Community Local News

I Can secures funding to help keep community moving

Independent charity Valley Leisure Ltd has secured the future of the I Can Therapy Centre in the heart of Andover town centre with the help of funds donated by local company Simplyhealth, enabling more people to move more and feel better.

Despite the significant challenge posed by the global pandemic and the temporary closure of the I Can Therapy Centre service during 2020 and into 2021, the team secured the final funding instalment of £70,000 from Simplyhealth’s three-year community funding programme. A total of £130,000 has been donated by the health solutions company whose offices are based in Andover.

This substantial funding has enabled the charity to fulfil its ambition to relocate I Can to new premises in Andover town centre, enhancing the presence, accessibility and reach of the service to make a positive difference to more people’s lives.

Wendy Cummins, Community Manager at Simplyhealth, said: “Simplyhealth’s support of local communities has been at the heart of our purpose for nearly 150 years. We are delighted to have been able to help I Can Therapy Centre’s service users to stay mobile and overcome isolation to feel part of their community.

“We know how important this is in helping people to maintain good physical and mental wellbeing, and this is something that’s close to our hearts.”

Donald is 71 years old and feels stronger and more mobile having returned to using the specially adapted power assisted exercise equipment available at I Can’s new home in Union Street. Having been diagnosed with cancer of the kidney in 2018 which has since spread to his bones, Donald’s consultant advised that remaining active by exercising at I Can is really important to help him manage the effects of the disease and the effects of the medication that he takes to try and control the spread of the disease.

Donald said “ I Can is such a welcoming place with a really nice social atmosphere. Exercising here motivates me to do more than I would at home on my own. Having something booked in my diary each week gives me something to look forward to which makes a big difference. Being able to meet lots of people all dealing with different health conditions but enjoying the exercise all together really benefits my mental and social health as well as my physical health .”

It’s not just Donald who has noticed the benefit of exercising at I Can, his family have also commented on the positive change to his mood since returning to the therapy centre and it makes them happy knowing he is doing something he enjoys.

Chris Attrill, Valley Leisure’s Chief Executive said: “ The funding from Simplyhealth has enabled us to secure the short to medium future of the I Can Therapy Centre. Relocating to the town centre is an essential element of ensuring that the service continues to thrive and benefit as many people as possible. “With use of this funding we have also been able to explore options to diversify our unique service to enable those who cannot attend the physical centre to gain benefit from us and we hope to launch a new move more service in the near future.”

Since reopening the I Can Therapy Centre service in mid-April the team have received nearly 1000 customer visits. Demand for the service and a growing confidence amongst customers to re-engage in everyday activities has already led the team to enhance the service by increasing the capacity, frequency and flexibility of access to the centre.