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Charity offering alternative to axed exercise scheme

By Lynsey Bradford, Town Reporter Saturday 9th February 2013

A Barnsley charity has said it can provide patients with exercise classes after funding for the Exercise Referral Scheme was cut.


Active Barnsley provides community classes for which there is a small charge, and health trainer Bronia Fretwell said the classes could help people who now find they cannot be referred to the Exercise Referral Scheme, set up for people with health problems who were referred by their GP.


The free eight-week course had seen more than 6,300 people suffering from diabetes, heart problems and other medical complaints, referred over a four year period.


It supported people who have health problems which prevented them from taking part in mainstream physical activities.


But NHS Barnsley decided to stop funding from the end of March and no alternative funding has been found.


But Bronia, a physical activity specialist practitioner, said it was important people were aware of alternatives to the scheme and believes the community classes run by Active Barnsley could be an answer to the problem.


She said: “When people have major health issues in their lives, it is important that physical activity practitioners work with them to develop an appropriate physical activity programme to enable them to have greater control of their illness or disease and increase their physical activity levels.


"This activity should be a constant feature of the individual's lifestyle and not just a short burst."


She said Active Barnsley already has a number of patients referred by GPs to the classes.


They also have some specialist classes which are paid for by the Parkinson's Society and the Multiple Sclerosis Society.


She added: “It's important that people realise that places like the Metrodome and our classes have individuals who are highly trained and qualified to monitor their specialist clients –the exercises are based around improving strength and balance which is evidence based exercise. Not many people are qualified to carry this sort of thing out safely and in many instances poor instructors can do more harm than good.”



CommentsClick here to add a comment...
Posted by Stephanie Bower I Tue 12th Feb 2013 at 8:03pm

I recently attended hydro therapy and Tai Chi classes at Hoyland Leisure Centre as part of my treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis and found the classes extremely helpful for my condition. The 6 week course was wonderful and a great opportunity to trial the treatments....many of the participants enjoyed the classes and were willing to fund their own classes as a form of continuation of the treatment. I am sure Barnsley NHS could have offered continuation groups and charged their clients in order to subsidise the continuation of this fabulous work, rather than lose the service all together.

Think outside the box and keep the services runnng!