Swindon's newest gym hits the treadmill running to help the homeless

By Jamie Hill - 28 January 2020

  • Darren Beasley and Emmaline Richards with Michael Keenan

    Darren Beasley and Emmaline Richards with Michael Keenan

A brand new 24 hour gym opened its doors last month and immediately set about raising money for Swindon’s homeless community.

  • Darren Beasley and Emmaline Richards

    Darren Beasley and Emmaline Richards

The fully equipped fitness centre, Shedded Fitness, is located in Royal Wootton Bassett’s Whitehill Industrial Estate. Owners Emmaline Richards and Darren Beasley generously raised funds through a raffle on their grand opening day to support Threshold Housing Link, Swindon’s longest running homeless charity.

Emmaline explained that it wasn’t hard to find which homeless charity to choose to support, even though many are deserving: “We chose ‘Threshold Housing Link – who support an individual’s chance to change because homelessness is becoming more and more common on our streets and it really is heart-breaking to walk around your hometown and see tents in fields and even worse, people sleeping in doorways with no food or water or suitable clothing for the cold winter weather conditions."

“The fact that we were opening our gym in winter played a massive part in our choice of charity. We organised a raffle and were struck by the generosity of the local community with donations of bottles of wine, a £100 luxury food hamper, as well as vouchers for beauty treatments, hairdressing, tattoos, vehicle maintenance and much more”. Emmaline was delighted with the response, enthusing: “The day was a huge success with around 150 to 200 people in attendance. The winners were drawn on a live Facebook stream and with the help of our local community and everyone who purchased a ticket we raised a fantastic amount of £287.00 to help Threshold to help the homeless”.

Darren shared his personal story and the reason he set about establishing the gym: “In 2017 I broke my hip in a roller hockey accident. I was into fitness anyway, but the accident motivated me to push myself harder. Within three weeks I was back in the gym and working harder than ever. My recovery should have taken around a year but with my own dedication and with the support of my family I recovered in just a few short months. It was because of my accident and my rehabilitation that I decided I wanted to help other people with physical and mental health issues, so I set out to open my own 24-hour gym”.

Michael Keenan, Chief Development Officer for Threshold, said of the donation: “What a fantastic gesture of Darren and Emmaline to dedicate their grand opening day to aid Swindon’s homeless. We are extremely grateful to them, along with their staff and customers”. He went on to say: “having had the chance to visit Shedded Fitness’s wonderful facility, I can see for myself just what an asset this 24 hour gym will be to the local community. I would like to wish them all the best for the future, on behalf of everyone at Threshold and the homeless who all benefit from the generous donations of locals and business in the region”.

Shedded Fitness can be found at - Unit 47 Whitehill Industrial Estate Royal Wootton Bassett Swindon, Wiltshire, SN4 7DB United Kingdom sheddedfitness@outlook.com

Threshold Housing Link is a locally based independent charity dedicated to helping those on the streets and those suffering social exclusion as a consequence. Their Head Office is on the 2nd Floor, 1 John Street, SN1 1RT and can be contacted on 01793 524661 or 07896 833070 (mobile). www.thl.org.uk is Threshold’s website.

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