There was an Englishman, a Scotsman and a Swede. Originally set up to help with pocket money whilst at University, in May 2015 Health by Science became a social enterprise to challenge the status quo in the Personal Training and Physiotherapy industry.
Based in the heart of Edinburgh, Health By Science work on a spectrum from rehabilitation to high performance training, helping people to achieve things which they never thought were possible.
The chances are that you know a stroke survivor, as there are approximately 110,000 stroke-survivors that live in Scotland and there are around 12,500-15,000 new stroke cases every year. Despite many being suitable for rehabilitation, very few have access to Exercise After Stroke services. This is the problem that Stuart hopes to address at Health by Science.
In June 2016 Donna McQueen got in contact with the enterprise for help getting fit - little did she know that they were specialists in Exercise After Stroke. She then introduced the team to George Vickery, who Stuart helped rehab at St John’s hospital whilst on his final University placement. These two stroke survivors became the start of Health By Science’s Exercise After Stroke classes.
On recommendation from Sara of Projekt 42, Stuart applied for Firstport’s Start It fund and in August 2016 he was successful. The money allowed the business to update their website and invest in a videographer to track the progress of George Vickery.
The purpose of the video is to challenge social stereotypes about recovery after stroke and demonstrate that exercise is beneficial for the majority of stroke survivors. Stuart said:
Our hope is that the video reaches other stroke survivors and encourages people to seek out support to participate in Exercise After Stroke services, such as ourselves.
By filling the current service provision gap, Health by Science targets those with ill/vulnerable health and, in particular, stroke survivors. They are the only Physiotherapy social enterprise in Edinburgh, which means that their profits go towards subsidising the cost of the Stroke Survivor training for those who have been discharged from the NHS but are still amenable to rehabilitation. The team now work with a wide variety of individuals including teachers, CEOs, nurses, retired surgeons, dentists, accounts, doctors, Grange Hockey Club and Scotland U18s Hockey team. It is these Strength Coaching, Personal Training and Physiotherapy services which help to subsidise their work with stroke survivors.
Health By Science has set up home at Anytime Fitness in Canonmills, where they have now been trading for almost a year. The enterprise is now ready to move into their own facility where they will have the capacity to help more stroke survivors during off-peak hours. From their work, they hope to collect data and conduct some research on sustainable behaviour change using a lifestyle intervention.
Since the Start It award and support from Firstport, we have been able to reach out to other organisations who have also helped us tremendously, including Social Investment Scotland, Big Lottery Fund and the School of Social Entrepreneurs, and we have recently been accepted onto the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Trade Up Programme 2017/18.