Here's the January 2017 report from Bob Short.
Report Autumn 2016
In February 2014 after much consultation at Ealing hospital I got myself onto the cardiac exercise programme held at the ‘William Hobbayne Centre’ on a Tuesday lunchtime and a Thursday evening, these two sessions held each week at a cost of £4.50 per session are supervised by a qualified BACPR trainer. About 10 folk regularly attended these sessions run by Ealing Hospital the cost we paid was a partial contribution towards the overall cost of the trainer’s and the hall hirer.
In August and without any notice Ealing hospital pulled out of the level 4 fitness programme due to expenditure cuts at the hospital but continued the level 3 fitness programme at the Gym in Ealing hospital which is just a six week programme after folk have received treatment at the Cardiac centre in Ealing Hospital.
A small group of us wanted to continue with the level 4 fitness programme because of the great benefit it was giving us all who had a variety of different heart conditions. However only 5 wanted to continue and were prepared to pay an extra amount so we continued but had to pay £10 per session and sometimes more if the attendance was low because the trainer’s fee was £60 per session.
We realised that we had to put it on a better footing so we created a constitution, opened a bank account and called ourselves the ‘Ealing Cardiac Group’ ECG, the following are the committee members.
Suki Flora Chairperson
Ian Renwick Secretary
Robert Short Treasurer
Mohinder Kalsi has been very involved too.
We have a web site www.ecg.fitness and we have produced some advertising material and flyers, funded personally by Ian Renwick, whilst we try to raise some external funding to try and keep this essential group going because there are thousands of people in our borough with serious heart conditions who would benefit from the level 4 exercise programme.
We did manage to get some folk from the level 3 programme at Ealing hospital and regularly went along to talk to groups at Ealing hospital about our programme and by the end of 2014 we had increased our numbers to about 8. More did come but either found the sessions too difficult and exhausting for them or the cost too much.
We pushed on with a passion and decided that we must try to get the cost eventually down a bit so we have introduced a scheme where you pay £20 a month as a subscription, preferably by direct debit this has proved to be more attractive and our membership has now gone up to a regular 12/13 per session.
The purchase of some new exercise equipment has been paid for by our trainer Barbara Sowa who has been absolutely fantastic in helping new folk settling in to the programme and we are fortunate to have such a dedicated person working with us. When Barbara is on holiday another trainer comes along so the level 4 exercise programme is now continuous which is the right way to run the programme.
We have tried to get funding and have written to Ealing Voluntary Services and the William Hobbayne trust but have not received any support from them but we have received a bit of financial support from ‘The Rotary Club of Hanwell and Northfields’ and ‘Hanwell Chapter 4676’ and we are busy contacting doctor’s surgeries to try and get them to advertise our ECG fitness classes to try and get some new recruits.
I am very pleased to advise that since ‘Imperial College Health Care (NHS Trust) have taken over the running of the level 3 cardiac exercise programme it has been great that they have referred folk to us. This has been achieved with some of our people going to talk to them about the benefits of exercise and the level 4 programme, particularly the efforts of Ian and Mohinder.
As a result with the numbers increasing, we decided at the beginning of June to start a second class on Monday evening and although we need to get the numbers up to 15 to make it viable we currently have about 7 attending. A great start.
We decided to make the Monday session cost £20 per month and if we can achieve 15 per session the maximum one trainer can manage, with the personal attention that we need, on a Monday and Thursday this will make the whole programme successful.
Folk should see this as membership of the ECG club and the benefit of regular exercise comes with regular attendance not just an occasional visit. With that in mind we prefer if all members could pay the monthly subscription by Direct Debit and make payment through the GoCardless scheme
We are delighted that the group is working well. We get no NHS funding. This is a Cardiac level 4 exercise programme run by Heart Patients with the great help and support of our qualified trainer Barbara for people with heart related issues. And supporters.
We need other members to come forward to help us with the running of the ECG Group and help with ideas of fund raising because if the numbers go on increasing we would not turn folk away so we might have to consider another class or expanding the current classes to bigger premises, with say two trainers.
We are going to hold our first AGM at the beginning of October so please start to think about any improvements we could make to what has been a very exciting period since we went independent from Ealing Hospital in August 2014.
Robert Short (Bob)