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Fitness for the physically impaired Cork, Ireland

  • Functional Zone at LeisureWorld
  • Functional Zone Equipment
  • Coffee morning December 2015 at the Functional Zone

The functional zone @ LeisureWorld is a gym or area of a gym in our facility in Cork, Ireland with adapted equipment that allows individuals with a physical impairment to train optimally or engage in a sustainable exercise programme.

Users are people who have:

1. Experienced a single neurological event e.g. stroke, acquired brain injury, spinal cord injury etc resulting in physical impairment.

2. Living with a progressive chronic condition such as Parkinsons, Multiple Sclerosis etc.

How did it start?

This project arose from the realisation that there was nothing else like this in our area to cater for and help those with physical impairment from engaging in an exercise programme, outside of a medical centre.


The project is designed to bridge the gaps between clinical services and the gym in our area.

We want to be fully accessible for any person that may come through our doors and having this specialty facility and service on site allows us to move in the right direction.

Exercise should be available to anyone at a reasonable cost. A visit to our ‘functional zone’ is only €6 per person with two to three fitness instructors always on the floor of this dedicated space.

Why is this project important?

Someone that has suffered a stroke or suffers from Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinsons may feel isolated from the outside world. Our functional zone allows them to come to a facility where they can engage in exercise and engage with other people.

It is so much more than just a physical benefit, the social aspect of this project is greater than we could have ever imagined. It has also had a knock on affect on all of our staff that are now so much more aware of this issues and how to cater for them.

Project resources

We have trained up three dedicated staff.

We built a separate gym for this project which is called the functional zone @ LeisureWorld.

We have worked with the Irish national Health Service Executive (HSE) and their physios’ to design the programmes for these people. Our staff work with these physios’ on a weekly basis in the functional zone too.

Project results

  1. It has given people back some physical capabilities that they otherwise would not have been able to achieve without a lot of money.
  2. They have access to services that people in other areas simply do not have.
  3. It has created a social connection for all those involved.
Gymtopia Comment

Millions of people across the UK and Ireland live with long-term impairments or disabilities but often health clubs and leisure centres are designed in a way that fail to accomodate and make them welcome. The result is that too many people living with a disability feel excluded from health and fitness venues.

Gymtopia does not normally publish projects that are generating revenue, but we do support LeisureWorld’s efforts to encourage more people living with a disability to take part in physical activity.

Project by:LeisureWorld

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Location: Cork, Ireland
Start date: December 2012
Status: Ongoing
Impact: Local
Submitted: 13 July 2016