If you love keeping fit and helping others, the perfect group for you is set to arrive in Brighton soon. Award-winning fitness collective GoodGym gets gym bunnies to swap cross trainers for workouts which are also acts of kindness in the community.
Members hit the streets for weekly runs on routes which include volunteering stops. These could involve any good deed, from simply keeping up with an elderly neighbour who lives alone, to helping at a homeless shelter or renovating a playground.
The idea for GoodGym was turned into a reality in 2009 by social entrepreneur Ivo Gormley, and groups now run all over the country. There are currently more than a dozen active groups in London boroughs, as well as in Sheffield, Worthing, York, and Birmingham to name a few.
Ivo said: “I’m very excited at the possibility of setting up GoodGym in Brighton.
“There’s a great energy about all the people who have got involved so far and I feel we’ll achieve something great.”
He added: “Sadly Brighton is affected by loneliness and isolation as much as any other area.
“Many thousands of elderly people are left without visits from friends or loved ones for weeks on end.
“GoodGym can be an important contribution to making sure no one’s left alone.”
The Brighton branch was first proposed in 2014, and since then, hundreds of people have shown an interest in coaching and running for the cause. A GoodGym branch needs at least 5 founders and 100 runners; 15 founders and more than 500 runners have already registered in town.
The campaign for a Brighton GoodGym branch is headed by Alexandra Heminsley, Brighton Half Marathon runner and author of best-selling memoir Running Like A Girl. She says GoodGym’s structure lets fitness lovers overcome two of the most common issues with gyms – staying motivated and finding like-minded people to socialise with.
Now the Brighton GoodGym group has more than enough founder members and runners, it just needs to secure £25,000 of startup funding from the council or local businesses.
If you’re interested in joining GoodGym Brighton, you can read about their proposal and register as a member at www.goodgym.org/proposals/brighton.
A Twitter account for the soon-to-be-born Brighton group was also set up recently.