Edinburgh personal trainer opens Scotland's first gym dedicated to disabled people
The facility, in Straiton, was launched by Dale Robertson, a personal trainer who specialises in working with disabled people.
The gym also provides personal training, rehabilitation and peer support for users and people with long-term health conditions.
After Dale launched his own business, DR Inclusive Fitness, three years ago, a successive run has seen the demand for such a facility to open to provide personalised programmes for members.
After research indicated that a staggering 19% of the adult workforce in the UK are disabled, an interest in personal training services for these people quickly grew.
Dale feels like the demand hasn't been met with enough facilities to accommodate disabled users, so he took it upon himself to make one of his own.
He said: "DR Inclusive Fitness is more than a gym – it’s a place for Disabled people and people with long-term health conditions to develop new skills, develop in confidence, and gain peer support from other Disabled people. Having worked with Disabled people for over fifteen years, I’ve seen the isolation and loneliness that Disabled people can experience by not having the chance to meet their peers with similar lived experiences.
"I’m proud that we can now offer a place for people to meet, connect, and live healthy and active lives.
"The Coronavirus pandemic has further increased the challenges that Disabled people and people with long-term health conditions can face in accessing health and fitness services in their community. DR Inclusive Fitness’ first gym has bespoke equipment that isn’t found in commercial gyms, enabling Disabled people to achieve their goals in a way they simply haven’t been able to do before."
One of the users of Dale's gym, Jhon Bateman said that Dale's determination to make a difference helped him throughout lockdown.
"I got in contact with Dale at the start of 2020 to find out more about personal training and whether he could help me to build my mobility levels as a wheelchair user. Little did I know that in a few months we’d go into lockdown, but I kept in contact with Dale, and we worked on developing my strength and mobility as much as possible ready for when the gyms reopened.
"When I first visited a commercial gym with Dale, it quickly became clear that a lot of the equipment wasn’t accessible for me. Working together, we managed to overcome some of these obstacles but having access to a dedicated gym for people just like me has given me the chance to achieve goals that I never thought were possible."
Dale's business now includes and supports over 30 disabled people and others with long-term health conditions, also offering special home visits for those who can't travel to the gym to still get involved in an active lifestyle.