Gym Member's Bulletin #9: recipe challenge and TV excitement

bag of ingredients for recipe challenge

This week’s news:

  • Welcome to this week’s bulletin. A special ‘hello’ to new members and a warm welcome to our lockdown community. We hope that this weekly bulletin goes some way to keep our people connected during lockdown and shielding.

  • In this edition we have no recipe. We hear gasps. Instead we challenge readers to cook something using the ingredients in our purple Ability Bow carrier bag. Just like Ready Steady Cook if you can remember the cooking game show with Ainsley Harriott? Should you feel inspired to take up the challenge do let us know what you made with the mystery ingredients from our carrier bag.

  • Exciting News! Ability Bow was featured on BBC London TV. For anyone disappointed to miss it live here is the clip of Tony and Christine doing a superb job of describing what we’ve been doing to adapt our exercise service during the pandemic to reach people who need our help. The BBC London News appearance has raised the profile of our charity and the online exercise service, and we have numerous enquiries from people with disabilities who had previously been unaware of our activities. There have been new followers on our social media too, which is great because we can tell them all about our charitable service and engage with a larger audience. We are delighted to be able to reach more people as a result of this news piece! 

  • At the Church we have been asked by St. Paul’s team to share their survey for local people to have their say on the church and qualities to seek in a new vicar. They’re about to recruit a Vicar to take over from James Hughesdon (who left recently for St. Mary’s Islington). The survey only takes 5 minutes, and they would be really grateful if you could complete it and share it around for others to have their say.

  • Our Virtual Coffee group invites you to pop in and say hello. It takes place every Thursday at 1.45-2.30pm on Zoom. Everyone is welcome to join this Members’ chatty group where they converse about whatever is on their minds that week. Members report feeling ‘more connected’ and ‘uplifted’ by attending the sessions. 

Focusing on Mental Wellbeing

Did you know, one in four of us will experience mental health problems during our lives. This can come in the form of anxiety, depression, stress and panic which can ultimately affect our emotions, thoughts, behaviour and physical wellbeing. Now, more than ever, it is important to take care of our mental health.

5 steps to mental wellbeing: 

1.     Connect with people

2.     Be physically active

3.     Get good sleep

4.     Live a healthy lifestyle

5.     Learn how to relax

If you are worried about your mental health, talk to your GP who can refer you on to support networks. Connection with others can really make a difference during lockdown. Why not pop in to our members’ Virtual Coffee held every week on Zoom? Let us know you’re interested and we’ll send you the link. It’s FREE.. and friendly too! 

Ability Bow Recipe: A Challenge!

We know some of you like a challenge, so.. inspired by Rachel’s creative store cupboard recipe last week, the Virtual Coffee members decided to challenge you to make a meal using the ingredients in our Purple Bag. If you give it a go we’ll feature your recipe in next week’s bulletin. 

Ingredients:bag of ingredients including tofu, prawns, potato, stock cubes, garlic

Choice of; chicken/prawns/tofu 






Stock cubes

Any spices or herbs you find in your cupboard

Method:  it is up to you. Look forward to seeing what marvelous meals are made this week. Ready. Steady. Cook!

Try this at home: Seated Row Exercise (using resistance band)

This week we begin taking a look at exercises you can do using an exercise resistance stretchy band. These are readily available from good sports shops and online retailers. They are versatile, reasonably priced and easy to use. 

The bands come in different colours which denotes their strength. 

This exercise works the muscles of the middle and upper back as well as the front of the upper arm

·      Sitting as straight as you can, place the band under one foot

·      Hold each end of the band secure in each hand

·      Keep your leg still and pull your arms back in a rowing action

·      Repeat 10-15 times

To make the exercise more challenging, place the band under both feet. If you are unable to place the band under your feet, anchor the band to a post or other secure object.

Member Spotlight: Khalid shares his experience of exercising in other gyms

“Having used most of the local authority gyms in the past, I tried using them again about three years ago. It was shocking to realise that I was no longer able to use any of them now.

Some years ago I was considerably more mobile, going up and down the stairs and being able to walk a couple of hundred meters without too much difficulty. In those days I was able to use regular gyms, this included climbing onto the high platforms of the treadmills or getting in and out of swimming pools unaided (as in my story about Texas - bulletin #7)). Following a string of botched operations and a very nasty fall breaking four bones, my fitness levels plummeted. I could no longer use my local gyms despite trying at three different Better gyms and one YMCA gym. I could no longer climb onto tall treadmills, or walk to the pools, or even get up from a rowing machine. 

This is why the local Falls Clinic recommended the Ability Bow Gym. At Ability Bow I could use the Seated Row, The Leg Press, The Chest Press, The Adductor, The Abductor, etc. Lately I have not been able to get onto the treadmills, although I could use them three years ago.

Not being able to access other gyms felt odd, as I had just joined Ability Bow and was able to use most of their equipment. 

I tried talking to the staff and managers at these local gyms, but got nowhere. Took this up with the directors at their head office, with the result that their local General Manager invited me to the flagship Centre. He took me upstairs where several trainers and other staff members were waiting. They set up and demonstrated all the equipment with yellow stickers. This looked most promising until I tried going there again, this time unaccompanied by the General Manager. There was hardly any staff there, and the ones present were unwilling even to talk, let alone help set up anything. It would not be very practical complaining to their MD every week, but regrettably that would be the only way to use their yellow-stickered equipment. In a nutshell, Ability Bow seems to be the only gym with the equipment, the staff and the culture of helping persons with disability to exercise and stay fit.” Khalid