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Chair of trustees, Annys Fairweather - Annual Report session

Neuro Café - 2nd March 2022 by Annys F

The Annual Report cover shows a close up of a smiling face of a black man with a blurred backgroud. /
The front cover of LEGS' Annual report 2021

Annys, founder of LEGS and Chair of trustees explained how LEGS started.

The origins of LEGS

  • Annys was initially working as a physiotherapist in the NHS in London.

  • Annys was part of the early supported discharge team covering Kensington and Chelsea, and Hammersmith and Fulham.

  • Annys has a background in sports science and in working with people in gyms.

  • She set up LEGS because she saw that there was a need for ongoing, affordable, accessible support.


A white woman stands in front of a climbing bar. She is wearing a sports jumper and white polo shirt. She is smiling.
Annys Fairweather, LEGS Founder and Chair of trustees


The care gap

Annys noticed that there was a gap in care. The NHS does not always offer enough long-term physiotherapy support. Once rehab for the acute stage of an illness had finished, there was often limited further involvement and people felt lost.

Was it possible to fill this care gap? Annys decided to explore the possibilities. After leaving the NHS Annys began by running one group, with just one person, and the LEGS charity was subsequently founded in 2018. Since then, LEGS has gone from strength to strength.

Victoria Bailey-King (Director - Operational) and Sarah Sparkes (Director- Clinical) joined and were instrumental in ensuring the growth and development of LEGS.

LEGS Annual Report 2020-2021


The Annual Report from 2020-2021, which you can find on the LEGS website, sets out the key points - the vision, aims of the coming years and what it is hoped to achieve. Annys highlighted the vision, mission and values.

At LEGS, our aim should be to strive for equality rather than 'improvement'. We will update our charity vision. People with neurological conditions should expect equality of access to services, rather than improvement.

How to achieve LEGS' mission?


We aim to be affordable and accessible so

  • We collaborate with other organisations, eg Headway, MS, NHS

  • We want to explore running LEGS sessions in local authority gyms and leisure venues

  • We are not in competition or cornering a market

Our values

  • We deliver excellence

  • We are inclusive

  • We are collaborative

  • We have integrity

  • We are kind

Our location

  • Originally west London because Annys worked there and had networks to help create the charity

  • Now, we have members from all over the country and plans to open local LEGS groups nationwide.

Impact of Covid


Covid changed everything because we started holding our classes on Zoom. It was a really positive change for us.


Growth


  • LEGS has grown from 1 to 18 weekly sessions

  • LEGS now serves participants with 13 different neurological conditions (rather than just stroke)

Our current 3 year plan


Key aims include

  • increase number of participants

  • increase range of conditions (originally our classes were just for stroke)

  • increase number of groups

  • open sessions in gym environments

  • improve participants’ outcomes.

Comment from participant: "LEGS has changed my life in just a few weeks, despite having seen various healthcare professionals for my condition for over 10 years."

How can we spread the word out about LEGS?

  • We would like to advertise our services more widely.

  • We need to make sure we have spaces in our classes before we advertise too much!

  • We spread the word within our extensive clinical networks.

  • LEGS members publicise the charity very well by word of mouth

  • There are lots of other ways we could improve our marketing. We are going to focus on these in our next business plan.


Comments from participants:

  • "Do not grow too fast."

  • "Do not publicise until you have capacity."

  • "Define your key principles and how they are delivered."

Trustee board

  • Our goal this year is to expand and diversify the trustee board

  • We will recruit 2-3 new members this year

  • We are creating participant-led groups (Participant Voice) so that participants are directly influencing the leadership of the charity

Partnerships & collaborations


Existing collaborations include

  • Headway (a brain injury charity)

  • Local councils

  • NHS

  • UK Stroke Forum

  • Universities – KCL, Brunel

What are the strengths of LEGS? Participants said...

  • High quality, remote support and groups. This is key and unique and exceptionally well done.

  • High quality of people who deliver the sessions/work at LEGS

  • Range of things that you offer, very inclusive

  • Same ideas: people working together

  • Good moods and relationships created, reception LEGS gives people, human contact

  • Fun and humour in sessions

  • Sessions are enjoyable, it is good to see others

  • Communications and relationships with other organisations

  • You have created a family (for your participants)

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