“When my YMCA instructor at the Stroke Rehabilitation class first told me I’d be able to walk on the treadmill, I thought she was joking,” says Redhill resident Randolph, 54. “It seemed completely unachievable.”
“A year later, I am now using it regularly for a few minutes at a time. Without the help and support of the Exercise Referral team I would never have reached this milestone.”
It’s been a long road to recovery for Randolph since he had a stroke in 2012.
“I lost all feeling in the left hand side of my body,” he explains. “After being discharged from hospital, I was given six sessions of physio at a therapy unit and then was expected to fund further treatment myself.”
Randolph feels that the YMCA plays a vital part in bridging the gap between the NHS and the private healthcare sector. He hopes the new Inclusive Sports Facility will help to change the lives of more people like him who are living with chronic health conditions, injuries and long term ill-health.
“I’ve been so lucky to draw on the experience of knowledgeable fitness instructors, who are prepared to go the extra mile to help me through each stage of my recovery. The classes keep me from feeling socially isolated – it’s like being part of one big extended family.”
The Inclusive Sports Facility will adjoin the existing YMCA Sports and Community Centre in Redhill, creating a high quality integrated and unique facility, designed specifically to inspire and support those least likely to participate in (but with most to gain from) physical activity.
Individuals with chronic health conditions will be able to access controlled physical activity that is tailored to their particular condition, led by a fully-qualified instructor who can work with them over a period of time to realise long-term improvement.
Current sports facilities too often attract the young, the fit, the able and the affluent, inadvertently becoming daunting and inaccessible places for those most in need. The new Inclusive Sports Facility will enable us to develop many new initiatives for those with disability and ill health in East Surrey.
“Coming to the YMCA is so important to me,” says Randolph. “Without the Stroke Rehabilitation class, I would have lost my independence and my identity. I’d be isolated and depressed. Instead I feel very grateful, optimistic and full of hope.”