Getting fit and making a difference

Natasha Burberry puts the spotlight on how Goodgym offers community-centred support after recording a podcast with Alex Kenmure from Goodgym. 

GoodGym deserves to be on the TLAP directory of innovations in community-centred support and I tell you why that is. I caught up with Alex Kenmure from GoodGym to record a short TLAP podcast about getting fit and making a difference to people’s lives and communities. Alex is involved in the Social Care Innovation Network run by TLAP, SCIE and SharedLives Plus. 

Like many of our innovators, Alex shows great leadership and values. He has worked in the public and third sector for years and understands the value of human connections and what it can bring to communities. In our podcast, we discussed how relationships bring a sense of belonging, give a sense of identity and offer therapeutic support. We also talked about the challenges and benefits of being a ‘different’ kind of provider and what we can learn from each other about innovation and building resilience. 

What does GoodGym offer to communities?

GoodGym operates in 58 locations and has over 1,000 people getting involved every week. GoodGym members combine regular exercise with helping people in their communities. It’s an approach which adds real value to our society. GoodGym forges relationships with local charities, drops in on older members of the community to help with gardening projects or just have a general chat and cup of tea, and even visits people in care homes. A win, win situation; you work out but you give back at the same time and feel elated! But GoodGym is a two-way venture. Those people supported can become coaches to the runners, sharing their wisdom and providing motivation. It’s all about making connections and developing relationships   

Everything that Alex and GoodGym members do, has to have meaning, value and purpose for somebody else.  Alex says “It’s not just about rocking up at a gym and doing a workout”. To him that’s boring and his exercise routine didn’t feel as if it was providing a true sense of purpose; the gym membership fee was wasted.  For GoodGym members, it is about giving back to the community and ensuring people in communities feel connected and well supported. 

Why does that matter to people?

GoodGym really does embody the TLAP Making It Real I Statements, particularly the section in relation to active and supportive communities. What does that mean for people in relation to what GoodGym can offer?

  • I have people who support me, such as family, friends and people in my community.
  • I feel welcome and safe in my local community and can join in community life and activities that are important to me.
  • I have opportunities to learn, volunteer and work and can do things that match my interests, skills and abilities.

What does GoodGym offer to its own members?

Not only does it offer support to people and communities, it also offers practical support to its own members.  GoodGym has become a close community of people working together, sharing the same vision and values. It offers members the opportunity to put their hand to everything but also feel well supported and safe in doing so. It doesn’t matter what the weather is, GoodGym is always there to support. 

Find out more about GoodGym on TLAP's directory   

Read about the Social Care Innovation Network   

See Alex on TedX and read Goodgym blogs


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