Sarah Cowling CEO

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Local charity can no longer afford to foot the bill…

Exercise on Referral service at the Lemington Centre ends for people with long term health conditions

Lack of funding means that local health charity HealthWORKS Newcastle, has had to take the difficult decision to close a well used exercise on referral programme at the Lemington Centre.

For the last eleven years the referral programme has supported many individuals, all of whom suffer from long term health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes which benefit from regular physical activity.

Due to their strong belief in the need for such a programme the charity itself covered the cost of the programme In previous years, but can no longer support the significant budget deficit. Last year Public Health and the Clinical Commissioning Group provided some lifeline gap funding for this service. Due to the ongoing cuts in health budgets, and the rise in demand for services, it seems there is now little chance of any further financial commitment from these agencies, although they have supported it in the past.

HealthWORKS has worked very hard over the past three years to avoid this action but are simply unable to maintain operating at the level of loss incurred by running this service at Lemington without any subsidy. As a result, the last clients were accepted into the service on 28 October.

Sarah Cowling , CEO Healthworks Newcastle says “I would like to reassure our existing clients that support will continue up until 22 December 2016, when the current programme will cease altogether; and that from January 2017 all graduates of the programme will be offered the opportunity to continue to exercise during supervised sessions at the Lemington Centre Community Gym each day: Monday to Friday between 10am -12 noon. Regretably however we will not be taking on any new referral clients from this point onwards”

Due to the long term support of funding from Newcastle Public Health, the charity is able to continue to run their successful exercise on referral service from the Health Resource Centre in Benwell, welcoming referrals for anyone who is registered with a GP in the inner west of the city.



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