Council backs GoodGym’s good work tackling loneliness
7 October 2019
A group of runners, who combine their regular exercise with a programme of community action, have received a £24,000 grant and a two-year contract from Cheshire East Council to continue their work.
Members of GoodGym in Crewe meet each week to go for a run. But they are putting their workout to a community purpose by meeting with residents living alone or carrying out community activities, such as allotment clearing and DIY work in schools and community centres.
GoodGym is a national not-for-profit organisation serving communities in more than 47 cities and boroughs. It has a dual purpose – to help local communities, while improving personal health and wellbeing.
The runners and joggers, who drop in for a regular chat with an older person living alone, say the befriending experience vastly improves their own feeling of wellbeing and gives them a sense of worth.
By supporting the group in Crewe, Cheshire East Council is promoting one of its own core outcomes – to help people live well and for longer.
Councillor Jill Rhodes, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for public health, helped to launch the first meeting when more than 20 members ran to Ruskin School, where they set about clearing the grounds of litter.
Councillor Rhodes said: “We are really excited to welcome this initiative. GoodGym provides the opportunity for our residents to improve their own wellbeing and activity levels, while also volunteering to address social isolation and disadvantage in our community.
“This fits in perfectly with the work we are implementing through the Connected Communities strategy, which puts our residents at the heart of design and implementation of services to develop strong and supportive communities.”
Crewe Town Council is also involved in supporting the initiative and it’s hoped that other towns in the borough may see similar GoodGym groups up and running soon.
Nicola Marshall, trainer/coordinator for GoodGym Crewe, said: “You don’t have to be a fit, strong runner to take part. It’s about being active at a modest level, while at the same time making a valued contribution to the community. We endeavour to ensure most tasks are walkable and people can run or walk at their own pace so they don’t have to feel under pressure to compete.
“We will be working to support the Crewe Food Bank, lending help at Wishing Well and the YMCA, plus a number of clear-ups in our local schools and parks. We will also develop our social isolation befriending programme through the Crewe Wide Neighbourhood Partnership.”
The Crewe GoodGym meets each Wednesday at 6.30pm at Crewe Town Council’s office in Forge Street.
Pictured are Councillor Jill Rhodes, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for public health, with Councillor Barry Burkhill, Mayor of Cheshire East (centre) and Councillor Ben Minshall, Mayor of Crewe with members of Crewe GoodGym.