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GoodGym, good win

Published: 04 March 2020

An initiative that advocates volunteering alongside getting fit has won a top award.

GoodGym Slough members combine physical activity and volunteering from litter picking to feeding the homeless in the borough.

Supported by Slough Public Health, the scheme won the Physical Activity for Health award at the 8th Get Berkshire Active awards held at the Hilton Hotel, Reading, last Friday.

The programme has been running for 18 months and has created a community of runners that combine getting fit with doing good. Members stop off on their runs to do physical tasks for community organisations and to support isolated older people with one-off tasks they cannot do on their own.

GoodGym has already completed over 1,300 good deeds which also includes 29 coach runs to relieve the burden of loneliness of older isolated adults, and seven mission runs to help older adults with one off tasks.

The judges were impressed with the initiative stating: “Since Good Gym Slough began in 2018, 1,300 deeds have been carried out by 109 participants aged 18-85 from all backgrounds. These supported 20 groups and other socially isolated older people. Over 6,000km were covered on runs or walks and nearly 1,000 hours have been spent on community tasks such as gardening, litter picking, leaflet dropping, and painting.”

Runners meet weekly at Salt Hill Activity Centre, in Salt Hill Park, on Mondays at 6.30pm. They can store personal items in the lockers at Salt Hill Activity Centre before heading off on their run to volunteer.

Cllr Natasa Pantelic, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “I am extremely proud that our GoodGym running community, which combines exercise with good deeds for the community has won the “Physical Activity for Health” ward at the Get Berkshire Active annual awards.
“GoodGym Slough is only 18 months old and award winning already. Thank you to all the runners that volunteer their time each week to help others.”

GoodGym is always looking for new members who can benefit from increasing their physical activity as well as helping their own community and it is free to join.

The benefits include -
• Joining a running group and run once a week whilst volunteering as part of your running group session.
• Joining a friend, colleague, or family member to run to an isolated older adult to help them with a one off task.
• Running on your own to an isolated older adult on a regular or semi-regular basis to befriend them and help remove the burden of loneliness.

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