GoodGym is a charity that combines helping in the community with getting fit. The 'Good' bit is that we volunteer with local charities and community projects and help isolated older people. The things we help with tend to be practical tasks like weeding and planting, sorting donations and painting. It might not be the main reason for doing some of our tasks, but what we do to help out local communities and improve physical and mental health often has a positive impact on the environment or helps in adapting to our changing climate.
The 'Gym' bit is that we get our fitness fix by running, walking or cycling to volunteering sessions (although this isn't a requirement!). We often call our participants 'runners' because GoodGym was centred around running when it launched years ago in Tower Hamlets, but we have lots of members who don't run. We also organise running/walking challenges and fitness sessions, and the community is very friendly and supportive in helping others to reach their fitness goals.
We shift earth instead of weights and use our exercise to visit older people instead of running still on treadmills! Getting fitter by helping to make the place where we live healthier and better connected is a really powerful combination, because there’s something in it for everyone.
Activities are all run on a drop-in basis – in the evenings, daytimes and at weekends – so people can fit it into their busy lives. Anybody can join, no matter their fitness level. This makes it more appealing to different people within the community and easier for them to make a commitment that becomes a good routine.
Increasing participation on GoodGym group sessions
Creating a supportive community of members
Positive feedback from the local organisations and people we help