GoodGym’s Good Work Could Be Coming To Leeds
Already a huge success in the South, Goodgym offers people the chance to get fit whilst helping others.
Since its launch in 2008 Goodgym has been helping communities in London, Bristol and many more places in a variety of different ways.
Ivo Gormley, 33, founder of GoodGym thought up the unique volunteer programme after becoming fed up with the concept of Gyms.
“Frustration with the idea of Gyms started it all off, I think it’s a waste of energy locking yourself in a room lifting weights that don’t need to be lifted and running nowhere on treadmills.”
GoodGym differs from other community organisations as both parties always benefit from the volunteering.
“Combining volunteering with exercise and getting fit is something people don’t usually do. A lot of people want to volunteer but don’t know how and we are just making it easier for people to do that and enabling them to connect the two whilst running.”
GoodGym’s success in the South has resulted in Leeds City Council working closely with GoodGym in a hope that it can be implemented in Leeds.
Laura Fitzgerald, NGB Project Lead at Leeds City Council has assisted in writing GoodGym’s funding bids said:
“There is huge potential to drive both volunteering and running through the programme which could work really well at engaging those are not normally involved in sport or physical activity.”
GoodGym are currently working towards identifying funding to secure an opportunity for developing the programme in Leeds.
5 Goodgym founding members, in addition to Leeds City Council, are pushing through the bids to bring GoodGym to Leeds. Already over 160 people have signed up to volunteer when it finally reaches the city.
A key issue GoodGym are trying to combat is the loneliness and isolation of the elderly. 1 million over 65’s are always or often lonely and GoodGym are constantly looking for people to join their team to help prevent this problem.
Becky Greenwood, 28, an Art Psychotherapist and long serving volunteer at GoodGym said:
“I moved from the North down to London 4 years ago. Some days in a crowded fast-paced city like London where people rarely speak to strangers I can find myself losing faith in peoples’ kindness, but then when I go to a GoodGym group run, through the volunteers I run with and the people we meet at the community organisations we run to, it comes back.”
Becky has a ‘coach’ she visits every week through GoodGym, her coach is an older more isolated member of her local community.
“I think the pairing of runners and older people within their community is important in big cities. It can make such a difference to both individual’s lives but also does a little bit to reduce the generational gap which can often cause a lot of issues and hostility.”
GoodGym help the people within a community in the hope that the community as a whole will then benefit from this.
“You often need to search a bit harder to find a sense of community in big cities and GoodGym is a great help in doing this.”
Volunteering doesn’t require you to be a great runner, GoodGym caters for people of all abilities. Founder Ivo hopes that in the future the organisation will have hundreds of thousands of regular volunteers.
In the future Ivo also hopes that every city in the UK will have GoodGym volunteers helping their community. Leeds is one of the main cities pushing to get started in the near future and the cities huge running scene will only help in doing so.
GoodGym are constantly looking for more people to sign up for volunteering. To get involved or for more information about GoodGym visit their website: http://runleeds.co.uk/r/goodgym/