Wirral Lung Exercise Group

Moreton Community Centre

Your story

Wirral Lung Exercise Group, helping others whilst helping ourselves.

Group introduction

Our group was formed approximately 12 years ago and meets for 2 hours weekly at Moreton Community Centre, Wirral. Our average age is 70.

All members have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), or another form of lung complaint, which impacts on their lifestyle, general health and well-being. Average membership is 27 people, but this can fluctuate depending on health.

The group is invaluable to its members because their condition can lead to social isolation, depression and loneliness. It is beneficial both physically and mentally. The benefit helps members' families to cope with the changes in their lives too.

Our local hospitals run weekly respiratory rehabilitation classes - Rehab - each session lasting for 6 weeks, which are attended after GP referrals. These classes are aimed at improving health and maintaining fitness for those with COPD. Following one such session, a patient asked "what do we do now?" - "keep exercising at home " was the reply. This patient started his own class with two or three others from Rehab at a local community centre and has grown from there. His ethos for the class is, as well as helping ourselves, to help local young people who have problems ranging from learning difficulties to physical ability, such as celebral palsy. Currently we support three local special schools and a celebral palsy group by giving small donations and we hope to increase this.

With this in mind, originally funds were raised by having a sales kiosk at a local hospital, but with hospital reorganisation this was no longer possible. Now our funding comes entirely from weekly subscriptions and raffles, and occasionally donations from family members. We have bought all of our own equipment over the years.

In answer to "who runs the group", we are a competely democratic group. I am the Hon. Treasurer and I also supervise and help with the exercises. I do not suffer from COPD, but attended and supported my husband in the group for 12 years. Since he passed away I have continued with this.

Other members organise outings, raffles, refreshments and setting up and putting away equipment. Everyone has a part to play.

We have close contact with the local NHS Respiratory Physiotherapists and Nurses, who are always ready to give advice, answer queries and check that we are up to date with the latest medical thinking. This has changed considerably during the last 12 years. They also visit unannounced. I have spoken to them about this application and they are fully in support of what we are aiming to achieve. We still maintain our original aims, i.e. to improve and maintain our own health and fitness and to help others whenever we can.

How would this funding have an impact on your community?

With extra funding we would be able to buy more and better exercise equipment. This would raise the standard we are currently able to provide, thus impoving and maintaining members' health and general physical fitness and mentally creating a more positive outlook. With more equipment we would be able to increase our membership, accepting more referrals from the NHS Rehab and helping more COPD patients to take advantage of our weekly sessions.

The other impact would be the ability to donate more to the schools we support. The money is used to provide some day to day necessities and give that little extra to enhance the experiences in the classrooms/workshops all year around, not just Christmas and Easter. The age ranges from infancy to late teens and these youngsters are from all sections of society.

The benefits for years to come is from the development of education experiences that these young people with have. Early memories are very important for the future lives for them, their families and carers.
I have permission to name the three schools we support. They are all based on Wirral.
Meadowside Special School
Foxfield Special School
Elleray Park Special School
This totals approximately 200 children. We also support SticknStep for children with cerebral palsy.

If we are successful with this application we will contact the individual schools for suggestions on how the money can be best spent for their particular situations. The benefit for years to come is immeasurable, it will have a very positive impact on their young lives.

For our COPD group, the impact of giving something back to society is very important. Every member is committed to the ethos of our group and the delight expressed when we received thanks is very uplifting.

""Since joining the Exercise Group (I was sceptical at first), I am amazed at the difference it has made to me both physically and mentally. I am more able to cope with my day to day health problems by getting out and about more and I feel good that I have been able to help others. It has also made me realise that others have severe health problems as well."

Carol Rae, member for 8 years"

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