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Places Leisure has launched its new COVID Recovery Programme across leisure centres in England, to provide therapy and rehabilitation specifically for individuals who have endured COVID-19 or who have been affected by Long-COVID.

More than two million people in the UK are struggling with the effects of COVID-19. For many, their experience is transformative and, far more profound than an acute cough, fever, and period of isolation.

With funding provided by Travis Perkins Managed Services and Places for People, Places Leisure fitness coaches across England have received industry-accredited qualifications from the CAWS Rebuild training programme. CAWS Rebuild-certified coaches are equipped to work with individuals recovering from COVID-19 and Long-COVID after the acute phase.

CAWS is an industry training provider, accredited by the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA). The Rebuild Programme was designed in direct response to the needs of individuals enduring COVID-19 and suffering with ongoing symptoms.

The initiative was created by co-founders, Managing Director, Mel Spooner, and Education Director, Dr Colin Robertson, both widely known throughout the healthcare, sports medicine, and the fitness industries. Both CAWS and the Rebuild training programme are backed by ukactive and EuropeActive.

Exercise referral software specialists, ReferAll, is also playing a critical role, setting up data management for the COVID Recovery Programme in its secure platform and replicating CAWS’ questionnaires to ensure accurate reporting

Places Leisure’s Head of Fitness, Sarah Roberts, explains: “Thankfully, most individuals who contract COVID-19 do not require hospitalisation. However, a period of recovery and restoration is vital for anyone who experiences COVID-19. Many people push themselves too far too soon, which not only decreases their speed of recovery, but can also lead them to Long-COVID.

“Our COVID Recovery Programme has been designed to offer support and inform COVID patients to make the right decisions from the start, so that they can recover as quickly as possible, avoid longer-term complications and make the virus a part of their past. The support offered is individualised, but can cover both indoor and outdoor activity, stress management, overall wellbeing, lifestyle choices and social support.”

“Places Leisure is ready to receive people who need help now. We are delivering support one-to-one and remotely. If you are looking for support and guidance or know somebody who is struggling and needs help, please contact your local, participating centre any time and have a chat with a member of our team.”

Feedback from people wo have been on the programme point out it has helped improved their strength, flexibility and stamina to pre-COVID levels, reduced brain fog and increased wellbeing.

Julia Cross, Personal Trainer at The Triangle, Burgess Hill, shared this message from her client, Katie Nolan:

“I’m really grateful to be doing this Long-COVID Recovery Programme. It has made such a massive difference to my wellbeing. As someone who previously loved exercise and visiting the gym, sadly Long-COVID stripped me of my ability to do this.

“Julia has helped give me the confidence to be in the gym. She explains why we are doing different exercises, how they’ll help my overall recovery and how they’ll help me achieve my personal goals, all within my current Long-COVID limits. I can honestly say this programme has already made such a big difference at beginning to put ‘me’ back together again.”

Places Leisure’s CEO, Paul McPartlan said: “We are committed to supporting communities up and down the country, investing in bespoke programmes, training and services which help local people. In the wake of the pandemic, we have invested in even more initiatives and these funds have helped customers mitigate a myriad of issues arising from lockdown – be they financial, restricted training and education, or social isolation.

“We are incredibly proud of the COVID Recovery Programme. Through training colleagues, we can in turn support local communities for the long term, helping people rebuild their health as we move forward from the challenges of the past year.”

In addition, Places Leisure will also be offering help to local schools and employers across England to support students and employees and will be working diligently to support the outstanding work of local general practitioners and primary care groups to identify members of the community who need help.

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his article forms part of ukactive’s new Essential Series, shining a light on the essential role played by ukactive’s members in society today. To find out more or to propose a story from your business or customers, please email

Disclaimer: Any views or opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of ukactive.