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Francesca, 24, has been a huge part of the Chailey Heritage community for many years, after formally being a full-time on-site student here. With a cheeky smile and quick-witted comments, you are never too far from laughter when Francesca is around! As an adult, Francesca routinely pays a visit to the Leasure & Skills Centre (LSC) and has made great progress since joining the onsite gym 2 years ago. When she joined in March 2022 Francesca's initial goals include: 

  • Improving grip strength 
  • Increasing her upper body and lower strength 
  • Improving her cardiovascular performance 
  • Increasing her range of movement 
  • Taking part in fun activities 

Dan and the gym team have set Francesca many goals during her time here which has given her motivation to work towards, and beyond her initial targets. 

During this time, her grip strength has improved which has meant that she can now comfortably hold onto the hand bike handles with both hands for a full 15mins. This is something that she would have struggled to do when she first joined. Francesca previously would use a supportive hand glove which helped maintain her grip. We started to remove the gloves, first for a short duration then gradually increased to the extent that she no longer needs the gloves at all - this is a huge accomplishment! 

Francesca now also uses the walking sling to carry out many exercises. Using the walking slings is beneficial to many of our gym users as it allows for freedom from their wheelchairs and a wider field of independent movement they can enjoy. Being on the walking sling also helps improve circulation enabling a variety of different exercises standing up. This is much harder as it requires more control/balance and recruitment of many other muscle groups to help stabilise the body in a safe and supported environment. 

Dan explained how “Francesca joined the gym 2 years ago and has made incredible progress during that time. Francesca often struggles to take on new challenges and likes her routines, but she has really embraced the new exercises that she has tried recently, and it has been great to see the progress that she has made.” 

In sessions, Dan and the team put a real emphasis on having fun in all gym sessions. You will regularly see them carrying out many games such as kicking footballs into goals (with a little help from the walking sling) and trying to avoid obstacles such as cones while on the treadmill. 

Since using the gym Francesca’s confidence has increased massively. She will often be bossing Dan and Luke around during the session as well as having a laugh and joke while working towards her goals in a fun and social environment with other gym users. 

Dad and Francesca spoke about her time using the LSC gym and how she feels about her time at Chailey Heritage Foundation: 

“I love going to the Gym - exercising to meet my targets, having fun with the Gym Team and socialising with my friends. I’m proud of my achievements as they have helped me take more control of my body movements” 

We have recently introduced short/medium and long-term goals to all our gym users to help them work towards their targets. Francesca has been working incredibly hard this year and has already managed to achieve all her short-term goals and is now working towards her medium-term goals. Well done Francesca from Dan, Luke, and everyone at the LSC! 

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