A gym with a difference

Emily Prescott runs round Brixton most Tuesdays – but it’s not just for physical exercise

GoodGym runners

Digging into a slice of cake, while I’m covered in paint or mud and feeling pretty pleased with myself – this is how I usually finish my Tuesday run around Brixton.

Every Tuesday at 6:45 pm I meet my running group in Papa’s Park before embarking on some random and (hopefully) helpful adventure.

The group is always diverse in terms of age and ability and someone always runs at the back to ensure no one is left behind.

This club is “Good Gym”, a not-for-profit organisation that combines getting fit with doing good for the community. It’s based all over the UK but the Lambeth group meets in Brixton and is particularly popular.

As a Brixton newcomer, Good Gym helped me find a sense of community and navigate … without getting lost!

From spreading wood chip in Loughborough Farm to clearing leaves from Brixton Youth Club and painting Brixton Community base, it’s been brilliant to support these community hubs.

If you would prefer to volunteer without a big group, you can choose to go for a “mission” as a pair. You will be sent on one-off jobs such as moving a bed for an older person so they can return home from the hospital.

GoodGym-er Victoria
GoodGym-er Victoria

You can also be paired with an isolated older person who becomes your “running coach” and encourages you to run regularly.

Coach runs can be fitted around your schedule and don’t need to take up more than 20 minutes of your time each week.

Regular GG’er Victoria has been paired with a 96-year old Lambeth resident. She told me: “My coach said she feels she has made a genuine friend … she’s always excited to hear about my weekend parties, but I have to spice up the stories to keep her interested!”

If want to get involved visit www.goodgym.org or call 020 3432 3920.