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Supporters get ready for Victoria Park 5k Fun Run to help Ability Bow gym

PUBLISHED: 12:53 22 October 2014 | UPDATED: 15:49 22 October 2014

Ability Bow's Joanne Roche in a pervious Big Run to raise funds

Ability Bow's Joanne Roche in a pervious Big Run to raise funds

Olivia Harris

Supporters are putting their best foot forward in the annual 5k Big Fun Run in Victoria Park on Saturday to keep a unique therapy gymnasium in London’s East End from closing.

Ability Bow's therapy gym above a church in London's East EndAbility Bow's therapy gym above a church in London's East End

The Ability Bow gym needs around £250,000 a year to continue its one-to-one sessions helping people recover from injuries or illness.

So it is appealing for more wellwishers to sign up online and take part in Saturday’s 11am event by running, jogging, walking or even using a wheelchair.

“They can run for fitness, fun or just get involved,” its founder Victoria Kent said. “There’s no pressure—just lots of laughs and a great way to spend a Saturday morning supporting our gym.”

They also need 20 more volunteers by 10am on the day to help as stewards.

Supporters also raise money in the London Marathon and other events each year. One made £636 in the London-Surrey 100 cycle challenge in August—despite the stormy weather.

The gym, housed above St Paul’s Church in St Stephen’s Road, Old Ford, is in a constant battle for cash, after losing its main NHS funding seven years ago.

The service came close to folding at Christmas, 2007, when the cash ran out, but was saved in an 11th-hour rescue by Tower Hamlets Council.

It gets annual grants from local authorities and statutory health services which refer patients for one-to-one therapy, but still has to raise most of its income from donations. The annual Victoria Park fun run usually brings in around £5,000.

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