A running club with a difference is launching in Leicester this month, which not only helps people get fit but helps them do good in their communities.
GoodGym members stop off on their runs to do physical tasks for community organisations and to support isolated older people with one-off tasks they cannot do on their own. The first run is on Tuesday August 15 with runners meeting at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU)’s Queen Elizabeth II Leisure Centre. The run leaves at 6.15pm and it is free to take part – sign up HERE.
The first project to benefit is helping St Peter’s Church in Hinckley Road with a project to help create a new community garden in the church grounds.
Leicester is the latest city to join the GoodGym project, which has already operates in more than 30 areas across the UK including London, Bristol and Birmingham. The scheme is being backed by Leicestershire & Rutland Sport, Leicester City Council and De Montfort University Leicester (DMU)’s #DMUlocal programme which supports communituy projects across the city.
GoodGym Leicester will be led by trainer Dave Snutch. He said: “The running scene in Leicester has never been stronger, I have already received substantial support and expressions of interest in the GoodGym initiative. It’s particularly great to see so many beginners keen to get involved. I am delighted to have been appointed as the Leicester trainer and I am really excited by the prospect of it taking off.”
In addition to the weekly group run organised by Dave, GoodGym runners will also be paired with an isolated older person and commit to a weekly social visit and/or help with one-off household tasks. The GoodGym befriending scheme has been proven to reduce loneliness and improve wellbeing.
Deputy city mayor Councilllor Rory Palmer, who leads on adult social care and public health in Leicester, has welcomed the scheme. He said: “We know that loneliness and social isolation are significant issues in the city and these are priorities for the city’s next Health and Wellbeing Strategy. GoodGym is not only great for people’s health and mental wellbeing, but it has huge potential to help get people together and develop better social networks, helping to bridge the gap between young people and older people.”
Assistant city mayor for culture, leisure and sport Councillor Piara Singh Clair added: “We want to help our residents get fit and enjoy healthy and active lives. GoodGym supports this aim, while also encouraging people to give something back to their communities by lending a helping hand to someone in need.”
Mark Charlton, Head of Public Engagement at DMU, said: “As a runner myself I know how hard it can be to motivate yourself sometimes, but knowing you would be helping community projects or providing a friendly face for an elderly person would be the perfect inspiration. That’s what makes GoodGym such a terrific idea.
“As a university committed to helping the community, we’re only too pleased to support GoodGym and I’m sure plenty of our students and staff will soon be signing up to join.”
GoodGym runners run in groups to local organisations that need our help completing tasks like shovelling earth for community gardens, planting trees or clearing derelict land, and run back all within 90 minutes.