Centre gets recognition with award

An Ashington-based centre has been recognised for its rehabilitation work alongside a health trust.

Hirst Welfare Centre was runner-up in the NHS ‘Shining a Light on Excellence – Partnership Award’ for its work with the Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust.

The facility, in partnership with the trust, run Inclusive Fitness sessions every week, which are aimed at engaging individuals with limited mobility or disabilities in some basic fitness activities.

They work with Sharon Smith, an advanced physiotherapy practitioner from the head injuries service, who assess a patient before drawing up a tailored fitness programme alongside an instructor.

Sharon said: “The ultimate goal of any neuro-rehab service is to support patients to a stage where they are able to self-manage their symptoms and rebuild a productive meaningful life for themselves in the community.

“Our partnership with Hirst Welfare helps our patients achieve that goal. It is so much more than just attending a gym.”

Gail Ballance, director of the Hirst Welfare, said: “We were thrilled to be even nominated for the work we have been doing, it makes such a difference to the people who attend.

“We hope to maintain this strong partnership.”

Over the past year more than 20 individuals with a range of mobility problems have benefited from this including Steven Johnson an ex-soldier with a total of 11 years of service, who had been using a wheelchair and can now climb his stairs.

Sharon said: “Prior to attending the gym Steve was unable to take steps unsupervised or climb the stairs, he is now back sleeping upstairs, walking in his house and climbing the stairs independently, this is due to our collaborative working and the increased strength and fitness he has achieved through the gym.”

For further information about Hirst Welfare as well as the other facilities on offer, visit www.hirstwelfare.org or call 01670 857810.