Sally Potter has always worked as a physiotherapist, but says there are not many clinics out there like this one.
Sally is referring to our Wellness Place (formerly Hands on Health Clinic), where clients experiencing homelessness or disadvantage can access a range of complementary therapies including physiotherapy, massage, chiropractics, osteopathy, podiatry, optometry and acupuncture.
Before coming on board as a volunteer physio, most of Sally’s work has been in neurological rehabilitation – supporting people who had suffered an acquired brain injury or stroke.
With her kids grown up and a little more time on her hands, Sally says she was looking for a volunteering role where she could use her skills.
“Most of the clients who come to the clinic have chronic pain,” Sally explains.
“Our approach helps them to manage that pain, providing them with treatment, education and support.”
While a lot can be done within the confines of the treatment room, Sally soon realised some clients needed additional support outside of her one-on-one sessions, so she decided to start an exercise group.
She began with a walking group but soon realised many of our clients already do a lot of walking. Then the group started exercising in the park, but their plans were often stalled by inclement weather. Finally, the group found a regular home at the Sacred Heart Mission church six months ago.
“Ever since we moved into the church, we’ve had regulars come every week,” Sally says.
“The group motivates each other – it’s a safe environment. A lot of them just come and do their own thing.”
As well as the great physical benefits – increasing strength, flexibility balance – exercise also improves mental health and the nature of group classes provides an opportunity for our clients to socialise and build connections.
“We do general exercises but we also work a lot on diet, posture and breathing – it’s a holistic approach,” Sally says.
Sally is hoping to grow the group and is looking for a new volunteer to lend a hand.
“Volunteering here is so worthwhile. There are people out there with such great needs who can’t access the mainstream healthcare system,” Sally says.
“The class has been amazing. It’s unlike any other exercise class I have ever run, and I love it.”
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