Santa cash saves Ability Bow therapy gym after NHS funding runs out

Victoria Kent has had an early visit from Santa—a sackful of funding to keep her therapy gymnasium going.

The Ability Bow gym she started in London’s deprived East End ran out of cash last month and the 400 regular users faced a bleak Christmas with the prospect of it folding by the end of the year.

But Victoria has just signed a �25,000 commissioning contract with the NHS East London—while Tower Hamlets Council has come up with another �18,000.

“That should be enough to keep us going till April and the new Financial Year,” Victoria told the Advertiser.

“It’s crucially enough for what we need for the time-being, so we don’t have to reduce our operation or shut down altogether.

“But we’ve got our eye on after April and need to start thinking about our fundraising strategy with the NHS commissioners.”

That’s when Friends of Ability Bow hold their annual fun-run in Victoria Park nearby to raise funds.

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The gym, housed in the revamped St Paul’s Church in Old Ford, near Roman Road Market, charges just �3.50 an hour for professional one-to-one therapy sessions that would normally cost �60—making sure it is affordable to all those who need it.

The balance is paid for by grants and by public donations through the London Marathon and the annual fun-run.

The temporary �50,000 council cash following the end of its previous NHS grant last March ran out in October.

Now this week’s 11th hour rescue package at least helps them through to April—although it has come too late to save its full-time manager made redundant in October.