After a horrific car crash in 2016, Josh Weeks spent 14 weeks in a coma, after which he was transferred to a specialist neuro rehabilitation unit in Stoke-on-Trent where he had to re-learn skills that most of us take for granted, from blinking, swallowing, supporting his own head and eventually slowly building up to walking again.
In 2017, shortly after being discharged, Josh was referred to Gwyn Evans Leisure Centre through the National Exercise Referral Scheme (NERS), where a programme was designed by physio Gavin Maloney, and was described as “a game changer” by Josh:
“Not only did Gavin’s knowledge enable him to support what I was doing in my physio session but also his encouragement and interaction with me made the hard work fun…it's been 5 years now since I returned home and I'm still working hard to better myself. The work is less physio driven now and I attend the gym at Gwyn Evans as a regular member”
But that’s not quite where the inspirational story ends with Josh, who now volunteers at Gwyn Evans Leisure Centre in Gwersyllt, to help inspire and support members who attend the gym, fitness classes and pool.
Josh said “The centre now gives me so much more than just a place to work out! During the lockdown periods, I lost most of my social interaction opportunities, which I believe definitely had an impact on my mental health and continuous progress. I’m super chuffed that I have now been given the opportunity to volunteer a few hours a week at the Gwyn Evans Centre!”
Gavin from the National Exercise Referral Service scheme said:
“Josh has worked really hard to now be at a place to work out without a Physio. His recovery improves by the week, it is amazing to see! Having him now working as a volunteer at Gwyn Evans means he is helping to motivate others starting on their exercise referral journey. He really enjoys the time with the group and the class members think Josh is fantastic!”
Josh has been welcomed by colleagues, members and visitors alike at Gwyn Evans Leisure Centre.