Walsall-based Heart Care (Walsall Rehabilitation and Healthy Living Trust) received the gift, which include five rowing machines and three exercise bikes, from former workers of Wolverhampton’s Goodyear plant.

Community Fundraiser Rina Guddu said: “Heart Care is small much loved local charity in Walsall that has been going nearly 40 years. It is a special place that benefits around 1,000 patients a year, many of whom are older in their 60s, 70s,80s and beyond. We provide free three-onth tailored rehabilitation programmes and then long-term after care indefinitely.

“Exercise is a crucial part of our cardiac and lung rehabilitation programmes. This exercise equipment will be used daily by our heart and lung disease patients to help them recover.

“In the lockdowns we changed and adapted our services to give as much help and support as possible during this crisis to our vulnerable patients.

“Staff have worked tirelessly, contacting patients regularly over the phone and providing help and advice and a friendly familiar voice to chat to. We are now delighted to have opened up our centre for face to face support and rehabilitation. This generous donation of equipment will be used by thousands of patients for many years to come and have an enormous impact on us. We are so grateful to the wonderful workers and trustees of the Goodyear Fund for their fantastic gift.”

Cyril Barrett, chairman of the 5/344 Branch of the Transport and General Workers Union Benevolent Fund, said: “On a visit to the charity, the trustees and management committee saw first hand the vital work being done there, supporting men and women in the local community that have suffered heart and lung illness. It was clear to see that this charity was a platform that was helping local community members to improve their health, but as importantly, act as a hub, for people to meet, gain confidence, and combat loneliness. It it now clear that going forward, Heart Care could also play an important part in the recovery of patients suffering from Long Covid.

“It was for these reasons that the trustees of the TGWU benevolent Fund charity agreed to purchase exercise equipment for Heart Care costing £13,843.17. This is another project supported by the ex-Goodyear TGWU members, reaching out to support the community.”

Express & Star Walsall