I was delighted when asked if I would write the foreword to this magazine. As your local MP I visit many different types of organisations and charities. All are really interesting and provide excellent services and help; occasionally I come across one that is truly exceptional and benefits so many from our community. Reach for Health is one of those truly exceptional charities and it has been my pleasure to visit them over a number of years, watch them grow and witness how much they have achieved. Now it is being used by many of our local GP’s and NHS Hospitals as a centre to help with the rehabilitation of those who have experienced a major health trauma even though no monies are received for the services provided. Despite the increased demands and helping an astonishing number of people, Reach for Health has remarkably remained viable.
They are now reaching a point where they need major financial support from all who are interested, willing and able to support them, whether that be private individuals, commercial organisations or charitable trusts. The premises they currently rent from Daventry District Council are old, inefficient and too small to cope with the increasing demands. The lease is due to expire in July 2020; there will be no option to renew the lease anyway as the area may be redeveloped. The lease on any new premises would be on commercial terms and currently Reach for Health simply cannot afford the huge increase in rent that this would entail. The only realistic way forward is for them to raise sufficient funds to construct a purpose-built building that would be free of rent. This would allow them greater space and the opportunity to increase the services they offer, something they are unable to do in the present premises.
It would be terrible to lose the outstanding services that Reach for Health provide in improving the health and wellbeing of so many local people, my constituents, who have suffered a major health trauma or are living with a long-term or life-long illness and my fear is what they contribute to the local health economy is grossly undervalued and the full benefit may only be realised if they were to disappear.
Daventry District Council have agreed to fund a new purpose built centre for Reach for Health at the cost of £1.48m, this includes a large car park for the use of Reach for Health users and other visitors to the site which will be in the Daventry Sports Club complex on Western Avenue. Full planning permission for the new development has been received.
When you consider the large number of people they have helped locally and what I know they can do for lots more people in the future, it becomes more important that we support this project. Most importantly in helping to raise funds for the new specialist equipment Reach for Health are aiming to include in the new centre.
So if you would like to help, please get in touch with any of their hard-working trustees.
Thanks for taking the time to read this.
CHRIS HEATON-HARRIS MP
Member of Parliament
Reach for Health is the operating name of the charity Daventry Health Rehabilitation Trust, a registered charity that was formed in 2010 from an organisation that has been in operation for over 20 years. Our team at Reach for Health have wide ranging skills that are all focused on one specific purpose, health rehabilitation. Although many of our users are from Daventry and the surrounding villages, we provide continuing exercise based health rehabilitation for people from communities across Northamptonshire, from Warwickshire and sometimes further afield. Our Daventry centre helps those who have experienced a major health trauma together with those experiencing long-term and life-long serious health conditions. We are now experiencing around 2,400 user visits per month excluding those that attend the specialist classes that we operate. We are an NHS Accredited Willing Provider, and work with the Northampton General Hospital Community Stroke Team, the Cardio Rehabilitation Team, the NHS Restart Team and C.O.P.D. patients. Over 90% of our users were referred to us by their GP’s, NHS Hospital doctors and consultants or other Health Professionals. We are currently receiving in the region of 500 new NHS referrals per year. Despite the fact that we are recognised so strongly by the NHS we receive no income from them or any other governmental organisation. Our current sources of income are derived from a small monthly charge to users, that equates to an average of £2.30 per visit, local fundraising carried out by our staff, volunteers, members and trustees and occasional grants that are invariably used to purchase new equipment.
The work done by Reach for Health benefits the health economy in a number of ways, including:
Improved mental and physical health & wellbeing with personalised care
- Effective falls prevention
- Reduced primary care demand
- Reduced GP & NHS outpatient appointments
- Reduced prescribed medication
- Cardio Rehabilitation – reduction in further cardiac events
- Improved life expectancy from improvement in all-round integrated care
- Increased self-care ability of the community
- Reduced social isolation
As a society we have to accept that with increasing pressures on the funding and resources of the NHS, community based rehabilitation is and will be for some time to come, low priority. That does not however take away the need for such services; we just have to find smarter ways of providing them. We must also recognise that lack of effective health rehabilitation merely serves to further increase the pressure on the NHS. The NHS is something that overall we should be immensely proud of and at some time in our lives we all come to rely on the medical expertise that it provides. Whilst some of us may complain and criticise, sometimes justifiably, many of us owe our lives to this outstanding organisation and the people who work within it. However, if we experience a major health trauma or suffer a long-term illness we cannot expect the NHS to take responsibility for us beyond getting us back to safe and reasonable health. Following a major health trauma, e.g. a stroke or major heart surgery, the NHS can only offer their services for a limited period of time. After that we have to take responsibility for ourselves in coming to terms with our situation and finding the will, determination and means of gaining as much improvement in our physical and mental wellbeing as possible. This is what Reach for Health helps with and does so well.
If you or your organisation wish to be associated with this amazing charity please contact me to discuss how you can help or for any further information that you may require. We would be very pleased to hear from any potential commercial sponsors.