The club was created in 1991 to provide ongoing support and help for heart attack patients who had completed a cardiac rehab programme within the Physiotherapy Department of St Mary’s Hospital.
The first-ever class took place, with just 1 patient, 3 instructors and a Sister from the Coronary Care Unit, in the old boardroom at St Mary’s. It was one of the first cardiac rehab groups set up in the UK.
The Heart Care Club is affiliated with the British Heart Foundation and has twice been awarded the prestigious Government Awarded Charter Mark, initially in 1997 and then again in 2000.
Membership of the club is by referral from the hospital or a doctor with numbers now approaching 350. The aim is to provide friendly support for people with heart conditions, with a structured exercise programme tailored to an individual’s needs, and an opportunity to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle – all within a friendly and inclusive environment.
Classes are normally held most weekdays at venues in Newport, Ryde, Sandown, Freshwater and more recently in Cowes, although lockdown has temporarily resulted in a cessation of all normal activities. It has always been an objective of the club to have its own premises in Newport, and they are always pleased to hear of any opportunities for a permanent base in this area.
Lyn Smith, one of the founder members, has run the club, aided and abetted by her husband Gary, and a small committee since its inception. Lyn is a dedicated professional instructor and a member of the British Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation. She also has another qualified instructor to assist at the various venues and classes.
Lyn’s dedication to the club is as strong today as it was when it commenced, and her continued enthusiasm, energy and support for members’ wellbeing is clearly evident to all those who know her. During lockdown, she has recorded online videos for the members and holds regular virtual classes.
Further details can be found at www.islandheartcareclub.co.uk.