Council teams up with GoodGym to help people keep fit and do good

Published: Tuesday 26th July 16

Wandsworth Council’s public health team is helping to fund a scheme that will help people keep fit and play a positive part in their community at the same time.

It is teaming up with GoodGym to launch a branch in the borough. GoodGym already operates in other parts of London and combines keeping fit with helping community groups and providing support to isolated people.

The idea is that instead of going nowhere on a treadmill or lifting weights that don’t need lifting, GoodGym members run to do good and help others. The weekly runs are free and open to all abilities, combining a short run with a physical task on behalf of a community group. Tasks by other groups have included packing clothes parcels for the homeless, creating a community gardening, weeding an allotment and shovelling compost at a city farm (see more examples).   

runner John and coach Flo

The first run will be at the launch event on August 1. Runners will run 5k from the Battersea Arts Centre to the Katherine Low Settlement, an organisation that tackles poverty and supports stronger communities.

If they wish members of GoodGym can also be paired with an isolated older person. The runner makes a commitment to visit them each week and in return the elderly person, known as their ‘coach’, spurs them on to keep running.

Coach Barry said: “The introduction of a young fit and healthy person into my life has had a remarkably beneficial effect on my own self esteem and confidence. A regular change of views, coupled with my runner's progress give me an interest I was lacking”

The new Wandsworth GoodGym is funded by the Help for Carers Development Grant with support from the council’s public health department, and local physical activity network Active Wandsworth. Helping residents to be physically active and supporting the voluntary and community sector are council priorities.

It will be led by running coach Ana Hancock who has been working with local organisations and individuals to get GoodGym Wandsworth up and running:

She said: “Wandsworth is a brilliant borough with so much to offer, and I'm really excited about launching GoodGym here so we can start contributing to our communities whilst getting fitter. We're off to a cracking start with some fantastic committed members and I can't wait to see it grow!”

Wandsworth Council’s director of public health, Houda Al-Sharifi said: “Wandsworth Council is delighted to be supporting this exciting and innovative new scheme. It will help to keep our residents fit and healthy, get them out and about and provide a service to the community.  I would urge anyone who wants to get a bit of exercise, meet new people and do some good to sign up.”

GoodGym will meet every Monday evening at Battersea Arts Centre and is open to everyone – whatever their fitness level.

For more information on the first run and to get involved, visit: https://www.goodgym.org/happenings/first-ever-run-in-wonderful-wandsworth

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