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Grampian cardiac charity launches emergency fundraising appeal

By David Porter

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North-East cardiac charity GCRA+ (Grampian Cardiac Rehabilitation Association) is appealing for the Grampian communities it serves and the general public to get behind its fundraising appeal, so that it can continue to help individuals with cardiac and long-term health conditions stay fit and well.

Grampian Cardiac Rehabilitation Association
Grampian Cardiac Rehabilitation Association

The charity launched a Crowdfunder appeal at the start of June which, to date, has reached 40 per cent of its £7500 target.

GCRA+ had to temporarily suspend all its community-based specialist exercise classes due to the Coronavirus pandemic and, with support from Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland (CHSS), launched a series of online exercise videos, available on its website, to provide its members with instructor-led exercise programmes they can use at home.

The funding from its appeal will be vital in empowering the charity to continue supporting its members with cardiac and long-term health conditions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as ensuring it can resume its community classes and continue supporting people with cardiac and long-term health conditions throughout Grampian moving forward.

Susan Will, GCRA+ Development Coordinator, highlighted the strain COVID-19 has exerted on the charity.

She explained:“The virus has put enormous strain on people’s health and wellbeing and poses a serious risk to our members with underlying cardiac and long-term health conditions. Simultaneously, GCRA+ is losing vital income and funding as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“Given this unprecedented health crisis, it’s more important than ever that our charity is able to continue its essential work, supporting our members throughout Grampian to manage their health. "Although restrictions are easing, we still expect it will be some time before we can resume our community-based exercise classes safely and recognise many of our members and people with underlying health conditions will continue to be vulnerable and cautious, and will require remote support.”

Prior to the Coronavirus outbreak, the charity’s team of dedicated and specialist trained exercise instructors led 37 weekly exercise classes in communities throughout Aberdeenshire specifically developed to accommodate people with cardiac and a range of long-term health conditions, including diabetes, obesity, respiratory, musculoskeletal and mental health conditions, to exercise safely and effectively.

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the charity had to temporarily close its community-based exercise classes from March,until further notice.

Since then, it has been working extremely hard to ensure its members, many who have been self-isolating or shielding due to their underlying health conditions, have remote access to resources and exercise programmes to empower them to manage their health and wellbeing at home.

Robert Paton, GCRA+ Chairman, said, “As a health charity, we recognise the importance of exercise in managing physical and mental health.

"The pressure and the restrictions COVID-19 has imposed on people’s health and ability to exercise, particularly for those who have been self-isolating and shielding, has been significant.

"We know there will be increased demand for rehabilitation support across the health sector as a direct and indirect result of the pandemic. GCRA+ is well placed to provide this and support people with suitable exercise programmes, which will help to build strength and recovery.”

Covid-19 has led to the cancellation of the charity’s community and events fundraising activity and it is appealing for public support to help the charity stabilise its financial position and ensure it can continue leading specialist exercise classes for people with cardiac and long-term health conditions throughout Grampian in the future.

Anyone who would like to support GCRA+ (Grampian Cardiac Rehabilitation Association) can make a donation on the charity’s Crowdfunder page: http://www.avivacommunityfund.co.uk/gcra or contact Susan Will (GCRA+ Development Coordinator) via email – suzi.will@gcra.org.uk to discuss potential fundraising initiatives and corporate fundraising partnerships.

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