Two Hunter businesses have helped young people with cerebral palsy in Newcastle and the Hunter to improve their fitness by hitting the gym.
A successful first ever Hunter trial of a specially designed gym program has concluded last month. It was funded by the Greater Charitable Foundation and supported by volunteers from the Greater Building Society.
For two months the Cerebral Palsy Alliance ran eleven gym sessions in partnership with Anytime Fitness Warners Bay. Eleven young people participated in the program.
Cerebral Palsy Alliance exercise physiologist Teigan Butchers said the program allowed participants to increase their energy levels and functional strength, whilst gaining exercise knowledge and meeting other young people with cerebral palsy.
She said people with cerebral palsy can be put off attending a gym and miss out on important exercise benefits appropriate to their physical needs and capabilities.
“The young people were introduced to movements and exercises that they would never have thought they could do before,” Teigan said.
One of the participants was Newcastle woman Aletia Pepperall. Aletia has recently been selected for the NSW squad for the 2014 National Boccia Championships. She said the gym program was really helpful in terms of getting her fitness to a level necessary for playing representative sport. She is planning to continue the gym program next year.
Greater Building Society compliance officer and self confessed “gym junkie”, Bern Rennie, volunteered to help run two of the fitness sessions.
“The program is amazing and having the opportunity to help young people with a disability such as cerebral palsy is fantastic,” Bern said.
The Greater Charitable Foundation is funded by the profits from the Greater Building Society on behalf of customers and staff. The Foundation gave additional funding to Cerebral Palsy Alliance this year to trial the program, on top of the funding it provides for two mentoring programs for local young people with cerebral palsy and related disabilities. Aletia was a participant (mentee) in the first Emerge mentoring program for young adults run by Cerebral Palsy Alliance and Greater Building Society in 2011.
Cerebral Palsy Alliance provides services for people living with cerebral palsy and similar disabilities, and their families. Its centre in the Hunter, the Stuart Centre at Valentine, celebrated 30 years of operation in December.
Image | Aletia Pepperall boxes with Bern Rennie