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.

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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.

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