There are aspiring athletes here in Cardiff simultaneously working out and working hard to improve the local community. How do they kill two birds with one stone?
GoodGym is a jogging club made up of volunteers who run and conduct good deeds every week – combining getting fit with doing good.
The club stop off on their runs to do physical tasks for community organisations and to support older people with social visits and one-off tasks that they cannot do on their own.
They also support charities, schools as well as community initiatives and more.
GoodGym was first set up in September 2009 as a not-for-profit company out of a frustration with normal gyms being a waste of energy and human potential.
From then on until 2012, they had been collaborating with local authorities and organisations to expand their networks and areas. In 2003, the club set their foot in Camden and Bristol in cooperation with professional trainers and running coaches.
From 2014 onwards, they have mainly been relying on donations from their own members, plus commissions from local authorities and the NHS. They have now expanded to 47 areas across the country, tackling issues such as isolation and loneliness all while getting fit.
Ben Annear, who sets up and leads the group run, recalls a highlight of their activities: “One memorable task runners helped out with was when 30 GoodGym volunteers painted the outside wall of Nightingale House white so that children residing at there could decorate it with flowers. Nightingale House is our 26-room hostel that provides a temporary and welcoming home for homeless families in need of support. GoodGym runners also run to help older isolated people in the community”.
GoodGym Cardiff was launched on 23rd May 2017, and they are now in the mission of rivalling the success of normal gyms by getting people off treadmills and into their local communities.