GoodGym volunteers are supporting local communities and keeping fit by combining running with helping local community projects, making social visits to isolated older people, and doing odd-jobs for people who struggle to do them alone.
GoodGym are a community of runners who organise group runs, where participants run in a group to work on community projects such as planting trees for the local park, shifting earth for a community gardening project, and sorting cans for the food bank. Once the task is completed, the group then run back to their start line, all within 90 minutes.
Mission runs are to help out older people with one-off practical tasks that they are no longer able to do on their own. And coach runs involve running regularly to visit older people.
GoodGym say: “We [GoodGym] think that gyms are a waste of energy. There are many neglected tasks and people in our communities that need that energy. We want to bring these things together.
“In gyms all over the country people all over Britain work away furiously; peddling, pushing, lifting, running and achieving no external benefits. GoodGym aims to harness this energy by making it easier for people to channel this energy towards social good. We want to rival the success of gyms, getting people all over the world off treadmills and into their communities.”
Research by UK volunteering organisation TimeBank has shown the difficulty of recruiting volunteers, and highlights the importance of developing volunteer-centric roles for volunteering.
GoodGym is a “fine grain” approach to volunteering, where participation is based on frequent low impact activities that are integrated usefully into people’s lives.
Since starting up in 2010, GoodGym have completed 67,200 “good deeds”.
GoodGym operates across the UK. If you want to get involved, visit GoodGym.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. Follow Rosa on Twitter.