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The gym where the whole community shares the gains

Published Thursday, 31 January 2019

GoodGym Coventry offers a chance to get fit and help people in the community. People in Coventry can combine getting fit with doing good deeds, thanks to the innovative new fitness phenomenon, GoodGym.


People in Coventry can combine getting fit with doing good deeds, thanks to the innovative new fitness phenomenon, GoodGym.

GoodGym doesn’t have treadmills, cross-trainers or weights. It doesn’t even have a physical building. Instead, members run around the community to stay fit: but stop off to help people on the way.

Runners can help by doing physical tasks, such as clearing gardens, or by carrying out social visits for elderly people who may be lonely or isolated.

The launch in Coventry has been made possible by the support of Coventry City Council and the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

Councillor Kamran Caan, portfolio holder for Public Health and Sport at Coventry City Council, said: “GoodGym is a fantastic initiative which combines physical activity and carrying out good deeds within the local community. By bringing it to Coventry, we hope it will encourage residents to be more physically active, help make Coventry a better place to live, and connect our communities.

“We are working with local organisations to identify communities which would benefit from GoodGym runners, either by way of carrying out community or home tasks, or offering one to one support to a person who may be socially isolated. GoodGym is a great way to get fit, meet new people and do some good for somebody else.”

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: “I have had first-hand experience of the great work done by GoodGym, and it’s a clever and meaningful idea to combine fitness activity with doing good deeds for the community.

“We’ve already worked to help set up GoodGym in Birmingham and are looking to launch GoodGym Solihull this year too. We’re also looking at other possible locations in the West Midlands as well’.

“A lot of people avoid exercising in the gym as they feel observed, or dislike the idea of going nowhere, running on a treadmill. GoodGym provides a really meaningful workout – not only do members benefit from the physical exercise of running, they add something back to the community and make a real difference to people’s lives at the same time.”

GoodGym will organise a weekly group run, with members stopping off to help community organisations on the way.

Members will also be paired with an isolated older person, and asked to commit to a weekly social visit to chat and carry out helpful tasks. The GoodGym befriending scheme has been proven to reduce loneliness and improve wellbeing.

The funding, from Coventry City Council (£20,000) and the WMCA (£15,000), will help pay for GoodGym’s website, a personal trainer to manage the group run, and criminal records checks for members taking part in the befriending scheme.  

To sign up to be the first to know about the launch here:

About GoodGym

GoodGym is a growing community of runners who combine exercise with helping local communities. Members stop off on their runs to support isolated older people and undertake physical tasks for community organisations. GoodGym is unique globally.

Growing rapidly:

GoodGym runners have carried out over 120,000 good deeds to help older people and community organisations throughout the UK. Once GoodGym Coventry launches, GoodGym will be operating in 48 areas nationwide.

The easiest way to volunteer:

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 then run back - all within 90 minutes.

  • All fitness levels are welcome and we never leave anyone behind. Group runs are led by qualified running coaches who help you with your running technique and support you to achieve your fitness goals.
  • GoodGym group runs take place in locations across the UK.
  • GoodGym also has walking groups for tasks less than 2km away.
  • GoodGym is free to participate in, and many runners donate to support it.

Being part of something:

GoodGym members run to help vulnerable, isolated and housebound older people with basic household and garden tasks they can’t do on their own.

By helping people to do basic things in their house such as clearing a garden, or moving furniture, GoodGym runners help make the difference between someone staying at home and having to go to hospital or a care home.

Supporting the most isolated and lonely:

There are a million people in the UK who are often lonely, and 2.4 million who have no one local to ask for help.

Many GoodGym runners are paired with isolated older people and we run to see them each week for a social visit. We call the older people we visit our ‘coaches’, because they help keep us motivated to run and they share their wisdom with us. It’s amazing what you can learn from your coach.

Visiting an older person as part of your weekly run can make a huge difference to their life. Over a million older people are always or often lonely, going for weeks without seeing friends or family. GoodGym is shown to improve levels of wellbeing and happiness, and to decrease loneliness and isolation.

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