Heidi's Heroes | Success stories
Heidi’s Heroes is a Cheltenham-based charity that provides practical support, care and courage to people of all ages across Gloucestershire when they need it most.
heidis heroes, cheltenham, swimming, heidi wood
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Success stories

More bereaved people counselled
Cruse Bereavement Care

Heidi’s Heroes began working with Cruse, Gloucestershire in 2014 and have now provided it with more than £3,600 in grants to help train  new counsellors every year – and reduce the waiting list of bereaved people wishing to talk to a Cruse counsellor.

This year £2,000 was provided and more counsellors trained. Once trained, each counsellor will help about 8 – 10 bereaved people a year giving either one-to-one counselling, or through telephone or email support. Cruse also offers friendship groups and group support. Cruse is run entirely by volunteers with no paid staff.

David Schermer, Client Services Chairman of Cruse Gloucestershire, said: “This ongoing support from Heidi’s Heroes means we can help more and more beraeved people across the county each year. We have around 10 clients a week seeking help and by training more counsellors we can provide a more efficient service and help reduce our waiting lists.

“Cruse is a charity itself and is run entirely by volunteers. Support such as this is invaluable to help us improve our service and meet the needs of the bereaved.”

By the end of 2016 this funding is expected to have provided approximately 100 more bereaved people with specialist Cruse counselling.

Once the counsellors are trained, this funding will help 30 bereaved people over a 12 month period and that level of support will continue each year
More cancer patients supported

Heidi’s Heroes launched new fitness classes for cancer patients in 2015 – and they are proving so popular we are now running twice-weekly sessions.

The classes are the only ones of their kind in the region being run for people with cancer. They are led by Specialist Cancer Physiotherapist Clare Lait and Brendan Ward, Personal Trainer Level 3,  at the Cheltenham Ladies’ College Sports Centre in Malvern Road. The hour-long classes run from 11.30am and again at 8pm on Mondays and are free to cancer patients.

Clare said: “The classes are open to patients with all types of cancer irrespective of your prognosis. If you are struggling with fatigue or weakness due to cancer or surgery, or want to maintain fitness please come along. There is nothing else on offer like this to cancer patients or those recovering and it is proving very popular for a number of reasons both physically and emotionally.

“Not only are there incredible physical and health benefits, it is also a great confidence builder in a very friendly and supportive environment with others who have, or are going through similar experiences.”

Class member Paul Ilott, 60, from Cheltenham, underwent successful surgery for cancer of his thyroid gland, following by radioactive iodine treatment. He said: “Coming to these classes has changed my life. I was feeling depressed, had no motivation and no interest in anything. Since coming here I’ve not looked back. Clare and Brendan are brilliant and I can;t wait for Monday mornings. I’ve returned to playing golf after five years and feel completely different. I’m motivated, enthusiastic and am physically fitter and feel so much better and more confident. I had to shake Paul Wood’s hand because this class changed my life.”

``These fitness classes have changed my life,`` Paul Ilott, former cancer patient who underwent surgery on his thyroid gland.
More than 100 children swimming
The Amateur Swimming Association

We are delighted to be working with the Amateur Swimming Association on our successful Swim for Summer campaign that teaches Year 6 children this potentially life-saving skill.

Launched last year Swim for Summer has now seen more than 130 primary school children from Cheltenham learn to swim or greatly improve their swimming in an intensive five day coaching course. Heidi’s Heroes funded tuition from ASA accredited coaches as well as paying for pool time at Leisure at Cheltenham. After the first course in 2014, 32 children aged nine and ten had learned to swim, or improved their swimming, leaving able to confidently swim 25 metres in line with National Curriculum expectations.

This summer, July 2015, around 100 children took to the pool from five different schools. Many over came their fear of the water and learnt to swim. Others proudly achieved their 25 metre ASA certificate and badge.

Many state schools no longer have the time or resources to adequately support swimming classes and increasing numbers of ten-year-olds enter senior school unable to swim 25 metres – and some cannot swim at all.

The Swim for Summer campaign is also backed by the Cheltenham and Tewkesbury Schools Sports Network (SSN) who transport the pupils and support the ASA coaches pool side.

At a presentation day is held at The Lido after the course in which the excited young swimmers each receive a Heidi’s Heroes certificates, ASA achievement badges and goodie bags in front of their proud parents

One parent whose daughter learned to swim told us: “Our daughter’s general confidence has grown after taking part in the Swim For Summer event”.