The idea for Heart Care came from Dr Ron McKecknie in 1980 a local GP and Rotarian. Dr McKechnie had been looking at the fitness of athletes with an Exercise Physiologist. They compared the results with middle aged men which then lead them to research the advantages of exercise for patients with cardio-vascular disease.

It was decided that there would be a two year pilot scheme with the proposal to establish a community based cardiac rehabilitation facility for patients of Walsall and Sutton Coldfield areas at Walsall College.


The Walsall Cardiac Rehabilitation Trust was established with the objective to “ To rehabilitate patients with cardio-vascular disease by attempting to modify the factors which prevent them from returning to a full working and social life ”. Walsall Cardiac Rehabilitation Trust later decided to use the name Heart Care for the organisation.


A programme began at Walsall College, operating six hours a week following a number of fundraising events and donations from local Rotary Clubs. The official opening was in March 1982 by Kenneth Clarke who was Minster for Health at that time. 


Ed Doolan Broadcast his live radio show from Heart Care on two occasions.


“ Heart Beat Sutton ” was established based at Wyndley Leisure Centre.  This was an after care only unit for patients referred from either Good Hope Hospital or Walsall Heart Care’s Rehabilitation Programmes.


We moved Heart Care from Walsall College to our own premises in Hollyhedge Lane. Our official opening was by Bruce George MP.  In this year we also decided to run an after care programme as a commitment to our patients for their on-going care.


We changed the name from 'Heart Beat Sutton' to 'Heart Care Streetly' and moved to Streetly Community Centre, Foley Road East, Streetly, where it is still located today After Care Streetly.


So that we could grow our charity and provide a better service to more people we moved from Hollyhedge Lane to bigger premises in Portland Street in Walsall.  The official opening was by Professor Brian Pentecost.



Pulmonary Rehabilitation

After having established a cardiac rehabilitation programme and moved into our new premises it was only a matter of time before we looked at maximising the use of our facilities and expertise to provide programmes for other groups of patients.

Walsall Primary Care Trust were looking to provide additional support to patients suffering from COPD.  After an initial trial we were awarded a contract by the Walsall CCG to provide a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Rehabilitation - (COPD) programme. We now receive approximately 200 referrals per annum.


Weight Management

Following an initial presentation we were awarded a contract with Walsall Primary Care Trust to provide a weight management programme,  This was initially for our own patients and then we started receive referrals from all GP Practices for patients meeting the agreed criteria.  The contract then moved to Walsall Council Public Health but unfortunately funding ceased in 2017.  However, we are still able to provide a weight management programme to our own patients through various Trust donations and continuous fundraising.


Following a successful trial of an in-house counselling service the Trustees agreed that this would form part of our overall care package to patients from 2013. Our Counselling service is run by a qualified counsellor and is for patients who may be suffering from anxiety or depression following their illness.


We wanted to provide a different form of exercise to suit patients who required something different to our structured programmes and also for those suffering from long term conditions such as cancer.  Tai Chi is a low impact moderate-intensity exercise so is suitable for all our patients. It has been shown to improve flexibility, balance, control, muscular strength and fall risk reduction.  We chose certain members of our rehab team who undertook training to enable them to teach 'Tai Chi for Rehabilitation'.  This meant we could incorporate Tai-chi into cardiac, pulmonary, stroke & cancer rehabilitation.

Three classes are held every week both at our Tai-Chi Walsall and Tai-Chi Streetly and ran by qualified instructors from our rehab team.