St Michael’s Lodge

Debbie Fagan


Debbie began working in the musculoskeletal physiotherapy department at Wrightington Hospital in 1996 and graduated from Salford with a BSC (Hons) in Physiotherapy in 2006. Since graduating she has worked in various fields of physiotherapy in the NHS, including respiratory, neurology, ICU and paediatrics, before specialising in musculoskeletal conditions and hydrotherapy. Debbie joined The Ben Fund in 2012, initially based at Cheshire HQ, before moving to St Michael’s Lodge in 2017. She has a special interest in hydrotherapy and runs several regular exercise classes.

Laura Kennedy

Laura Kennedy


After qualifying in 2007, Laura relocated to Dublin to take up post in a private clinic as well as with a GAA and hurling team. On returning to the UK in 2010 Laura took up an NHS rotational physiotherapy post which enabled her to gain experience across the Musculoskeletal, Respiratory and Neurology areas of physiotherapy. Laura’s specialist interest lies in spinal injuries, whether it be complex spinal surgery or non-specific chronic lower back pain, she also has a keen interest in Musculoskeletal injuries in the Ante and post-natal patient group. In 2012 she accepted a Specialised Senior Musculoskeletal post within the NHS which allowed her to focus on treating Musculoskeletal injuries alongside working with various Rugby League clubs in her local area. Laura is passionate about Pilates and really enjoys teaching classes and providing 1.1 sessions. She has completed her Clinical Pilates, and Ante and Postnatal Pilates training with the Australian Physiotherapy and Pilates Institute (APPI) and is an accredited Instructor. Laura is trained in Hydrotherapy, Acupuncture and Shockwave therapy and utilises these skills in a combined approach to treating each individual patient.

Dean Matkin Physiotherapist

Dean Matkin


Dean graduated in 2013 from Staffordshire University with a first-class honours degree in Sports Therapy. He went on to gain clinical experience in several sport environments and taught for 2 years in his field at undergraduate level. Over his career he has developed a special interest in strength and conditioning to help manage and overcome both upper and lower limb MSK issues whilst focusing particularly in the recovery of acute post-operative lower limb conditions. He has experience in the management and care of chronic back pain and whilst working at the Ben Fund, he continues to teach several exercise classes including Pilates. Dean is always aiming to develop training and skills to ensure he provides each individual patient with the treatment that they need. He has also gained post-graduate training in areas such as acupuncture, shockwave therapy and hydrotherapy.

Chris Holmes

Chris Holmes


Kieran Charnock Physiotherapist

Kieran Charnock


Kieran qualified as a physiotherapist with a First-Class Honours degree from the University of Salford in 2015, following a long career as a professional footballer. Initially working as a physiotherapist in the NHS he gained a variety of experience and expertise before specializing in MSK conditions, developing a keen interest in both upper and lower limb injuries, spinal rehabilitation, and pain management. Kieran joined the team at St Michael's Lodge in late 2018, further developing his skills in strength and conditioning, and teaching Pilates and Yoga. He has completed extensive post graduate training across a plethora of disciplines and uses evidence-based practice to guide his decisions. He takes a holistic approach and tailors to the needs of each client to ensure best possible outcomes. Kieran is a member of the CSP and registered with HCPC.

Green Lane (Merseyside HQ) and Progress House (GMP)

Patrick Hoyte


Patrick qualified as a physiotherapist in 2010 from the University of Salford. Prior to this, he served a full military career as a paramedic with the Parachute Regiments, engaging in active service around the world in conflicts from 1984 through to 2006. This medical experience provided a good grounding for Patrick, to go forward into his new career as a physiotherapist. As a qualified physiotherapist, He worked within rugby league between 2010 to 2017, gaining lots of experience in the management of musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions and their rehabilitation. Patrick started working for The Ben Fund in 2011 and has remained doing so, he finds it a rewarding environment to work in and an excellent facility for the policing community. Patrick has a keen interest in MSK management and rehabilitation, biomechanics / kinesiology, and neurological rehabilitation.

Winsford (Cheshire HQ)

Ben Croad

Ben Croad


Cumbria HQ

Nina Walkingshaw Physiotherapist

Nina Walkingshaw


Nina qualified in 2000 from the University of Manchester. After completing NHS rotations, she worked for BAE Systems in a proactive Occupational Health role building the Landing Platform Docks and Astute Class submarines in Barrow-in-Furness. This was the start of Nina's great love of Occupational Health which endures to this day. She completed her PgDip in Applied Ergonomics and spent several happy years in a hard hat and a boiler suit, problem solving MSK issues on the build. During this time Nina also completed her APPI Pilates training and ran classes on the shop floor to manage back and arm pain among Welders and Caulkers, and desk Pilates for the office based Designers. From the Shipyard Nina moved to Cumbria Police initially as the Force Occupational Health Physio and then as a split between OHU and the NWPBF. She has also run clinics and projects for Tata Steel the Department of Work and Pensions, BrainChild Developmental Programme and James Croppers Papermill. For the past eighteen months she has also worked in a GP Practice as a First Contact Practitioner increasing access to rapid assessment and treatment for the general population. She is currently working towards BABCP accreditation as a Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist.
Outside of work Nina feels fortunate to live close to the sea and mountains and spends as much time as possible running and surfing. She has three messy daughters, one tidy son, two dogs and a very tolerant chap.


Below are some of the common conditions the service can assist with but not limited to.

    • Neck and Back Pain
      • Road traffic collision / trauma
      • Postural / ergonomics
      • Chronic
      • Post-operative
      • Sciatica
    • Upper Limb
      • Frozen shoulder
      • Shoulder impingement
      • Tennis elbow
      • Golfers elbow
    • Lower Limb
      • Runners knee
      • Plantar fasciitis
      • Achilles tendinopathy
      • Knee osteoarthritis
    • Prehabilitation and Postoperative Care
    • Pre / Post-natal Care
    • Sport Related Injuries


Following a comprehensive assessment an individualised treatment program will be devised to include a strong emphasis on self-management and home exercise program in addition with some of the possible treatments below:

Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy 

(ESWT) is a non-invasive procedure for the treatment of acute and chronic pain of the musculoskeletal system.  The shockwaves used in ESWT develop in the tissue at the point in the tissue where the pain originates from. They cause an improvement in local blood circulation and metabolism.

Conditions such as tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinopathy and calcifications of the shoulder often become chronic conditions. The use of ESWT to safely treat these conditions is supported by a wealth of clinical experience and scientific evidence. In short the use of ESWT in the treatment of chronic conditions is suggested to jump start the healing process and reintroduce the acute phase of healing.


Hydrotherapy allows treatment to be provided in a warm environment which improves soft tissue elasticity while the buoyancy of the water reduces the effects of gravity. This eases the stress on joints and can considerably accelerate rehabilitation times.

Other main benefits of hydrotherapy include:

  • Provides relief from pain, swelling and stiffness
  • Muscle strengthening, maintenance and restoration
  • Accelerated rehab times
  • Improved circulation
  • promotion of relaxation
  • Cardiovascular fitness

Exercise Prescription / Strength and Conditioning Programs

A fundamental part of pain management and recovery is to incorporate an exercise prescribed program. Our team of physiotherapists are experienced at promoting these programs to a wide range of individuals depending on their needs. We focus on movement quality to improve strength and fitness, and in doing so improve active daily living and wellbeing. A key part of strength and conditioning training is fully assessing an individual’s movement patterns to develop techniques and prevent injuries. Strength and lean muscle mass reduces the risk of insulin resistance, a group of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and other factors which can lead to ill health. Strength training doesn’t just increase the strength of our muscles but also our bone health. Strength and conditioning benefits so many areas of not just sport, but everyday life. Incorporating these principles into a structured program can really make a difference in how we perform, move and live.


Acupuncture is used by our physiotherapists to assist in the management of pain and inflammation by stimulating the body’s own healing chemicals in order to aid recovery and enhance rehabilitation.

The practice of acupuncture can affect pain modulation via the stimulation of the brain and spinal cord to produce natural pain relieving chemicals, such as endorphins; melatonin and serotonin to promote wellbeing. These assist the body’s healing process and offer pain relief as a precursor for other manual or exercise therapies.

Common MSK conditions that may benefit from acupuncture include:

  • Arthritis
  • Back pain
  • Muscle cramps
  • Muscle pain/weakness
  • Neck pain
  • Sciatica/nerve root pain

Orthotic/Insole Prescription

  • Foot and ankle conditions along with other lower limb issues may benefit from orthotics to relieve pain and restore function.

Lumbar and Cervical traction

At St Michael’s Lodge, patients often benefit from the use of our Lumbar and Cervical traction unit. This is the process of applying a stretching force to the vertebrae through pulleys to distract individual joints of the spine. This can help ease back pain and symptoms of nerve pain caused by such conditions as sciatica.

One-to-One Pilates 

  • For individuals who are new to exercise, or who have specific physical limitations/requirements, we provide 1:1 Pilates classes to ensure the upmost care and attention.


Based at St Michaels Lodge in the Ribble Valley, patients have access to several weekly exercise classes in order to improve health and wellbeing. Classes include:

Ai Chi

  • A water-based exercise class designed to improve and encourage range of movement, core stability, circulation, reduce swelling and promote relaxation.

Stretch Class

  • A low impact, low intensity workout to increase range of motion and flexibility. Through a series of stretching exercises, participants will develop breathing techniques, enhance strength, coordination, and cardiovascular health, as well as a sense of physical confidence and overall well-being.

Aqua-Aerobics Class 

  • Water aerobics is the performance of exercise to improve cardiovascular fitness which can also enhance strength and flexibility whilst reducing joint impact in the water.

Pilates (APPI accredited)

  • A series of exercises based around core-stability and neuromuscular control, to help relieve and manage pain, improve health and improve quality of active daily living.

Tai Chi

  • Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art where sequences of very slow and controlled movements are performed.
  • The benefit of such gentle physical exercises and stretches aim to enhance physical and mental health, as well as to improve posture, balance, flexibility, and strength. In addition, tai chi is said to boost mood, alleviate pain, strengthen the immune system, and improve heart health.