Bridport Round Table has donated £5,000 to the Stepping Out cancer rehabilitation scheme at the town’s leisure centre.
It’s the biggest single amount the organisation has ever awarded – and members have promised to give a further £1,000 for the two subsequent years.
Stepping Out is organised by The Living Tree, a cancer support group founded by Dr Jo Cotton and Jo O’Farrell in Bridport in 2012.
Dr Cotton said: “I’d like to say an enormous thank you to the Round Table for the donation. It was just a shot in the dark when we contacted them, after leisure centre manager Nick Neale suggested we do so. People are really benefiting from Stepping Out and we want it to continue.”
The exercise scheme at Bridport Leisure Centre was set up as a spin-off from The Living Tree to encourage anyone with cancer to become more active.
“There is a huge amount of evidence that physical exercise can help reduce the chances of relapse after cancer treatment, reduce fatigue, help cope with the consequences of treatment improve self-esteem and generally promote recovery,” Dr Cotton said.
The Stepping Out programme began two years ago with funding from Macmillan, West Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group, Dorset County Council and the Olympic Legacy Fund. There are twice-weekly sessions, held in the Rugby Club pavilion, with gentle circuit classes on Monday mornings and a wide variety of exercise, including Nordic walking, walking football, aquafit, yoga, pilates, dance and table tennis.
Level 4 cancer fitness instructor Jo Perfect runs the sessions for people with a cancer diagnosis. Referrals are via the Dorset County Hospital cancer nurse specialists or via the GP exercise on referral scheme.
Dr Cotton said: “The participants are nearly all continuing to exercise regularly after two years and comment on how much it has helped them to cope with living with a diagnosis of cancer.”
She said the two years of funding was coming to an end and a sum of £5,000 would enable the programme to continue throughout 2016 whilst more sustainable, long-term funding was secured.
Round Tabler Simon Miles said the request for funding arrived the day before a club business meeting.
“It came in at the right time. We had funds available and it made total sense for us to give it to them.”
Bridport Round Table raises funds throughout the year from events such as the annual beer festival and the Boxing Day swim.
“We have supported a few younger groups, which we’re very happy to do, but it was a real pleasure to support a community group like The Living Tree with Stepping out,” Mr Miles said.
Read more about Stepping Out here: http://www.bridportleisure.com/activities/stepping-out/