Basingstoke Sports Trust is a registered charity and has run Basingstoke Sports Centre at Festival Place for more than 50 years.  The charity aims to support our local communities to lead healthier and happier lives by providing a wide range of opportunities to take part in physical activity.  Part of the offer includes a Cardiac Rehab Programme that includes multiple classes, at different levels of ability, for those who have suffered a cardiac incident to get stronger, healthier and fitter.

The pandemic has hit the charity hard with the Centre being closed for eight out of twelve months. With more vulnerable customers initially shielding and anxious about returning, these groups have been slower to return.

The charity is working hard to re-grow the programme and to find the funds to do so.  The charity’s Swimming Development Manager, Tom Blakeley, has stepped in to help raise funds to cover the cost of the cardiac programme to the end of the financial year.

Tom says, “My brother suffered a heart attack in 2019 at the age of 26. He had been using our Cardiac Rehab programme to get himself back into fitness and look after his health but since reopening, places at these classes have been limited and he hasn’t been able to attend.  My aim is to raise £7,500 to cover the costs for the year so that we can expand our offer and increase access.”

Chief Executive, James Starbuck, said “We’ve survived the pandemic thanks to a CBIL loan - that we have to repay - and use of furlough as well as having to make the painful decision to reduce staffing.  We’re very humbled that Tom has decided to support this cause and raise much needed funds for the charity to continue providing specialist programmes for members of our local communities who most need our support.”

Tom will compete in the Cotswold 113, the 113 is the distance in km that participants have to complete.  This includes a 1.9km Swim, 90km Bike and 21.1km run! Although an incredibly tough event, it’s half the distance of an Ironman which Tom hopes to compete in next year.  To support Tom, the charity and the cardiac programme, please visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tom-blakeley