Running community GoodGym, who combine getting fit with supporting older people and community projects, will launch in Swindon this August.
GoodGym Swindon is being launched in partnership with Swindon Borough Council and Nationwide and will combine weekly group runs that are free and open to all abilities, with a physical task to help local community organisations.
GoodGym Swindonwill be the 46th GoodGym area to launch in the UK, with the first ever group run session taking place Tuesday 7 August.
GoodGym Swindon will be led by the Council Active Lives Officer Emma. Each week Emma and a team of qualified volunteers will be leading a group of runners on a short run before stopping off to support a community organisation with a physical task like planting trees, shifting earth, or clearing derelict land.
The first run will be about 4km in total, stopping at ‘Wheels 4 All’ along the way to help with some basic cycle maintenance of its fleet of adapted bikes at the County Ground Athletics Track. ‘Wheels 4 All’ helps children and adults with a disability get active and more confident with riding bikes.
In addition to the weekly group run, GoodGym runners can also choose to 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.
Swindon Borough Council has committed public health funding and officer support to the project for two years, while Nationwide Building Society awarded GoodGym a grant through its Social Investment Programme to help the project get started in Swindon, further to an application submitted by a Nationwide employee.
Councillor Brian Ford, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults, said: “We are really proud to be supporting GoodGym in partnership with Nationwide. It is a great initiative that can really benefit both individuals and worthy causes within Swindon.
“I would like to thank all the volunteers who have stepped forward to support the initiative so far and our hope is the GoodGym becomes self-sustaining within the borough over the next two years.”
Ivo Gormley, founder of GoodGym, said:“GoodGym is a really easy way to integrate doing something for your community into your exercise. If you’re already running then it can only take 15 mins to change your route and drop in to visit an isolated older person. If you’ve never really considered running before, or lack the motivation, then the community that GoodGym provides and the different reasons to run can be a really easy route in.”
Stephen Uden, Director of Social Investment at Nationwide Building Society, said: “It’s a pleasure to support GoodGym Swindon, who will provide a valuable service for those who need it most in Swindon. Helping local communities goes to the heart of what it means to be a building society for Nationwide. We wish GoodGym Swindon every success."
Swindon residents can sign up to run with GoodGym at: www.goodgym.org/swindon