Gym members contribute a small sum towards the cost of their sessions and they generate more funds in all sorts of ways; bake sales, community events, sponsored sporting events etc and now GoRaise is one of these ways of helping to fill the pot.
“We have found that using GoRaise is an easy and effortless way for supporters to help us.” – Lorna
“Being a small charity all donations and fundraising from our supporters’ online shopping goes directly to running our service and improving our clients’ health in the short and long term, Every pound raised goes towards delivering our service and not a penny is wasted. We really are passionate about people and we strive to put the ability back into disability.“
If you’d like to support Ability Bow in their fundraising mission, you can raise funds for them every time you shop online using their GoRaise page. We can’t wait to see what they achieve next!
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