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A year of VIM Health

Founder Tom Taverner reflects on the success of the venture since being created last November

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Vim Health Neuro Rehab Centre officially opened in November of last year. Utilising cutting-edge technology and evidence-based practices, their multi-disciplinary team delivers their clients the best possible care.

To mark the first anniversary, we speak to founder Tom Taverner to hear his take on setting up a neuro-rehab centre in today’s industry.

What was your background before setting up Vim Health?

I studied physiotherapy at the University of Sheffield Hallam and completed my degree 12 years ago. I have always loved sports, so it felt like a natural path to take. At school, I played football and rugby.

I don’t have as much free time now, but I exercise regularly and appreciate the mental health benefits as much as the physical.

Soon after finishing my degree, I began work at the Royal Free Hospital in London, where I specialised in Neurological Physiotherapy.

From there, I went on to work with Exoskeleton company Rex Bionics, as their Clinical Director.

What inspired you to create VIM Health?

To be honest, an accumulation of things: Disability Rights Activist Sophie Morgan is a long-standing childhood friend, so I had a snippet of insight into her world and the importance of accessibility from an early age.

I’d also say my experience as a Neuro Physio and the knowledge gained whilst working with robotics in rehabilitation.

Combining the above gave me an in-depth understanding of the challenges faced within the healthcare industry, specifically, the underserved population of people dealing with neurological injuries and the serious health inequalities we continue to see in society.

What is your role at Vim Health?

So Vim Health was my brainchild, and with the help of some significant people, Jon Graham (PhysioFunction) and Crispin Simon (Prothea Technologies), we turned an idea into something tangible.

Understanding the vital role exercise plays in our mental health, I wanted to create a welcoming space where people could feel confident to exercise independently and alongside their neurorehabilitation programmes.

Whilst we’re still in our infancy, I spend a lot of time hands-on in the centre, and I have at least one session with nearly everyone who comes through the door.

It’s great to get to know our community and ensure we deliver the best possible service.

We’ve created an accessible space that looks great and feels incredible —special thanks to MotionSpot for designing our accessible bathroom and changing room.

Our focus will always be collaboration over competition because I think the more accessible spaces available to the disabled community, the better.

What has been your most valuable life experience to date?

Without a doubt, I’d have to say it was losing my mum at the age of 25.

It made me realise how short life can be and how important it is to push through the challenges and not let fear hold you back.

Losing her gave me a new thirst and drive for life. One of the things I love most about working at Vim Health is the changes we see in our clients.

Whether emotional or physical, the model of care we have created, mixed with the expertise on site and technology, means we see a massive change in people. This is what it’s all about.

Through setting up VIM Health, what has been the biggest challenge?

When you create something innovative that disrupts industries, it is often met with resistance from some existing systems.

So, things like getting services commissioned and expanding our reach are challenging.

Fortunately, the model has been validated by the clients and our corporate partners, so the uptake has been significant.

On a personal level, balancing work and family life has its challenges and finding time for myself.

What advice would you give to anyone who is considering visiting your centre?

Please do it. Book a free tour and come and check out the centre. The videos don’t do it justice; it’s such a welcoming environment. It’s a feeling we’ve created.

We have a lovely community of people regularly attending the gym and our weekly exercise classes, we would welcome you with open arms.

We’re incredibly grateful to have partnered with charitable trust The CiaO Foundation as part of our bursary scheme, enabling approved applicants to receive part of funding towards their rehabilitation programs, making them financially accessible.

I can now mention that we have cemented partnerships with two new charity foundations.

Fletchers Foundation and Frenkel Topping Charitable Foundation will also be supporting successful bursary applicants through their rehabilitation process, so watch this space.

Vim Health is a neurorehabilitation centre with an accessible gym based in Hassocks, Mid Sussex. Its team of healthcare professionals deliver bespoke intensive rehab programs using state-of- the-art upper and lower limb robotics in a non-clinical setting. They support people with a Spinal Cord Injury, Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy, Parkinson’s Disease and other neurological conditions.

For more information on the facilities, they have and the services it offers, head to www.vimhealthcare.co.uk.

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