New improved gym for mental health unit thanks to £33,200 legacy

An eight-year drive to provide a new gym for inpatients at Leicestershire Partnersip NHS Trust’s Bradgate Mental Health Unit has finally paid off - thanks to a £33,230 legacy.

The generous bequest from a former patient, Peter Richard Ford, sealed the success of a £34,860 refurbishment programme to create a larger, better equipped and more accessible gym that will help therapy staff harness the recovery power of physical activity

The new gym replaces a smaller, cramped facility near the unit’s Involvement Centre. Now relocated to a larger room, closer to the wards and overlooking a soon-to-be transformed central courtyard garden, the gym has a host of new features including:

• Air conditioning

• New flooring

• New decoration for a lighter, brighter environment

• Improved layout

• Wheelchair access

• Privacy film on the windows

• A physiotherapy staircase for patients with physio needs who might not be ready to use electronic equipment

• A storeroom for additional physical health equipment

Gym instructor Mark Shenton, who has been involved in fund-raising for the new facilities for eight years, explained: “The gym is already in use by our patients and because it’s now positioned closer to the wards, they can access it freely up to three times a week.

“The new multi-functional physiotherapy staircase is making a big difference already as previously our physiotherapists had to take patients over to the General Hospital site to access stairs for therapy.”

Next year the team hopes to train another gym instructor so that group and one-to-one sessions can be increased.

The new gym was unveiled at a launch event by LPT chair Cathy Ellis, who said: “It’s great to see the gym brought to reality after eight years, thanks to the hard work of the project team.

“It was funded through our Trust charity Raising Health and made possible through the generous legacy from a former patient here, Peter Richard Ford.

“Seeing it up and running now is a testament to the compassion our staff show to patients and to their dedication to improving the quality of care we provide.

Raising Health, LPT’s charity, now has a dedicated website, which showcases work to go above and beyond what NHS core services provide to improve the healthcare of people across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. You can find out more about how you can support fund-raising projects across mental health, learning disability and community health services.

Current projects include gardening and physical health projects to enhance the recovery of mental health patients on acute and rehabilitation wards, the creation of dementia-friendly gardens, provision of equipment to improve the lives of children with life-limiting illnesses, and sensory equipment and toys to support under-fives with disabilities.

Photo captions:

Cathy Ellis (in blue jacket) with gym instructor Mark Shenton (far right) celebrate the launch of the new gym with staff at the Bradgate mental health unit

High five for Cathy Ellis and Mark Shenton as colleagues from the Bradgate Unit try out the new, improved patient gym at the launch.

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