Cash boost for charity

A pioneering charity which saves hundreds of people from needing major surgery is set to quadruple in size as it expands its work across the county.

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A pioneering charity which saves hundreds of people from needing major surgery is set to quadruple in size as it expands its work across the county.

Excel 2000 began its work in north Norfolk 10 years ago but can now extend its vital treatment and classes thanks to a generous grant.

Founder Penny Bevan Jones said: “This is what we've been working so tirelessly for all these years.

“It's official recognition that what we do really does make a difference and that's a real confidence boost.

“Now we've got official backing we can really look to the future. Long-term we want to take it to a national level.”

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The charity holds classes incorporating movement, music and fun to help adults and children with health challenges.

It aims to relieve pain by gentle forms of exercise but in a social environment for people suffering with cancer, multiple sclerosis and strokes among other illnesses.

Workshops are currently held across north Norfolk in the swimming pool at Splash, Sheringham, as well as care homes and schools.

And there are many success stories to prove the difference Excel 2000 can make.

Alice Johnson, eight, from Sheringham, is suffering from her second brain tumour and has undergone a gruelling programme of surgery and radiotherapy.

As a result she no longer goes to school and struggles with balance and co-ordination.

Mum Jennie said: “As soon as she went on the course Alice loved it. It gave her something to look forward to.

“Her balance has improved and she feels part of something. The difference in her is amazing.

“This should be on the national curriculum, it's been the highlight of her life.”

But now courtesy of a £25,000 Lloyds TSB Foundation grant, the team can quadruple the number of people they help and staff members.

Currently over 600 people benefit from the various types of therapy offered by the scheme but when the extra classes start in the new year that number will increase to 2,400.

Mrs Bevan Jones said: “We know this works and now we've got the chance to show others it does as well.

“This grant will give us two years to roll out this scheme across the county and we plan on making the most of it.

“As soon as I found out I started organising larger classes and trying to find new venues to start up in.”

Due to the sudden expansion Mrs Bevan Jones is appealing for people to come forward to train for course instructors and directors.

The new training will start in Sheringham on February 21 and 28 and March 7, 14, and 28.

Anyone interested in joining or wishing to find out more about the Excel 2000 courses should contact 01263 825670 or www.excel2000.org.uk.