Patients hail Stockport’s ‘life saving’ COVID recovery programme

Stockport patients recovering from COVID 19 have hailed a ‘life-saving’ programme run by Life Leisure and Stockport Council.

Patients hail Stockport’s ‘life saving’ COVID recovery programme

Life Leisure, has been aiding residents’ recovery with a special rehabilitation programme designed to build up their strength after a battle with the virus.

The programme is supported by the Stockport Moving Together campaign, funded by Stockport Council and Sport England. It includes weekly exercise sessions on zoom and a physical activity pack containing equipment such as resistance bands and pedal exerciser, as well as ongoing support from experts at Life Leisure.
Mary Smith, 66, lives in North Reddish and was shielding when she contracted COVID last October. She says the programme has gone above and beyond helping her tackle the long-lasting effects of the virus.

Mary, who runs a therapeutic art group on the stroke rehab ward at Stepping Hill Hospital as a volunteer, said: “The support from Life Leisure has been absolutely fantastic. It has boosted my mood and made me more physically capable – it’s been a life saver.”

Mary, a former deputy-headteacher and mother-of-one, was left disabled as a result of two brain stem strokes when she was 53. She was referred for the support through the PARiS (Physical Activity Referral in Stockport) scheme which encourage health recovery through activity.

She said: “Receiving the COVID pack was very exciting. The pedal exerciser is brilliant, I can do it when I’m watching tv at night, and it just keeps my muscles moving.

“The exercises we do are all part of helping us in every-day life, such as reaching around to put a seat belt on and ‘stepping around a cat’, which has been brilliant for my balance.”

Mary, who continues to suffer from the effects of COVID 19, added: “To receive the COVID pack was a fantastic affirmation that I can still do some things, albeit slowly! It helped to raise the mental fog of depression and anxiety, which was beginning to overwhelm me.

“The other amazing thing is that once a week I am connecting with people through the zoom activity classes, it’s been great fun!”

More than a hundred activity packs, created as part of the Stockport Moving Together campaign and funded by Stockport Council and Sport England, have been distributed across Stockport, with care home residents also benefiting from the kit in an effort to keep vulnerable residents as healthy as possible during the pandemic.

Michelle Childs, Head of Health and Development at Life Leisure, said: “Both in hospital and in the community we have seen that people who have Covid-19 have a wide variety of symptoms, some of which can be longer-lasting. These can often include generalised weakness, breathlessness, fatigue and issues affecting psychological wellbeing. Starting some exercise with the support of Stockport Moving Together can be a great way of helping some of these problems.

“As well as the recovery pack, recipients benefit from specialist advice and ongoing support with a Life Leisure PARiS Coach to create a programme of exercises suitable for their personal recovery.

“While much of the support has been provided online and over the telephone, we look forward to continuing this support and welcoming our patients into the gym once it is safe for them to do so!”

Jennifer Connolly, Director of Public Health at Stockport Council, said: "Mary is one of many Stockport residents that has benefitted from this programme that forms part of our wider recovery as we build back better from the impact of COVID 19. The scheme has been successful in aiding the physical and mental recovery of residents suffering with longer lasting symptoms of COVID 19.”

To benefit from Life Leisure’s movement for health programmes you must be referred by your GP or hospital or individuals can self-refer via the website. Enquiries for the physical activity packs can be emailed to

Stockport Moving Together, which was launched in September 2020 and forms part of the broader One Stockport campaign, is a joint initiative between the Council, GPs and Primary Care in Stockport, Stockport CCG, Stepping Hill NHS Foundation Trust and Life Leisure.

You can find out more about Marys story on the Life Leisure blog.

For more information about Life Leisure visit their website.

For more information about One Stockport visit their website.

For more information on how to establish healthy habits visit the Healthy Stockport website.