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Therapy area opens after charity appeal

A therapeutic walkway and play area has been officially opened at West Midlands Rehabilitation Centre thanks to the generosity of donors who helped smash a £10,000 charity appeal target.

Guests included children and adults who will benefit from the centre's first outdoor facility as they work with physiotherapists to improve their mobiity following injury or as they become familiar with new equipment, such as a prosthetic limb or a wheelchair.

And, to add to the sense of excitement, the event was broadcast live on BBC Midlands Today's lunchtime bulletin.

A range of commonly-encountered situations have been replicated in the therapy area - for example a cobblestone pathway, a railway platform edge and the 'rippled' pavement surfaces that indicate a pedestrian crossing. There is even a fully functioning pelican crossing.

Anu Saha and Lois Gregory declared the therapeutic playground and walkway officially open.
Anu Saha and Lois Gregory declared the therapeutic playground and walkway officially open.
Lois tries out the therapy walkway.

For younger visitors to the centre, there is play equipment including a slide and a 'stepping stone' challenge.

BCHC Charity manager Sarah Binks said: "We're so grateful to everyone who donated, which saw us exceed the original target by nearly 50 per cent.

"This has enabled us to think about some 'extras' for the therapy area, such as specially-adapted bikes.

Patient/parent therapy lead Sue Barlow (pictured with Anu and Lois, above) said: "This will be a great resource for our physiotherapists, in particular, to work with people as they get used to new prosthetic limbs.

"But it's not only that - we work with people with a very wide range of mobility needs and the therapeutic benefits of being able to practise in simulated settings will be hugely beneficial."

“We regularly see around 70 children who have lower limb amputations and wear a prosthesis.

“It's essential that they can learn to walk on all surfaces, negotiate steps, slopes and cambers." 

The project has been backed by the family of eight-year-old Anu Saha (right) who became a social media sensation after a film of her proudly unveiling her new 'blade' prosthesis to schoolfriends was shared millions of times online.

Dad Anirban Saha said: “Anu has attended for several years for assessment, treatment and support with her prosthetics so, as a family, we have very personal experience of the quality of care.

"'I can honestly say the welcome is so warm and the team so caring that it almost feels like one big family, there is no limit to the lengths they will go to to provide the very best care and support.

“This project to create an outdoor therapy area is another example of that commitment to maximising people’s rehabilitation potential.''

Click here to find out more about BCHC Charity or get in touch with the team by phoning 0121 466 7314 or by email to bchc.charity@bhamcommunity.nhs.uk.

Anu tries out the wooden stepping stones.