Page 1



London Marathon 2019 Preview Your guide to the 2019 marathon and how you can get involved 8-10

Meet Drew Nicholls Meet our Positive Steps lead, Drew, who's boosting gym member morale 11-12

PLUS: Meet Our Members

Day In The Life We speak to our remarkable new receptionist Rochelle about her role 19

Take Our Events Survey

What's On

Inside This Issue ACTIVITIES 13 Bow In The Borough Find out how our new Smovey and Positive Steps sessions are keeping our members fitter for longer.


20 What's On In Bow

15-16 Meet Our Members Read about how our members are making some life-changing recoveries through our service.

17 Catching Up With: Siobhan Ability Bow trustee Siobhan Lanigan explains her new supporting role for our service.

Get involved in super local activities ranging from walking groups and adventure options including canoeing in Tower Hamlets.

RECRUITMENT 14 New Staff Members

EXTRAS 5 Photo Gallery 6-7 News From The Gym 18 Events Engagement Survey

Take a look at the four new staff members - ranging from gym instructors to a new volunteer coordinator - who have joined our team over the past few months.

Take our events survey to see what you would like to see us host for you.


Find out about our gym at The Gym Gazette

Director's Update


Dynamic Director: Victoria Kent Excellent Executive Assistant: It's been a season Frankie Joseph of 'firsts'. We Fabulous Fitness recently promoted Instructors: receptionist Katie Pemberton Frankie to support Patrick Trotman our management Tony Snook Our director Victoria Kent team in our first Marvellous Mental visiting the team at ever executive Health Instructors: Firs Farm Primary School assistant role. Drew Nicholls We also recruited our first ever volunteer Samuel Johnson-Quiah coordinator. Our receptionist role became Outstanding full-time and we employed a mental health Operations Manager: development exercise instructor and a Si Mohamed Dahiri new part-time advanced instructor. We Remarkable already feel like they're part of our Ability Receptionist: Bow family; so a warm welcome to our Rochelle Fray newest faces - Katie, Rochelle, Rosie and Vibrant Volunteer Samuel! Coordinator: With Cranfield Trust's support we did our Rosie Vincent first community-wide supporters Vital Volunteers: consultation to develop our new strategic Michael Berry aims. Then staff, volunteers and trustees Sonia Wisinger sat down to build our first 5-year business Tim O'Flaherty plan; which we're all very excited about. And: Stuart Wilson!

Fabulous Firsts


Find out about our gym at The Gym Gazette

We've also introduced fantastic weekly Smovey exercise sessions, which help to improve mobility and energise the body, thanks to volunteer Smovey trainer, Sonia. To support fundraising marathon runner and PE teacher Shakil, we visited Firs Farm Primary pupils, where I was delighted to speak at my first ever school assembly. We loved highlighting how important exercise is to our disabled gym members and I was impressed to see kids running their playground 'daily mile'. Every April, our focus is on the London Marathon and our amazing fundraising runners team supporting Ability Bow. They're on target to raise more than ever before. Runners Max, Rachel, Naomi (who is running in honour of recovering gym member, stroke survivor and expro Commonwealth Games gold medal winning boxer, Rod Douglas), Shakil and Sri, all


visited our gym to meet members. A special mention also to GP William who is running his third Ability Bow London Marathon, and Jennifer, who is running for us a second time after also doing so in 2016. We get to know our runners before the big day, and we hear the many reasons they choose to attempt such a big challenge. Runners Nicola, Neil and Leanne are all local from Bow, with Leanne running in tribute to her dad who went from wheelchair to walking after living with GuillainBarrĂŠ syndrome. At 71-years-old, our oldest runner, Koji, updates us whilst training (most recently amidst the cherry tree blossom) at home in Japan. Finally, all the best to our marathon team this year! To everyone who reads it, we hope you enjoy our newsletter! Ability Bow gym Director & Founder Victoria Kent

Find out about our gym at The Gym GazetteÂ

Photo Gallery


Members of our 2019 London Marathon team AND what to expect on marathon day!

Andrew Byron Bal Kullar Chirag Desai Colin O'Connor Fred Baron Harriet Vernon Nicki Heflet Sharron Currie Siobhan Lanigan


Stroke Group NeuroAbility Join In Keep Moving Positive Steps Find more of our projects at: activities.

FIND US St Paul's Church, St Stephen's Road, Bow, London, E3 5JL


The Gym Gazette

News From The Gym Frankie's New RoleÂ

Frankie Joseph at our gym in her last day on reception We're delighted to announce our former receptionist Frankie Joseph has made an exciting new job move; she's our new Ability Bow executive assistant. Frankie - who worked on our reception for just over two years - started her new role in January; supporting our director Victoria with financial, logistics and operational administration roles. Frankie says: "I've really settled in to my executive assistant role and am gaining lots of skills daily, which really aid my overall learning about the gym." Read more about Frankie's new role at:


Urban Gym Our members can now benefit from a fantastic new urban gym setting to help boost their health and wellbeing. The impressive facility based in Mile End - beside Mile End Leisure Centre is already hosting a series of our exercise activities; including our Positive Steps sessions on Wednesdays from 11am12pm. Operations Manager, Si Mohamed Dahiri, says: "We're delighted each of our members can benefit from leading expertise which we're happy will also continue to expand our wellbeing offer at a local level."

Find out about our gym at The Gym GazetteÂ

News From The Gym Award-Winning Members Headlines Again

Albie (left) and Richard (right) with their heroes awards Our amazing Ability Bow gym members Albie Ollivierre and Richard Palmer are at it again; they're officially community hero award winners! Presented the awards at the Tower Hamlets International Day of Persons with Disabilities last December, Albie, 57, was recognised after raising £2,500 in five years for completing the Big Fun Run. Meanwhile Richard, 54, was also awarded Trainer of the Year for his outstanding contribution to the Tower Hamlets Autism Service and Community Healthcare Trust. Well done guys!


An Ability Bow member who was left fighting for his life in a snowboarding accident in the Alps in 2012, is making the headlines yet again; after starring in BBC's Ski Sunday in the New Year. Graham Naylor, who lives with a hypoxic brain injury which severely affects his speech and mobility, was able to return to the ice just last year thanks to incredible innovations by the BBC's Big Life Fix team. The team were able to create a specially adapted snowboard for Graham to use. View the video at:

Find out about our gym at The Gym Gazette

London Marathon 2019 - Your Guide We're just days away from seeing our magnificent marathon squad competing in this year's 26.2 milelong Virgin Money London Marathon 2019.

The Event Basics

When: Sunday 28 April 2019. Where You Can Watch Our Runners: Mile 17 of the course by The Lord Nelson pub, Isle of Raising funds to help support our Dogs (nearest tube station; aims of keeping our gym members Island Gardens Docklands Light fitter and stronger for longer Railway). while going towards a potential What Time You Can Meet To new one-to-one long-term exercise Cheer Our Runners: Meet us at rehab service for people with around 11-11:30am at Mile 17 disabilities and complex needs (our Ability Bow banners and our marathon runners are making team shirts will be visible). a huge financial and personal What Time Does The Marathon contribution to our service. Start: Wheelchair and para races will start 8.50am to 9.20am with Find out more about how you can elite/masses events starting at support them in our guide here. 10am from Greenwich Park.


Find out about our gym at The Gym GazetteÂ

Our 2019 Marathon Team We currently have 30 marathon runners ready to start for us on the big day as part of our team. Take a look at some of our incredibly dedicated and fantastic fundraisers below!

Shakil Miah Age: 29. Job: PE teacher. Funding Target: £1,350. Donations page: Why Shakil Is Running For Us: His chance to give back to the area where he grew up in. Supporting a really caring service who offer exceptional fitness services to all.

Leanne Ackrell Age: 33. Job: Architect. Funding Target: £1,500. Donations page:


Why Leanne Is Running For Us: Partly in honour of her father who was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome and who needed consistent rehab to help him learn to walk again. Also because it's a local charity close to Leanne's heart.

Neil Gilbert Age: 48. Job: Charity. Funding Target: £1,500. Donations page: Why Neil Is Running For Us: Passionate about his local charity who he's supported since 2006. Raising awareness for physical and mental health (alongside his head of innovation role at Samaritans). A desire to run his first ever marathon and gain some new-found endurance fitness.

Find out about our gym at The Gym Gazette

Oli Slot

Rachel Lommerzheim

Age: 27. Job: Web marketing. Funding Target: £1,350. Donations page:

Age: 32. Job: Occupational therapist. Funding Target: £1,500. Donations page:

Why Oli Is Running For Us: His belief that sport can help everyone. Because he's delighted to support the amazing people and work at our gym from the stories he's read about us.

Naomi Erskine Age: 33. Job: Banking. Funding Target: £1,500. Donations page: Why Naomi Is Running For Us: Inspired to run through our support for ex-pro boxer Rod Douglas and his move from wheelchair to walking with us. Believes in inclusive exercise and removing physical/mental exercise barriers.


Why Rachel Is Running For Us: She'd like to develop her marathon running experience. Champion places like ours, as she believes they enable community participation. Extend her exercise capabilities and both physical/mental wellbeing. Thank You To Our 2019 Team: * Alexia Cambon; Anita Evenden; Grace Ranola; Hina Nabi, Jacky Green; James Aylett; Jennifer Walker; Jun Zeng; Katie Gorman; Kerry Clark; Koji Noda; Leanne Ackrell, Li Yeubing; Malcolm Pritchard; Maxwell Tipper; Michael Doherty; Michelle Woolley; Naomi Erskine; Neil Gilbert; Nicola Stripp; Oliver Slot; Rachel Lommerzheim; Russell Hall; Shakil Miah; Srikrishna Gutta; Subo Li; Weihong Zhong; William Burbridge-James; Yanmei Xu; Yunfeng Gong.

Keep Updated On The Marathon Visit our website marathon page here:

Find out about our gym at The Gym Gazette

Meet Drew Nicholls: Putting Positivity Into Our Mental Health Exercise One in four people encounter a mental health challenge in their lifetime. Our Positive Steps project aims to tackle social isolation and physical challenges through an individual's perceived mental barriers and enable our members to boost their everyday life with small changes to their emotional and physical wellbeing. We spoke to the project's facilitator Drew Nicholls about why our members are benefiting from Positive Steps - with sessions running in association with Bow Haven, City and Hackney Recovery College and at our impressive new Urban Gym and why he and our team are trying to ensure real behaviour change through exercise.


Meet Drew Drew Nicholls has led a diverse life so far. From breakdancing and circus work, as well as living in America for 23 years, he's certainly into embracing change. Yet a near-catastrophic personal circumstance has led to a humble yearning to help people and essentially, a desire to use his own experience to enable recovery in others. “I once fell off a trapeze and a GP said to me I wouldn’t be able to breakdance again and this inspired me to get fit again and show determination,” says Drew. Returning to the UK, he found work at our gym - inner London’s only disabilities and long-term

Find out about our gym at The Gym Gazette

health conditions exercise rehabilitation service - where he’s previously been an advanced instructor and now, is leading on making behaviour change in our Positive Steps programme. Drew says: “I’ve had some challenges of my own to overcome and since I stumbled upon this special gym, I’ve met so many people with big challenges and being here in this team, we’ve been able to support our members to make anything possible in their lives.” With Positive Steps sessions focusing on successful weight loss, joint care and tailored health management, Drew believes person-centred work can really help members achieve their tailored goals. He says: "With clients and their mental health, I'm able to help them open up to me, be a friendly support and begin a closer and more positive relationship from there, which leads to great


Our Positive Steps member Andrew MacKenzie (right) at our new Urban Gym in Mile End success stories throughout our service and the wider community. "For example, someone once hit by a car is now able to run again even after the doctor said he may never be able to walk again." And Drew says Positive Steps and the service helps change lives. "We're part of someone's recovery each step and the gym is so special to me through its great family and determined East End spirit." For more info, read the full article at:, and see Positive Steps in action in this video:

Find out about our gym at The Gym Gazette

Bow In The Borough

As usual, we've been very active in our local community since the New Year; with new innovative Smovey training sessions and mental health exercise at our Urban Gym sessions starting across the borough. Tackling mobility and coordination challenges, Smovey fitness rings - helping participants burn calories, boost circulation and reduce pain have been trialled by session attendees since last month at St Stephen's Health Centre, Bow.


Our marvellous members have also had the chance to enjoy the benefits of our superb City and Hackney Recovery College sessions - with a second course running in 2019; all through our Positive Steps mental health exercise programme. Starting in January, our Urban Gym has also already seen seven members completing other programmes use the facility and continue to develop their cardiovascular health, strength and balance. Well done to all!

Find out about our gym at The Gym GazetteÂ

NewsStaff FromMembers The Gym New

Rochelle Fray Rosie Vincent Samuel Johnson-Quiah Katie Pemberton We're delighted to welcome four fantastic new staff members to Ability Bow. Starting in late January, Rochelle Fray (who you can find out more about in our Day In The Life feature on page 19) joins us as our remarkable new receptionist with extensive customer service skills. Previously working at neighbouring community organisation, Roman Road Trust, 23-year-old Rosie Vincent also starts in a brand new role for our service as our volunteer coordinator. Rosie is currently developing our volunteering


programme with exciting new roles and opportunities. If you are interested in volunteering at Ability Bow please contact us at: In the gym, two new amazing instructors have also joined our fantastic fitness team this month. Samuel Johnson-Quiah starts as a mental health development exercise instructor for our Positive Steps initiative, while Katie Pemberton joins our team as an exercise referral instructor. All the best guys!

Find out about our gym at The Gym Gazette

Meet Our Members Our magnificent members help make us the service we are. We chat to former Tottenham Hotspur football prospect Ryon Clarke and ex-football coach Reece Kempley on why they're enjoying what they can do again, since being at our gym. Ryon Clarke is a man of many talents; albeit it all started with a dream opportunity. Invited to the Tottenham Hotspur Football Club academy at 13years-old, the now 36-year-old fondly remembers participating in a club training session.

But while potentially playing in front of 35,000 fans every week was once a real reality for Ryon, he made a crucial and admittedly life-changing decision. Ryon says: "I was excelling in lots of other sports as a kid and when playing cricket for my school instead, I sadly broke my back during a game and couldn't sign for Tottenham's youth team." Understandably devastated, Ryon then embarked on a fluctuating route.

Playing for since dissolved Leyton Football Club, he then "It would have been amazing to be became a domicilliary carer. And it was while helping others, Ryon part of the wider team and youth needed to address his own care team system," Ryon recalls.


Find out about our gym at The Gym GazetteÂ

and spent substantial stints at London hospitals - he's had 7 xrays this year alone (following his Spondylolisthesis back injury diagnosis, where a spinal bone can slip and can lead to paralysis and weakness). "My injuries left me in a really dark place and knocked my confidence," Ryon adds. But since joining our gym last year, Ryon - who's also a parttime DJ - says he's recovering well, all thanks to the gym.

A target of a prankster's cruel joke which left him in a wheelchair and with initial paralysis from the neck down, Reece, 24, was rushed immediately to intensive care for three weeks in Greece after being pushed from a pier onto rocks on the seabed. Returning to the UK, Reece then struggled to find required rehabilitation support locally and it was only when joining Ability Bow in October 2018, he began to develop significant physical and mental progress; including becoming an independent wheelchair exerciser after just 12 weeks of sessions.

Ryon says: "While I know living with my condition isn't always easy, the best thing is I now feel I can give things a go and even just Reece adds: "I really didn't do leave the house and face life much before Ability Bow and just again, all because of Ability Bow." sat at home, so rather than becoming lost, joining Ability Fellow member Reece Kempley Bow has instead made a lasting can certainly echo Ryon's difference in helping my everyday sentiments. Reece is grateful to wellbeing." work on his recovery at our charity service, given he almost Read these full member stories at: lost his life on a summer holiday.


Find out about our gym at The Gym GazetteÂ

Catching Up With:Â Siobhan Meet Siobhan Lanigan. She's been the chair of our trustees since we started in 2006. Her primary trustee focus is now on providing our Ability Bow management with operational and strategic support. We caught up with her to find out more about her, including her work at the fantastic Food Chain. Where are you based: I work near King's Cross, London, as a chief executive for HIV support charity, The Food Chain. What made you join the Food Chain: I became aware of HIV through a housemate who was diagnosed and died within 6 months. It had a major effect on me and inspired me to contribute to greater inclusive wellbeing awareness and support. How much do you love your job: It's amazing and I get to spend such a brilliant time with our team, supporters and clients who


are at the heart of what we do. Why did you join Ability Bow as a trustee: I've always strongly believed in inclusion and how it's important in all life's areas; i.e. sport, exercise, leisure etc and that everyone should have equal access, which Ability Bow embodies. What's your Ability Bow trustee role: Involvement in strategic aspects like the 2019-2024 Ability Bow Strategy and supporting director Victoria in her role. Why would you recommend others join as a trustee: It's people and community-focused and you learn many skills about the charity sector. Read more:

Find out about our gym at The Gym GazetteÂ

Events Engagement Survey We'd really like your help in completing our events engagement survey. Once finished, either tear these off and hand in to our reception or, email your answers separately at: In 3. How could our events be any case, it should only take a few improved? minutes. You can also complete it Comment here: online at: Thank you!

Survey Questions 1. If you've attended one of our past events, how likely would you recommend them to a friend/colleague (out of 10)? If you've not previously attended one of our events, PLEASE GO TO QUESTION 4.

4. What events would you like to see take place that you could get involved in, in future? Comment here:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2. What did you like about the event? Comment here:


Find out about our gym at The Gym GazetteÂ

Day In The Life: Rochelle Meet Rochelle. She’s our remarkable receptionist, who began her new role in late January at our disabilities and long-term health conditions exercise service. She spoke to us more about her job and why she’s already found she loves working here! Where do you live: Elephant and Castle, London. What’s your career/study/educational background: I’ve had a varied recent work history. I've worked in a dog grooming business, while I’ve also been a receptionist for five years in various different organisations. I also have a fashion degree, which also set me up for the world of work, which I found to be really important. What's a day in the life like for you so far at our gym: It's always really great. It's very


varied and I've learnt a lot of receptionrelated processes and met a lot of new clients and staff; it's so nice to meet loads of people from different backrgounds. Why are you passionate about people: I love meeting a range of personalities and characters too. So many people can learn from each other and gain positivity here. What hobbies/interests do you have: Cooking, dog walking with my pet poodle and travelling (including to Malta last December). A person who really inspires you: My aunt. To me she's a genuinely good person!

Find out about our gym at The Gym Gazette

What's On In Bow Aged 50 plus? Fancy fun new exercise activities... What: Urban adventure exercise including canoeing/biking/climbing etc. When: Sat: May 11, June 1, July 6 (sessions run: 10am-12pm). Where: 150 Burdett Road, Mile End Park, London, E3 4JT. To book your place: email: shenneth.brereton@ or call: 07956 456725.

Enjoy free wellbeing activities on 8 May at Caxton Hall Centre. More info:


Love walking? You can turn up and enjoy a free weekly social walk starting from Bow Brew Cafe! When: 9:30am-11.30am, every Thursday. Where: St Paul's Way Community Centre, 83 St Paul's Way, London, E3 4AJ. More info: Find out about our gym at The Gym GazetteÂ

Millions discover their favorite reads on issuu every month.

Give your content the digital home it deserves. Get it to any device in seconds.