Protect Our Long-Term Exercise Service for the most vulnerable disabled people

Our unique one:one exercise service affected by cuts

Our gym remains open but we are experiencing a large reduction to our one to one service. Following our successful Tower Hamlets CCG pilot project last year we sought to partner on a longer term basis but commissioning opportunities were not available.

We have had to make service reductions in line with funding available and as usual we are generating funds in all sorts of ways, but until we have a clearer picture of funding opportunities we will no longer be able to support people with serious disabilities or complex health conditions on our long-term one:one exercise service.

Services we provide for more able, disabled people or those with less complex needs will continue to run, including via the Fit4Life programme.

We remain 100% committed to supporting the most vulnerable disabled population with accessible, affordable exercise sessions in Tower Hamlets, and we are confident that we will find a solution to the limited tendering opportunities in the borough and that our reductions to service with be temporary.

What are the benefits of Ability Bow's one:one service?

Ability Bow has been supporting disabled people to exercise in Tower Hamlets for the past 10 years. Our waiting list is more than a hundred people long. There are people here who had been written off who could not feed themselves, who are now running on the treadmills thanks to our service. There is a cancer patient with a back broken in two places who was a wheelchair user and is now walking everywhere.

Coming to our gym has worked miracles for hundreds of people and fundamentally transformed their lives for the better. We all know that participating in regular exercise and social activities has a positive effect on cognitive, motor and psychiatric function and we are committed to providing services which are accessible to people with complex disabilities and health conditions; who do not have the opportunities to exercise with the right level of support elsewhere.

Most of the people we work with have had a life-changing event such as a stroke or spinal injury or the diagnosis of a long-term condition like MS or Parkinson’s Disease. We accept referrals from GPs, physiotherapists and other Health or Social Care professionals and we have no exclusion criteria - we do not turn anyone away no matter how complex their disability making Ability Bow the only service of its kind in London.

It is our aim to enable everyone to become independent exercisers and we support them to progress and maintain their regular exercise programme. Some of the seriously disabled people we support will never be fully independent, but for those who are unable to exercise alone they maintain their fitness may avoid or hold off the degeneration of their mobility. Our clients all reach their personal fitness goals and fulfil their physical potential. Some people spectacularly overshoot their goals and live their lives to a fuller extent that they never thought would be possible again.

Funding to support our service comes from diverse sources, including events, classes and grants, with only 30% of our income coming from statutory contracts.