Working closely with local hospitals’ Cardiac Departments (Nottingham City, Derby City, D.R.I. and Ilkeston Community Hospital) it was agreed that an exercise class to follow on from the hospital sessions would be a good exit strategy for them to refer patients to. Exercise for the Heart was founded in 1992 by Jane Bancroft with approx. 15 people attending classes once a week at the local leisure centre. In 1995 we formed a small committee and affiliated to the British Heart Foundation making “Exercise for the Heart”. What it is today: With the hospitals support Jane worked closely with the Cardiac teams and the group grew from strength to strength – having started with 12 people for one session a week we increased to 25 people over two sessions a week expanding all the time. (Dec 2006) we had 196 members. (Dec 2008) increased to 250- 300.
We applied for a National Lottery grant and in 1997 were successful in obtaining five thousand pounds, from which we bought some much needed exercise equipment. We then expanded across the Borough to West Park Leisure Centre. A group was set up that started with five people and was soon running groups on a Wednesday and Friday morning with between 15 and 25 people attending each group on a regular basis.
In October 2000 Jane qualified as a BACR Instructor (British Association for Cardiac Rehabilitation)
The Ilkeston group continued to do well but the facilities were not ideal and access was via four flights of stairs which proved difficult for some people to attend – we had to screen who attended to ensure they could manage the stairs, because of this in July 2005 we took the decision to move this group to United reformed church Hall, St Andrews Drive,near Ilkeston Town Centre . We meet there every Monday, Thursday and Friday for our exercise sessions. In January 2009 we moved out of West Park Leisure Center into Draycott community center and then on the 4th January 2012 we moved into our present venue Draycott and Long Eaton Table tennis club, New Street, Draycott, DE72 3NJ, we hold classes here every Tuesday & Wednesday Morning.
In 2013 a new instructor Michelle Edmonds Jackson joined our team to help with the ever growing need for more classes. Michelle runs classes at Draycott on a Tuesday and Mondays Thursday Friday at Green Spires Ilkeston.
SUPPORT AND SOCIAL
Each person has had their own experiences with various aspects of heart related problems and surgery. It helps them to talk about it and exchange experiences. In this way they draw support from each other, as well as the help and advice given by Jane and Michelle. There is a social bond amongst our members – some of whom get together on a regular basis and have formed good friendship groups. As a group during the summer we have a regular walk organised by members, we have social evenings and every year we hold our Christmas Lunch.