A Barnstaple gym has temporarily become an outpatient department offering exercise classes for local NHS patients. The new Fitness Factory at Pilton is working with physiotherapists from Northern Devon Healthcare Trust to help up to 60 patients a week w

A Barnstaple gym has temporarily become an "outpatient department" offering exercise classes for local NHS patients.The new Fitness Factory at Pilton is working with physiotherapists from Northern Devon Healthcare Trust to help up to 60 patients a week while the gym at North Devon District Hospital is being refurbished.It assists people who need therapy to recover from a range of conditions such as heart attacks, shoulder, lower back, leg or ankle problems.They are able to use the gym equipment at the Fitness Factory, which has been made available for six one-hour sessions per week."We'd like to say a big 'thank you' to the Fitness Factory for helping out," said Helen Cooke, the Trust's Head of Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy Services."They've been really good to us, playing their part in the community."It is all about getting people back on their feet and able to cope with everyday life, so it's vitally important."Fitness Factory owner John Reeves added: "We're very happy to be able to help. We've got the facilities, so why not make the most of them? "It's also a great opportunity for some of our own staff and members to see the classes and pick up new techniques for their own fitness programmes.