Funds help exercise group for the disabled get physical in Northampton

People with disabilities in Northampton are saying they feel much better after taking part in weekly exercise classes with their coaches Raphael and Marcus.
People with disabilities in Northampton are saying they feel much better after taking part in weekly exercise classes with their coaches Raphael and Marcus.

Northamptonshire Community Foundation this year awarded £4,320 to fund a wellness gym at Lodge Farm Community Centre, aimed at people with disabilities including MS, Parkinsons and cancer.

The money has not only subsidised the use of the newly created gym facility for disabled users but it has also assisted with purchasing equipment too.

Pat Endicott pictured with her husband Pete working out on Wednesday (December 4).

Pat Endicott pictured with her husband Pete working out on Wednesday (December 4).

Area development manager for Parkinsons UK in the East Midlands, Katie Smith, said: "Exercise is so important because it helps the symptoms but it has mental health benefits too.

"When you shake or you have a problem with walking you can feel put off going to a gym - but here it's so inclusive."

The group (pictured) started eight months ago and over 30 people - who struggle to use a regular gym - now attend.

Katie added: "They feel part of a community and they get that social interaction.

Jackie Starr says her Multiple Sclerosis has got much better since she's joined the club.

Jackie Starr says her Multiple Sclerosis has got much better since she's joined the club.

"People want to come to these sessions not for the physical sessions but for the laughs and chats they have too."

Former NHS worker and fitness instructor Raphael Davighi leads the rehabilitation sessions on site and is the founder of the charity.

He said: "The whole point of the group is to bridge the gap between people who can't go into a gym and here. We have small exercise groups and rehab groups.

"It's a mixture of joining here not just for fitness but the social element - that's the whole point of what we do. We want to combat loneliness and improve those who struggle with wellness.

Fitness instructor and charity boss Raphael Davigli pictured with participant Pamela Harrison.

Fitness instructor and charity boss Raphael Davigli pictured with participant Pamela Harrison.

"It's their session, it's not my session, I only tell them what they're doing rehab wise and make it as much fun as possible."

Multiple Sclerosis sufferer Jackie Starr of Little Billing attends once a week and says she enjoys it very much.

"My stamina is definitely better and I don't have much trouble walking up hills," she said.

Most of the attendees are referred through GPs and physiotherapists but Raphael can be contacted directly at info@fitnesswithoutboundaries.com