As part of our increased volunteering focus, we thought we'd take the time to showcase how much we value our volunteers; and highlight how they get involved at our gym too day-to-day!
Our vital volunteers help make us who we are!
Emma Alexander, 24 - who is a wheelchair racer currently training for the Paralympics - provides exercise support via the InstructAbility programme to one of our members.
Sabina Khatun, 21, also volunteers here alongside studying at the University of Westminister.
We hear from both as to why they love voluinteering here at Ability Bow!
Meet Emma (Q&A)
Q: Where do you live?
Q: What's your career background?
A: I've acquired various different fitness qualifications including Level 2 Gym Instructor and Level 3 Personal Trainer.
Q: How did you first find out about Ability Bow and InstructAbility? What does the InstructAbility element involve?
A: I found Ability Bow through a friend. The InstructAbility programme simply helps disabled people become gym instructors. You can find out more here via Aspire's programme.
Q: Why did you decide to become involved with Ability Bow and InstructAbility?
A: I became involved with Ability Bow to gain more experience with training people in the gym. I did the InstructAbility programme with YMCA Fit in 2015-2016.
Q: What skills and experience have you acquired since being on your placement?
A: I have become much more confident when delivering sessions here. Whenever I get stuck, I always ask for help and get great support from the team. It's brilliant to get more experience and a chance to develop my fitness industry knowledge.
Q: What makes Ability Bow so special as a gym and as a placement provider?
A: What's great about being at Ability Bow is that they'll always help and support clients in any way they can to achieve their goals and targets.
Q: Why would you recommend this placement with Ability Bow and InstructAbility to others?
A: I'd recommend Ability Bow to anyone who is looking to gain more fitness industry experience as it helps people with disabilities and long-term health conditions with their overall health and wellbeing and is invaluable.
Q: What do you do in your spare time/what hobbies do you have?
A: As mentioned further above, I'm a wheelchair racer training for the Paralympics. I also hold a national/world ranking for my sport so that keeps me busy.
Thanks Emma, it was great meeting you!
Meet Sabina (Q&A)
Q: How did you first find out Ability Bow?
A: I was looking for local work and volunteering opportunities online.
Q: Why did you decide to become involved with Ability Bow?
A: When I first heard of the gym, it was the first time I saw somewhere so unique where disabled people in their community could benefit and I wanted to be part of something so positive.
Q: What's your day to day role as part of supporting reception?
A: My daily reception role involves greeting clients and assisting with sign-ins. I also have some admin duties where I process clients' paperwork and ensure files are stored in the correct place. While I'm working, I've had some interesting conversations with gym members and there's been times where I've chatted for an hour!
Q: What skills and experience have you acquired since being here and how do you think these will be useful for you in your life/career?
A: I've picked up some great communication skills and really developed my confidence. I've become confident in greeting anyone who walks through the door and I also feel I can engage with people from different backgrounds more easily now. I used to do anything to avoid dealing with phone calls but ever since I've been at Ability Bow, I've become more comfortable over the phone.
Q: What makes Ability Bow so special as a gym and as an employer?
A: Practically, Ability Bow uses specialist equipment that everyone can use so much more efficiently to non-accessible gyms. The specific exercise programmes and projects are great too and are designed to focus on helping people with various needs and abilities.
Exerise is used as a tool to help both mental and physical disabilities and Ability Bow always aims to help as many people and with the idea there's no limitations.
As an employer, Ability Bow is also great as it ensure staff are fully qualified and holds volunteering opportunities to provide experience for people like myself.
Q: Why are you - like us - passionate about people?
A: I just want to help people see positive improvements made in their daily lives. As someone who sometimes struggles to keep things going mentally, I think it's important to wake up with the intention to do something productive to feel renewed. So if that means attending Ability Bow to 'get sweating' through exercise, then so be it.
Q: How much would you recommend Ability Bow volunteering to others?
A: I would 100 percent recommend anyone to volunteer here as my experience has been wonderful, with everyone so welcome and positive.
Q: What do you do in your spare time/what hobbies and interests do you have?
A: Spare time? There's no such thing! When I'm not volunteering, I'm studying in university and buried in assignments and otherwise, I'm working over the weekends. If I do get some spare hours, I usually spend time with friends or babysit my younger family members. On warmer days, I take a quick walk around the park to clear my head if I get overwhelmed. On cold days though I usually whip out a sweet hot chocolate and dive into a book.