Lanarkshire Social Enterprise Project Wins Award for Innovative Approach

A “gentle” exercise program aimed at keeping the elderly, the infirm and those with medical conditions safe from COVID in shape was recognized at a national awards show.

Hamilton-based MorphFit Gentle Movement offers a bespoke community fitness program, specially designed for a range of service users of all ages in Lanarkshire.

The social enterprise, led by its director Kenneth Muir, offers one-on-one support for cases with special diagnosis, such as people with MS and cancer, as well as the elderly and people of all ages and levels of condition. physical.

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Originally from East Kilbride, Kenneth is recovering from a cancer diagnosis almost 10 years ago and has found nothing available in terms of rehabilitation for people with acute health problems.

This is how he created his unique program of gentle fitness movements.

The 54-year-old recounted Lanarkshire Live: “We are absolutely delighted to have won this award. It is very important for the donors to see that the project is going in the right direction.

Kenneth, who launched his project in May last year, also raised over £ 50,000 for the Beatson Cancer Charity through his fundraising activities.

He added: “In 2020, we wanted to help as many vulnerable populations as possible during the pandemic. This led me to launch our social enterprise and we were able to access funding that otherwise would have been inaccessible to us.

“In the first year we were able to support and deliver our online programs to Beatson, The Haven, Sense Scotland, Lanarkshire Carers Association, MS Society Lanarkshire, MS Society Scotland, seniors and all age groups with pre-existing health problems. . “

And in July of this year, the social enterprise team launched the MorphFit app to make its services even more accessible to as many people as possible.

Ashley Abercromby, responsible for community engagement and fundraising for the project, told us: “Kenneth has created a social enterprise so that individuals can engage in a gentle movement. This meant that we could offer the sessions fully funded.

In addition to the physical benefits, the program benefits its service users both mentally and emotionally, helping to improve their well-being by providing social stimulation and interaction and for many this has become a lifeline.

Ashley added, “We have online sessions and we recently started our first group on site. This has enabled us to offer the MorphFit Body Fitness Clinic which is based in our studio in Bothwell Road.

“We understand that some people are not comfortable going out, which is why we have kept our sessions online to welcome everyone.”

Many project participants, who wish to return to the face-to-face sessions, can do so thanks to the availability of on-site sessions also offered at its facilities on Bothwell Road.

Ashley tell us: “Many of our participants very much want to come back to face-to-face sessions, which is why we are offering them this possibility.

“But for those who aren’t comfortable with it, we run a connect café which is an event that we run in conjunction with our classes.

“It’s a tailor-made option for people who want to go online to give them the confidence and knowledge to get them going. At present we have over 50 people participating each week across Lanarkshire.

“Based on Kenneth’s personal experience with cancer and his willingness to support particular population groups, he sought to help those most in need by developing a social enterprise – a fully funded exercise program for the most disadvantaged groups. most vulnerable in our communities.

“We seek to reach even more vulnerable groups and understand that not everyone is familiar with the digital world. The feedback has been fabulous. Many people would describe it as a lifeline.

In addition to Kenneth and his team of fitness experts, the project also has an additional instructor, Nicola Pollock and Carol Malone, a registered nurse, who supports MS and cancer patients.

“It’s great to have a medical team that works in conjunction with our fitness team.

“Kenneth is quite a special person and it’s wonderful that he’s able to factor that into his life. Every time I see him, my faith in humanity is restored,” Ashley told us.

The organization has recently received funding from the Coora Foundation, as well as additional funding from Foundation Scotland, Versus Arthritis and the National Lottery, which has enabled it to expand its services, specifically aimed at people with the disease in Lanarkshire and beyond.

For more information on the project, visit his website.

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