GoodGym is a new model of volunteering, based in a community of runners who get fit alongside doing a variety of missions in the local area.
This community thinks that going to the gym is a waste of energy. Instead, they believe that energy should be used to look after local people in need – which is why their motto is “get fit by doing good”.
This project first started in the east of London in 2008, and it became a non-profit company one year later.
Last year, GoodGym Islington was launched – members meet every Monday at 18.45 by Highbury Pool.
Steph Turner is a Defending Coordinator – she is responsible for looking after Coach Runs in Islington. “I pair up runners with isolated older people,” she said. The Coach Runs are older people who keep runners motivated while they bring them something they need, such as a newspaper or hot drink, and chat with them.
Islington members are sent on missions. For example running to older people and helping them with minor emergencies or even changing light bulbs for someone who is not able to do it.
There is also the Group Runs – they run and clear community gardens, tidy up community centres and move rubble all over the borough.
GoodGym is expanding; neighbouring boroughs such as Hackney, Camden and Haringey also make up part of this community. “We operate in a lot of the London boroughs and we are trying to expand all over the country,” said Turner.
If you would like to make part of your local GoodGym visit their website for more information.