A fantastic initiative is heading towards Chichester that can transform both the mental and physical health of local residents, and it needs your support. The inspiring organisation called GoodGym (it’s not what you think – not a treadmill in sight!) combines taking exercise with doing good work in the community, bringing people together, improving fitness and helping people feel good inside and out.
The GoodGym is already launched in over 50 regions of the UK and will launch in Chichester as soon as enough people in the area register their interest. We spoke to the manager of the Portsmouth GoodGym, which began a year ago in May 2018, Katie Carew-Robinson, to find out how it works, and what makes it such a successful, and worthwhile programme.
“In one year the runners of Portsmouth have already completed almost 1,000 good deeds within our communities,” Comments Katie “Through a combination of the weekly run, during which we visit several sites that require our support, and individual runners who are paired with isolated, older members of the community, we are able to provide support in many different ways.”
“Our Wednesday groups attract 15-20 runners each week and we are then able to undertake projects for organisations we support including 4 local schools, Portsmouth Foodbank, Hilsea Lido, Portsmouth Disability Forums, local environmental groups, Southsea Beachwatch, Portsmouth Deaf Centre and Naomi House charity shop. We have also run 4 missions to the homes of isolated older people to help them out with gardening or heavy lifting tasks that they can no longer do. We are hoping for some more mission referrals now the Spring is here and gardens will start to get overgrown!”
Not only does this significantly improve fitness levels of those signed up to the group, but the impact felt by the individuals and organisations who are helped is clear for all to see. One lady, who is blind and was supported by the Portsmouth GoodGym to retrieve items from her loft and help cut back ivy in her garden said,
“They were absolutely magic. They came in with their hands and hearts open and said ‘what can we do to help?’. They cut back the ivy and offered to pull up weeds. I was really touched. They didn’t have to do that, I was really delighted with them.”
The GoodGym project was conceived of back in 2008 and has been operating since 2009. The concept is designed to encourage greater fitness but addresses what the founder saw as a waste of human energy and opportunity when visiting a more traditional gym. If you would like to find out more, or importantly if you would like to show your interest for becoming part of a Chichester GoodGym, then please go to https://www.goodgym.org/proposals/chichester. CCDT are proudly supporting its introduction and would be delighted to work with the organisers to ensure the total success of the project on its arrival in the city. Many thanks to Katie and her team for all the information provided. For more information on the Portsmouth GoodGym please go to www.goodgym.org/areas/portsmouth.