WRIGHT Foundation in New Zealand: Our Lecturer’s First Impressions

FeaturedWRIGHT Foundation in New Zealand: Our Lecturer’s First Impressions

In March 2019, by invitation from Tim Webster of Exercise as Medicine NZ, WRIGHT Foundation CIC delivered two ‘Exercise as Medicine’ courses in Auckland and Christchurch, New Zealand. The courses were based on our sought-after  Level 3 Diploma in GP Exercise Referral course.

Principal Lecturer Gavin Loze made the journey from the UK to the other side of the world to deliver the training. He had been promised by host Tim Webster stunning scenery and a group of eager exercise professionals who are keen to learn“. 

Let’s read what Gavin experienced about New Zealand.

NewZealand Auckland
Views of Auckland NZ

WRIGHT Foundation in New Zealand: a sunny welcome awaits Gavin in Auckland!

Jet-lag aside, I had an amazing experience in the Land of the Long White Cloud. Three flights from the Manchester to Auckland did take their toll, but I was pleasantly surprised by the ‘special-order’ veggie in-flight meals, which were always distributed first and well-before the feeding the meat-eating economy-class passengers, who glanced in my direction with a look of combined intrigue, disgust and envy!

During the weekend prior to the first course, I was able to do a bit of sight-seeing around Auckland and across the harbour to the picturesque Waiheke Island, ably escorted by Tim, my most hospitable host for duration of the trip. The weather was hot and humid, but I was warned about the strength of the sun in NZ, so I tried to suppress my British inclination to make the most of the sun’s rays to boost my ‘winter-starved’ levels of Vitamin D. I was persuaded by Tim—eventually—to ‘slap-on’ factor-50 and wear a cap.

WRIGHT Foundation in New Zealand: Delivering Exercise as Medicine course in Auckland

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WRIGHT Foundation CIC Principal Lecturer Gavin Loze delivering Exercise as Medicine course

The course venue in Auckland was excellent and accommodated the large group of students, many of whom had roots spreading across the globe including the UK. Jet-lag had truly set-in by the Monday morning, but I managed to fight the ill-effects, which dissipated over the next few days.

It was interesting to learn and experience differences in health-related statistics between the UK and native NZ inhabitants, with a greater emphasis on the prevalence of obesity and type-2 diabetes mellitus. The students attending the course had a more varied background than their counterparts in the UK, with a wider scope of practice and experiences, and interesting questions and stories to offer. All-in-all, the course went well, after which we hurried-off to the airport for our transfer-flight from Auckland on the North Island to Christchurch on the South Island.

WRIGHT Foundation in New Zealand: On to Christchurch

Staying with Tim and and his wife Kris in Christchurch, I was escorted around the sights from downtown Christchurch—still in recovery from the earthquakes in 2011. The city combines an eclectic mix of modern ‘earthquake-proof’ architecture and traditional ‘colonial’ buildings that survived the ‘Big-One’. We ventured further afield to Akaroa—another picturesque town on the shores of a harbour surrounded by foreboding volcanic features.

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Countryside around Christchurch NZ

I completed my first proper gym training session of the trip during the weekend, which was welcomed by my body and mind. Kris and Tim continued to be gracious hosts so that my ‘time-off’ was enjoyable and relaxing.

WRIGHT Foundation in New Zealand: Delivering Exercise as Medicine course in Christchurch

The course in Christchurch got-off to a great start with another large group of students who again were from a wide spectrum of backgrounds, interests and experiences. One of the students had flown-in from Japan just to attend the course. The venue was a modern ‘leisure centre’ built as part of the recovery from the earthquakes in 2011. Jet-lag was a thing of the past and the course passed smoothly through to the final day on Friday.

The students were taking their final assessment when news broke about an initial ‘shooting’ in the city. The centre was put in lock-down’ and we were told to stay away from windowed areas and remain in the centre until further notice. The real power of social media then came to the fore, as rumours and news started to filter through about the shocking events of the mass-shooting; though, the real horror of the events didn’t fully sink-in until I arrived back in the UK. Subsequently, I was informed that one of the students would have been in the mosque at the time of the shooting, had he not been attending the course! My best wishes go to him and all those involved in such a terrible incident.

WRIGHT Foundation in New Zealand: Going home to the UK and reflection.

Amidst the aftermath of the previous day’s events, I embarked on the journey home: four flights, six in-flight meals, four films and a few hours of broken sleep, taking 38 hours from leaving Kris and Tim’s home to arriving at my home!

Jet-lag appeared with a vengeance, culminating in me feeling like a true zombie two days after my arrival home!

Now having had time to reflect on my experiences, I look forward to returning to NZ to continue my explorations and to be part of the development of exercise referral in NZ, under the guise of ‘exercise as medicine’.

NewZealand Course1


We were delighted to receive the following feedback from students who attended the course. We have no doubt that the positive comments reflect on Gavin’s professionalism and expertise in delivering WRIGHT Foundation courses.

  • If you are serious about helping your community with their health and wellbeing, you need this knowledge.
  • This course has given me the knowledge and confidence to assess and treat most of the conditions around through safe and progressive exercise.
  • An outstanding foundation course for exercise professionals who are interested in safe and effective exercise prescription and coaching for referred patients.
  • The best week of professional development you can find in NZ.

For more information on the training provided by WRIGHT Foundation CIC to exercise, fitness and health professionals at Level 3 and Level 4, please contact Lorraine Nicholson on 01307 469055.

Would you like to keep informed about WRIGHT Foundation CIC news and courses? Subscribe today to our weekly newsletter here.

Wirral programme makes a big impact during the pandemic

Wirral programme makes a big impact during the pandemic

Despite its inception during lockdown, The We Are Undefeatable Programme in Wirral has made a substantial impact on those living with long-term health conditions.

The We Are Undefeatable Campaign in Wirral is one of 10 projects across the country funded by Sport England to support those with long-term health conditions (LTCs) to become more active. Complimenting the current care pathway, the project provides quality signposting opportunities for healthcare practitioners to direct and support residents with LTCs to opportunities that could increase their physical activity level. A clear pathway has been developed to help transition an individual from long-term inactivity to embedding physical activities as part of their routine.

All participants are invited to fill in questionnaires along their journey. The questions cover topics such as: Barriers to exercise, referral pathways, GP visits, behaviour change, education, social isolation, motivation etc. There are currently 69,157 people living with a LTC in Wirral. 26.4% of Wirral residents are physically inactive, this is the third highest number of people in the North West and the highest percentage within the Liverpool City Region.

WRIGHT Foundation CIC training has been an integral part of the project getting off the ground and negotiating the way through the Covid-19 pandemic. As soon as the project was aware Mental Health would be a priority post-covid, some of its personnel were trained with the WRIGHT Foundation Level 4 in Mental Health. The project has also signed up to every webinar relative to its Ambassadors, all have been very relevant, interesting and informative, particularly the latest behaviour change series, which has been a perfect fit for the project.

From the outset, a clear pathway was identified where the project would provide quality signposting opportunities for healthcare practitioners to direct and support residents with LTCs to opportunities that could increase their physical activity level. The pathway is intended to help transition an individual from long-term inactivity to embedding physical activities as part of their routine. The pandemic affected this as the staff from the Social Prescribing team were re-deployed to help with the Covid-19 response. The referral system was adapted to this enabling clients to contact the project directly via social media, e-mail, phone call etc. Several people did get in touch directly and some commented that they prefered the non-medical approach.  Since then, the option of referral via GP surgery or self-referral have been offered and this seems to be the perfect fit and allows individual choice.

A team of Ambassadors, some of them with LTC themselves, have been recruited, trained, and deployed. Due to Covid-19, their remit does look different to that intended. Instead of meeting people face to face and attending classes with them, Ambassadors have been making regular phone calls to check on the general welfare of individuals. They use motivational interviewing techniques and their training in behaviour change to help clients to get motivated and find ways to exercise at home in a safe and effective way.

When the project began, work immediately began on producing a central depository of local opportunities for all levels of physical exercise, as this would compliment the pathway in place. The intention was for Ambassadors to be armed with the knowledge and expertise to signpost clients to the most suitable activity for them. Since the pandemic hit however, there has been a need to stall this work to ensure that all the sessions included will still be available post-Covid-19. This will ensure accurate and up to date information is given out as face to face activity starts to return. Everyone joining the campaign has received a goody bag containing lots of information, not just about opportunities to ‘move’ but also about the importance of drinking water, a balanced diet, enough sleep etc. They have also received a face mask, antibacterial gel, and a yellow resistance band to help them carry out some of the exercises described. Ambassadors are also available to talk through the exercises if a client gets stuck.            

The launch of the project was due just as the pandemic hit. All facilities have been affected to varying degrees as the waves of the virus rippled through the community. It was fundamental to find a way to push forward with the project in any way possible. The project is continuing to look beyond the normal way of doing things and find ways to engage with all sections of the community. The most popular sessions were the Walking for Health opportunities. Where possible groups have continued obeying all Covid-19 guidelines. These walks have been fundamental for the mental health and social interaction of the local community.

From an Instructor perspective the We Are Undefeatable Project is benefitting those in the local community not normally seen or heard from. The chair-based exercise classes for example saw upwards of 40 people attending each session, in the days before the virus struck. Instructors were very quick to adapt to a new, and unknown way of working for most, as a comprehensive timetable of ‘live’ classes was launched, managing to engage and communicate with most of the project’s members on some level. One key message for other similar projects would be not to forget those who are not ‘on-line’. The project sent out goody bags, general information for exercise and generally staying well and made welfare phone-calls to the most vulnerable members of the community. Some instructors were prepared to diversify completely and went to help with the Emergency Food Hub.

Chris Pandit, We are Undefeatable Ambassador, Chair-based Exercise Instructor and Health Walk leader said

Margaret who lived locally, would use our local Wirral Council Leisure Centre daily. During the first lockdown she struggled dreadfully with her mental health, so as soon as the facilities were open again, I met up with her as she was desperate to do some exercise. She was extremely anxious and very nervous about all the new rules to make the centre Covid secure. I gave her reassurance, guidance, and support and within half an hour she had a smile on her face and felt at ease. I kept in touch with Margaret and saw that when we went into the second lockdown she plummeted again. I have been meeting her in the park on a one to one, social distancing and I wear a mask. We do a little workout and she talks a lot as she is at home mostly by herself and so does not have anyone to talk to. The difference is amazing to see, after only a few sessions she is smiling, laughing and says she feels much fitter in herself which helps her get through her daily tasks. I was able to use the training I had from WRIGHT Foundation in exercise and mental health to help people like Margaret. I have given her some tips and ideas to help her get through the current lockdown and I’ll keep in touch with her regularly by phone. Her daughter, who lives in London, has recently messaged me to say thank you for helping her mum get through this as she feels helpless living so far away.

Pat is another client who has been with the project since September 2020. She is still walking her hallway and getting out to the shops on her scooter whenever she can.  She is sticking with the diet but has a treat every now and then. 

Pat (right) said the following about the programme:

It has been very good to talk to someone who understands and who can offer advice. I can feel the benefit both mentally and physically.

The project has so far indicated that self-motivation is the single biggest barrier to people in Wirral participating in physical activity. This recognises the importance of recruiting volunteer ambassadors that are helpful, approachable and can show empathy to others. The team of ambassadors have been incredible having all the attributes the clients need to be able to help them.

The project is awaiting the results of its questionnaires, completed by clients and ambassadors which will give more insights for future work. It cannot go unnoticed the effect Covid-19 itself has had on local communities, with an increased prevalence of mental health issues, obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure which, the clients themselves, have attributed to the national lockdowns. We also recognise that covid recovery will pose substantial challenges in its own right.

Lorraine Nicholson, Director of Training at WRIGHT Foundation CIC says:

It’s absolutely fantastic to see projects like this adapting so well in such difficult circumstances and making such an impact on people’s lives. As a training organisation, we can’t reach participants directly to help them become more active, but it is hugely rewarding when we hear stories like this, reminding us why we do what we do and the impact it can have in improving the health of people with long term health conditions. Congratulations to the team involved in the Wirral programme and we hope to be able to continue to support their development in the years to come.

WRIGHT Foundation Director of Training Lorraine Nicholson

For more information on the training provided by WRIGHT Foundation CIC to exercise, fitness and health professionals at Level 3 and Level 4 please contact Lorraine on 01307 469055

Would you like to keep informed about WRIGHT Foundation CIC news and courses? Subscribe today to our weekly newsletter here.

WRIGHT Foundation CIC Goes to Godzone

WRIGHT Foundation CIC Goes to Godzone

Following an invitation from Tim Webster a few months ago, WRIGHT Foundation CIC is delivering two ‘Exercise as Medicine’ courses in New Zealand (Auckland and Christchurch) in March 2019.

newzealand exerciseasmedTim and his wife Kris Tynan built the Bodylife Conference and magazine in the UK twenty years ago and, having moved to New Zealand (a.k.a. Godzone) in 2004, they now specialise in working with people living with long-term conditions, under the Exercise as Medicine NZ brand.

Back in the UK last year to take the WRIGHT Foundation CIC’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Phase IV course, Tim approached WRIGHT Foundation to gauge interest in bringing our expertise to New Zealand.

“This was the first WRIGHT Foundation course I had taken, and I have to say I was seriously impressed. Good content, expertly delivered,” he says.

“The field of exercise as medicine is beginning to open up in New Zealand and this presents exercise professionals there with a golden opportunity to step up and take their place in the healthcare continuum. In order for that to happen, we need to upskill ourselves, and that’s what this course is all about,” he adds.

newzealand flagNew Zealand may be a small country – 4.5 million people in a land mass slightly bigger than the UK- but Kiwis tend to punch above their weight when it comes to sport, and the health and fitness industry is no exception. According to Tim, New Zealand’s exercise professionals are “right up there” in terms of their skills and knowledge.

So, what can the WRIGHT Foundation’s Principal Lecturer, Gavin Loze, expect when he arrives in New Zealand?

“Hopefully Gavin will have time to experience some of New Zealand’s signature features – great coffee, world class wine, running rugby and stunning scenery while he’s here,” says Tim, “And in between he’ll find a group of eager exercise professionals who are keen to learn.”

WRIGHT Foundation CIC Training Director Lorraine Nicholson

Lorraine Nicholson, Training Director at  WRIGHT Foundation CIC, sees this as a very exiting development. “We are exporting our expertise to training exercise professionals all over the world. We very much look forward to working with Tim Webster. The course is based on our very popular and highly-recognised Level 3 Diploma in GP Exercise Referral course, and adapted for New Zealand’s legislation and regulation. It is also recognised by REPs NZ and will earn students 20 CPD points.”

The courses, titled “Exercise as Medicine” are taking place on 04-08 March 2019 in Auckland and 11-15 March 2019 in Christchurch .

For more information on this course, and the training provided by WRIGHT Foundation CIC to exercise, fitness and health professionals at Level 3 and Level 4, please contact Lorraine Nicholson on 01307 469055.

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Group of students in New Zealand

Tackling Arthritis with Exercise at Saints Foundation Pathway to Health

Tackling Arthritis with Exercise at Saints Foundation Pathway to Health

Musculoskeletal conditions encompass different types of arthritis, lower back pain, osteoporosis, gout, etc. They are the most common reason for people living with disability in the UK.

According to Versus Arthritis, These conditions affect the quality of life and work of an estimated 17.8 million people in the UK, which is well over a quarter of the population. There are a number of associated issues linked to the conditions including lack of physical activity, obesity and multimorbidity.

Musculoskeletal conditions also greatly impact on health and care services and the general economy.

Saints Foundation Pathway to Health for Arthritis

Saints Foundation, an independent charity working in partnership with Southampton Football Club, aims to fulfil and change the lives of those at risk across Southampton and surrounding areas. One of their programmes tackles health and wellbeing. Part of this is Pathway to Health.

Jessica Hulbert, Pathway to Health Project Officer for Saints Foundation, is well versed in the issues facing elderly people, researching dance for the elderly as a subject of her University dissertation, working after graduation as a Therapy Technician on the older persons ward at Southampton General Hospital. Then her work focussed more on falls prevention at Hampshire Council Council. She always has had an interest in Arthritis. She explains “Pathway to Health was initially established to help people aged over 50 with the prevention of falls, upskilling community instructors. We quickly realised that there was nothing in place to tackle arthritis. The thing is arthritis also affects younger people not just the elderly.”

The severity of the problem in Southampton is on par with the national estimate with 30.2% of the population living with some form of arthritis according to the MSK Calculator online tool (extract below).

Saints Arthritis Data

Saints Foundation Parthway to Health successfully applied for funding with NHS Southampton City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to set up Pathway to Health Arthritis project, with Escape Pain training included. This will upskill Saints Foundation health and wellbeing staff and local self-employed exercise professionals working in the community, already delivering a variety of exercise classes.

Jessica Hulbert continues: “With the Pathways to Health Falls programme, we are already linked for online referrals with 10 GP surgeries. We are confident these surgeries will also participate to recommend patients into Pathway to Health Arthritis. Currently we are in conversation with the Southampton CCG Musculoskeletal Service who works with individuals diagnosed with Arthritis, but this is a physiotherapy intervention that does have an end to it. The Musculoskeletal Department will then signpost their patients on to the Escape Pain programme initially where they will receive a 6-week intervention that educates them in exercise and pain management education for Arthritis.”

For Jessica, it is important that after these 6 weeks, there is a follow up with patients with trained and qualified exercise professionals. This is when patients will then become part of a community exercise class, making a lifestyle change rather than short term intervention.

Saints Foundation Pathway to Health for Arthritis teaming up with WRIGHT Foundation for CPD training

The project targets exercise professionals and comprises 3-day Arthritis CPD training  with WRIGHT Foundation and a 1-day Escape pain training course. Saints Foundation will support the set up of fitness and exercise classes in the community. The plan is for these classes to be available by the start of April 2019, for a very low fee, to recommended people living in Southampton.

Saints Arthritis pic
Saints Foundation Pathway to Health team at the Exercise Programming for Arthritis and Chronic Lower Back Pain CPD training
At the request of Saints Foundation, WRIGHT Foundation CIC developed Exercise Programming for Arthritis and Lower Back Pain CPD training which was delivered over 3 days at the end of January 2019 and gathered fitness staff from Saints Foundation Pathway to Health programme and local fitness instructors. Jessica concludes, “I am grateful for WRIGHT Foundation for developing and delivering this course. It fits with what we needed. In the longer term, we would like to see exercise classes being set up for people living with any condition: Cancer, Chronic Lower Back Pain, Obesity & Diabetes, etc. The Pathway to Health Arthritis project is only the beginning!”

Lorraine Nicholson, Training Director at WRIGHT Foundation, said “We at WRIGHT Foundation wholeheartedly support the work of the Saints Foundation, their Pathway to Health programme and the Escape Pain Project.  Great people doing  great work for their community and a pleasure to work with.   We are looking forward to working with them on further initiatives in the future.”

For further information on the 3-day Exercise Programming for Arthritis and  Lower Back Pain CPD training, or other WRIGHT Foundation Level 3 Diploma GP Exercise Referral and Level 4 Specialist Conditions courses, please contact us on 01307469055 or info@wrightfoundation.com.

Exercising for better health

Exercising for better health

The benefits of exercise to help recovery from major life-threatening conditions such as cancer, COPD, heart attack and stroke are well documented, as too are improvements in patients’ life expectancy.

love_swimmingWe have already highlighted the benefit of exercise in coping with poor mental health, with the example of University of Bristol. 

To reinforce this, new research recently released has shown that swimming significantly reduce the symptoms of anxiety or depression for 1.4 million adults in Britain.

The need and willpower to get better and to achieve a new level of normality, drives patients suffering ill-health to explore many avenues for their treatment. Exercise is one of them, and is often offered through a referral scheme from a doctor or consultant.

For many who haven’t been before, a visit to the gym can be a daunting prospect. They are entering a world alien to what they are used to and have no idea of what this exercise regimen will entail. Having a trained exercise professional there who is approachable and welcoming, to advise and support them, will make a world of difference to the success of the referral and the patient’s enjoyment of the exercise experience.

Brian’s story: ‘The personal approach will always win.’

Brian Gemmell
Personal Trainer Brian Gemmell

As part of our students’ profiling series, after featuring fitness instructor Patricia Park who emphasised on the value and benefits of exercise referral scheme, we approached Brian Gemmell, a self-employed fitness instructor based south of Glasgow (Scotland) who shared his experience.

Developing exercise knowledge for self and others

After qualifying at Level 2 in several exercise-based subjects including Fitness Instructor and achieving Level 3 Personal Trainer, Brian went on to qualify with WRIGHT Foundation at Level 3 Diploma in Exercise Referral to give him a better understanding of referral schemes, how they work and how he could participate in them. He then qualified in 2017 in Level 4 Cancer Rehabilitation and more recently trained at Level 4 Cardiac Rehabilitation.

For Brian, exercise has become key to his own wellbeing. By expanding his skills he is also able to give his clients who are living with and beyond cancer a more focused exercise programme.

Brian appreciates that the knowledge he gained on the courses was immense. “I can now sit with a client, asking them the correct questions, tailor their workout to suit the needs of their medical condition with the confidence that I know what I am doing. I can help them even more and that is very satisfying.”

In Brian’s experience, many of his clients have a medical condition such as thyroid related issues, high/low blood pressure or a respiratory condition. They are often reluctant to speak about it openly.

It is essential that the exercise professional knows what questions to ask, what signs to look for so that they build trust with their clients and they in turn can open up about their conditions. The personal approach is very important.

Make exercise personal

One of Brian’s clients, a lady in her mid-50s from Glasgow, has had three heart stents fitted and also suffers from high blood pressure. When she was first referred, she was unsure of what she could do at the gym.

In order to gain her trust, Brian took time to explain to her the training he had undertaken and qualifications he held. He then tailored a programme to suit her with gentle fitness, indoor cycling and other exercise suited to her medical history.

She is now much more aware of what her own body can do, working to her abilities and is leading a healthier and fitter life. Brian regularly keeps in touch with her. “I want to make sure she has a varied programme, so that she does not get bored with coming to the gym.”  Indeed, clients are much more likely to remain as gym members after the referral period, knowing that they will receive personal attention from instructors who are aware of their medical history.

Lorraine Nicholson
WRIGHT Foundation Training Director Lorraine Nicholson

Training Director Lorraine Nicholson says “Exercise is a key element in people’s recovery from ill-health.  The qualifications that Brian gained through WRIGHT Foundation empowers exercise professionals to guide people to a healthier lifestyle through exercise which will maximise their chance of living better and longer. Health and wellbeing of the patient is always at the heart of our courses.”



Are you a past student of WRIGHT Foundation? Would you like to be featured on our blog?

Call us on 01307 469055 or drop us a line at info@wrightfoundation.com. We would be delighted to hear about your progress, ask you a few questions and share your story.

If you have any queries about our courses – GP Exercise Referral, Specialist Conditions including Exercise for Long Term Neurological Conditions – please do call us on 01307 469055 or use the contact form.

Subscribe here to our mailing list to keep up-to-date to our news and courses. 

Exercise is Medicine for Good Mental Health

Exercise is Medicine for Good Mental Health

Poor Mental Health: we are all concerned

Ways to recognise and deal with poor mental health are increasingly being highlighted in the media, making it the focus of many national and local initiatives in the UK to help tackle its consequences. According to statistics published on the Mental Health Foundation website, 4 to 10% of people in England will experience depression in their lifetime, some with tragic consequences such as suicide. We are all at risk to have poor mental health at some point in our life, from childhood to our older age, whatever our activity at home, at school or at work.

A Factsheet from Mental Health Network, published in 2017, highlights that deteriorating mental health has a direct negative impact on physical health, with people with a mental illness almost twice as likely to die from coronary heart disease as the general population, four times more likely to die from respiratory disease and are at a higher risk of being overweight or obese.

Restoring and maintaining your mental health

Whilst medication is reported as the most common type of treatment for mental health problems, there is a body of evidence that demonstrates that undertaking some form of exercise, together with other activities, will greatly help with instilling a feeling of wellbeing and maintain good mental health


Exercise is medicine for better mental health at Bristol University

On Mental Health Day (10th October), we spent some time talking to Peter Burrows, Physical Activity & Health Development Officer (pictured below) at Bristol University.

Bristol University like many other Higher Education institutions has sadly seen a rise in the number of suspected suicides among its student population. While trying to understand the reasons behind these untimely deaths, the University has taken a number of active steps to address poor mental health of students, one of which is introducing the Healthy Minds Scheme.

Bristol University: Healthy Minds Scheme

The Healthy Minds Scheme  is run by the Division of Sport Exercise and Health and is a pioneering approach to user-led physical activity that seeks to positively impact on students experiencing mental health difficulty whilst at University.

Students who approach the Student Counselling Team or the Mental Health Advisory Service showing symptoms of poor mental health are clinically assessed to be accepted on the Scheme. Peter and his team of exercise professionals then work to create an activity plan for them which is based around 3 months of free access to premium membership including the gym, pool, exercise classes and social sport opportunities. They get multiple contact points with their mentor in the gym to progress their routines and are guided towards an exit route that looks to maintain their health behaviour either through the gym or by joining an active club or society.

Peter Burrows
Peter Burrows, Bristol University

Last year I ran the programme entirely by myself and was able to support around 60 students through the scheme”, Peter says. “We have significantly expanded the programme this year to include a programme coordinator and embed the fitness team into the delivery of the project. As such we were looking for appropriate training to support our staff. We sought out the WRIGHT Foundation Level 4 Mental Health course earlier this summer with 5 of us from the University of Bristol attending. It turned out to be the perfect training opportunity to support the project and prepare our staff for working with this specialist population. The course was insightful and in depth and really reinforced the work I’d done previously in designing and implementing the project to support mental health through physical activity“. With the growing and newly qualified team in place, the Healthy Minds Scheme hopes to reach and support upward of 500 students in 2018-19.

Students Beth and Isaac took part in the Scheme. Put the volume on to listen to and watch their stories:

Healthy Minds for better mental health: future plans

Peter has ambitious plans to further expand the programme to offer a less intensive model which could make the programme more scalable and even extend the service to staff with a view to to taking a more preventive approach rather than what is currently a curative one.

In 2017, the ukactive Research Institute, in collaboration with Precor and Scottish Student Sport released a key report highlighting the important role physical activity can play in a university student’s life. This year, with the additional collaboration of British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS), the research covered Britain. This report titled ‘The ‘British Active Students Survey’, highlighted the benefits of physical activity on mental health. With this evidence in hand, Bristol University, in conjunction with nine other universities, has now bid for and been approved funding through BUCS and Sport England to continue to expand the scheme and help develop a delivery model that can be adopted by other institutions in the HE sector as the benchmark in physical activity to support mental health.

Lorraine Nicholson
WRIGHT Foundation Training Division Director Lorraine Nicholson

Lorraine Nicholson, Training Division Director at WRIGHT Foundation CIC, said “It is a great honour to be involved in the running of such a worthwhile Scheme that is reaping benefits for the students and improve their mental health. We look forward to working further with Bristol University, and indeed other universities that are thinking of adopting this model.”

If you want to find out more about the Healthy Minds Scheme at Bristol University, please contact Peter Burrows directly on 0117 928 9000 .

If your organisation wants to host a WRIGHT Foundation Level 4 Mental Health course or have any queries on this and other WRIGHT Foundation courses, please contact us on 01307469055 or info@wrightfoundation.com.

Northwich Paralympian helps launch project to help people with neurological disorders

Northwich Paralympian helps launch project to help people with neurological disorders

Picture of launch group
Photo courtesy of Winsford Guardian

An exercise programme in West Cheshire has been launched to improve the lives of those living with neurological conditions with the help of WRIGHT Foundation CIC.

Lorraine Nicholson, Training Director at WRIGHT Foundation, said: “This is a very exciting development and we are proud to be associated with it. Please read the full article here.”

For all enquiries, please contact us on 01307 469055 or email lorrainenicholson@wrightfoundation.com

Level 3 Diploma in GP Exercise Referral : Patricia’s story

WRIGHT Foundation CIC introduced the first medically-led  Level 3 Diploma in GP Exercise Referral to the UK. We have been training thousands of gym instructors, personal trainers and health care professionals over the years, growing a workforce with the capability to make a real impact on health and well-being in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Level 3 Diploma in GP Exercise Referral courses are recognised by REPs for a CPD value of 20 points and endorsed by CIMSPA for a CPD value of 10 points.

We are starting a series of stories, profiling some of our past students who are flying the flag of GP referral schemes.

Patricia’s story: Making a difference as an Exercise Referral instructor

Patricia Park Yorkshire
Patricia Park, Fitness Instructor, Yorkshire
Patricia Park is a fitness instructor in her local Leisure Centre in Yorkshire. She qualified with WRIGHT Foundation Level 3 Diploma in GP Exercise Referral in 2016. The GP Referral Scheme she works with had already been well set up when she took over from her colleague. The Scheme is very busy with two local GP surgeries referring patients in. Currently Patricia works with more than 20 clients.

Her employer, East Riding Council funded her WRIGHT Foundation course as part of their fitness staff development and because there was a need to continue to service the Scheme with qualified staff.

Patricia explained, “This is a very valuable course and without it, I would not be able to correctly advise and help people who are referred with a varied range of medical conditions. The most common condition referred are often linked to weight management and for me, it is important to give clients the right amount of exercise as not to cause them more pain.

The GP Exercise Referral Scheme also allows GPs to alleviate their workload as exercise is now recognised to help patients who live with medical conditions. As the Gym also carry out health checks, clients get an all-round fitness service in one place.

Level 3 Diploma in GP Exercise Referral: a win-win-win for all concerned

For Patricia, it has been the right career move with enhanced prospect and a higher rate of pay.

Gym instructor assisting woman in her workout.
Gym instructor assisting woman in her workout.
Helping people with medical conditions is a valuable service and can make people’s day to day life much easier and often with less pain.That’s where the training and knowledge comes into play. I am able to adapt exercise and propose alternatives.

The Scheme has also offered many benefits: referred patients tend to stay and become members after the referral period. Coming to the Gym gives them a new lease of life.” said Patricia

As many of Patricia’s clients say,  simply going along and doing some exercise a few times a week has changed their life.

Patricia highly recommends the training she attended with WRIGHT Foundation CIC.  “The lecturer was brilliant, the course covers many common medical conditions and prepares you well to run a Referral Scheme.”

She is continuing her training, currently studying for Cardiac Rehabilitation, Mental Health and Obesity & Diabetes courses.

Lorraine Nicholson
WRIGHT Foundation Training Division Director Lorraine Nicholson
WRIGHT Foundation CIC Training Division Director, Lorraine Nicholson (pictured) shares her views: “At WRIGHT Foundation, we are committed to the concept that Exercise is Medicine and passionate about helping as many people as possible on the road to recovery from a wide range of medical conditions through highly trained individuals with specialist knowledge gained from our courses.  

WRIGHT Foundation courses and its lecturers constantly receive excellent feedback about the quality, thoroughness and delivery. This then provides patients with first class motivated people to help them on the road to recovery and I am very proud to be involved in this.

What is Exercise Referral?

Exercise Referral is a specific and formalised programme whereby a medical or health professional refers a patient to a fitness professional to be given tailored exercise advice, often based within the community.

Exercise Referral helps

  • promote physical activity and exercise to individuals who are living with a medical condition,
  • improve individuals’ health, well-being and lifestyle, and
  • encourage habitual participation for long-term benefits.

Exercise Referral Schemes exist throughout the UK in various shapes and forms, involving hospital, health and medical care teams and services, linking to exercise and phu between medical practices and exercise facilities, such as gyms, leisure centres, etc.

Being part of an exercise referral scheme affords you as an exercise professional the opportunity to play a vital role in the promotion of regular physical activity and exercise participation to individuals with a real need to improve their health and well-being.

Level 3 Diploma in GP Exercise Referral

The current National Occupational Standards (NOS)* states:

‘Instructors who are responsible for designing and delivering structured and tailored physical activity programmes for referred patients or assigning them to an appropriate physical activity must have a range of knowledge and skills specific to the referral process, specified medical conditions and relevant health risk factors related to physical activity participation.’

A Level 3 Diploma in GP Exercise Referral is therefore a sought-after qualification by exercise professionals who want to help their clients improve their health and fitness. The Diploma clarifies the relationship between exercise, medical conditions and medication to allow professionals to deliver a safe and beneficial exercise programme to their clients. Once a person qualifies, they have the tools and skills to establish, or, if already in existence, to continue running a successful referral scheme.

*D463 Design, manage and adapt an exercise and physical activity programme with referred clients

Are you a past student of WRIGHT Foundation? Would you like to be featured on our blog?

Call us on 01307 469055 or drop us a line at info@wrightfoundation.com. We would be delighted to hear about your progress, ask you a few questions and share your story.

For all dates and locations of Level 3 Diploma in GP Exercise Referral courses, check our website wrightfoundation.com

WRIGHT Foundation Launch Training with Empiric UAE in Dubai

Dundee based WRIGHT Foundation, the UK’s leading provider of Level 3 & 4 Exercise Referral and Specialist exercise rehabilitation qualifications to the leisure and health sector, have teamed up with Empiric UAE, a leading provider of structured and progressive health & fitness education in the Middle East, to deliver their specialist qualifications in Dubai.

The partnership between the two training providers resulted in a pilot course being delivered in Dubai in November. The WRIGHT Foundation Level 4 Obesity & Diabetes course was identified as a need in the area and was oversubscribed in terms of demand. Designed to equip those who attended with all the key information on the aetiology and genetics of obesity, including the risk factors associated with obesity and diabetes. Exercise professionals who qualify in this respect develop the skills and knowledge to allow them to prescribe exercise appropriately, assess client status and negotiate the behavior change agenda, supporting lifestyle modification.

WRIGHT Foundation training division manager, Lorraine Nicholson said,

“We have over fifteen years experience in developing and delivering specialist qualifications such as this, including other subject areas such as Cardiac, Cancer and Pulmonary rehabilitation and we are delighted to be working with Empiric to help to raise standards and introduce specialist qualifications such as this to Dubai and hopefully other parts of the UAE in the future as needed.”

The first Level 4 Obesity and Diabetes course of this partnership was attended by 24 Health and Fitness professionals from the area in the prestigious Ontario Tower, in the Business Bay in Dubai from 11th to 13thNovember.

Empiric Managing Director Cara Standley added;


Cara Standley – MD of Empiric UAE

“Correctly structured programs to manage nutrition, exercise and psychological wellbeing are the key components of Obesity and Diabetes treatment and vital to delivering the UAE’s health targets and the long term wellbeing of the UAE population. Empiric is proud to be part of the continued regional health and fitness renaissance”

Learners fully enjoyed the course, with one describing it as “Perfect!”. The feedback was so positive that plans have already been made to deliver a further Obesity & Diabetes course from 13-15 April 2017.