When becoming disabled at the age of 22, after being a health and fitness enthusiast, as well as a Personal Trainer and strength trainer, I went from being very strong to being in a wheelchair. Due to the rare nature of my condition, many local physiotherapists could not help me, with one department outright refusing to treat me due to fear of the effects it might have and the liability it opened them to. I encountered difficulty until I hired my own Personal Trainer and started meeting twice a week. I had the knowledge and the drive but not the ability to use "normal" equipment and set up machines.
After this meeting, everything changed. As is the case with most neuromuscular conditions, not all of my muscle was affected, and the more you can do to help the muscles being affected while building those that are still fully mobile, the more it translates to functional, day-to-day improvements. After a short time I was able to start getting myself out of bed, using the toilet without assistance, showering without assistance, to the point where I no longer needed to rely on the wheelchair. All of this because I fought to help myself when there was very little available to me.
Fast-forward 17 years and very little has changed. Specialist physio departments exist but are few and far between and massively over-subscribed. Very few specialist gyms exist, with only 86 gyms around the whole country achieving accreditation for being accessible, and they are mostly large health centres (e.g., local council centres) that do not tend to have specialist equipment for accessibility and are often not welcoming environments; for example, I still get laughed at sometimes when struggling to walk around some of these gyms, and some people even laugh or simply stop and stare while I'm seen to be struggling to lift even the lightest weights but, to me, that exercise might mean the difference of getting myself off a toilet or needing to get help.
As well as people with disabilities having the need for specialist equipment (with smaller weight increments, special features such as swing-away seats that can be moved to allow use of the machine from a wheelchair, etc.), there are also those with injuries who are rehabilitating, and those who may not be as capable as they were previously. Additionally, we also need the right people to help us.
I aim to create a facility where this equipment exists, with highly trained staff (Level 3 and GP-Referral qualified Personal Trainers, as well as Physiotherapists) being available, and all in a facilitative and encouraging environment.
Over the years since becoming disabled, I retrained as a psychologist and a business consultant; I have the knowledge and experience to make this into the most beneficial environment for those who really need it.
As an alternative way of supporting this project to simply giving money, if you would prefer to donate on the basis of it being an investment then please do contact me separately. I’d be massively grateful of loans as well as donations that come through here, and will consider repayment periods between 12 months after opening and 60 months after opening (interest rates and repayment periods to be agreed between us and formalised). Due to this current economic climate, I was unable to secure the much needed business loan to kick things off, so any similar arrangement would be welcomed; I really would appreciate absolutely any help I can get and I thank you in advance for your time and support.
Please help me to bring this valuable offering to life...