Brain injury survivor Brett trains to be fitness instructor at our gym

Brett Arnold in the Seashell Trust gym with gym manager Heather Potter

A brain injury survivor who volunteers at Seashell Trust is celebrating graduation from a programme to get disabled people into the fitness sector.

Brett Arnold, 33, from St Anne's Road, Denton, has volunteered twice a week at Seashell Trust's gym for the past year after a placement there for his Level 3 InstructAbility personal fitness course.

Heather Potter, manager of our fully inclusive fitness suite, said: “Brett is a great role model for the many disabled young people who access our gym. They all enjoy working out with Brett, especially when he gets out the boxing gloves and pads. Brett’s support worker has been a great help through the process and enables him to work independently.”

Brett was motivated to become a fitness instructor after the support of his local gym following a brain injury. In 2008, the former postman, was in a road accident that hospitalised him with a traumatic brain injury.

Before the accident he was very active and enjoyed Thai boxing. That interest in fitness helped regain his balance and coordination and throughout the intensive rehabilitation, supported by Rehab without Walls, Brett said he wanted to give something back to people in a similar situation.

The InstructAbility programme run by Aspire, the spinal injury charity, was recommended to him. It provides disabled people with free, accessible fitness industry training and qualifications so they can encourage other disabled people to access leisure facilities and enjoy an active lifestyle.

Graduates of the Instructability programme and their placement providers were invited recently to a glamorous national awards ceremony to celebrate their achievements and be presented with their hard-earned certificates.

Brett and Heather were among the guests addressed by guest speaker Joe Townsend, former Royal Marine commando and Paralympian.

Heather Potter said: “It was a lovely night with lots of great guest speakers around disability and engaging disabled people in exercise and the fitness sector. Sport England announced it would be putting a further £380,000 for phase 3 of InstructAbility. This means many more disabled people will be given the opportunity to not only train to become fitness instructors but to also work in the fitness industry. Having disabled people as fitness role models will hopefully encourage more disabled people to take up physical activity.”

lSeashell Trust fitness suite at our campus on Stanley Road, Cheadle Hulme, is fully accessible for people of all abilities and disabilities and is open to the local community. To book a session please call 0161 610 0100.