Fit 4 Life, a Social Entrerprise which delivers health and rehabilitation exercise for Over 50’s and people with chronic health conditions, will be able to continue growing and developing its services thanks to £10,000 that it has secured from the Coalfields Community Investment Fund, delivered by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust.
Established in Maryport in 2004, Fit 4 Life quickly rolled the service out to Whitehaven and then Workington to enable people from all over West Cumbria to benefit.
Fit 4 Life rented the gym at The Oval Centre in Salterbeck two mornings per week, with the popular sessions quickly becoming over-subscribed. The management recognised the potential in extending this further and when the opportunity arose to take over the running of the gym fully, they jumped at it.
Taking on the responsibility of running the gym full time, the organisation can now provide specialist classes and sessions every day. Using the funding to cover the cost of additional staff hours, it can now build up the client base and become more sustainable.
The gym is open every weekday and is available exclusively for the over 50s and those that have been referred from third party health services and the NHS until 12.30pm. From this time, the general public will be given access and it will be used as an inclusive community facility.
Managing Director of Fit 4 Life, Dougie Pomfret, comments: “I’ve always been into sports and fitness and can see the benefits that it can deliver to all people from all walks of life. When I left University having completed a Sports and Exercise Science degree, I worked in Community Health Development. There was a real risk the charity I was employed by would close.
“It was at this time I made the decision to start Fit 4 Life, to provide people from the community with access to health facilities that would make a difference to their quality of life.
“Since launching we have continued to extend the services we offer and have now taken over the running of the gym at the Oval Centre. It was a bold step to make but one that we feel will work. Thanks to funding from organisations like the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, we can now look forward to continuing to help local people improve their health and fitness for many years to come.
Development Manager for the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Steve Abson, comments: “Communities really do rely on the resources and professional support of organisations like Fit 4 Life. This isn’t your average gym, it is a service that has been set up to meet with the needs of the residents.
“Without these facilities, those living in these neighbourhoods would become socially isolated and would rely on doctors and GP surgeries that are not equipped to offer the time needed to make a lasting difference.
“It is truly heart-warming to see what a difference our programmes make however we know there is more than can be done. That is why we are asking government for a dedicated coalfield investment fund that we can use to make the interventions that will change the future for generations to come.”
The Coalfields Community Investment Programme supports organisations and programmes of activity that meet with three key criteria; to address skills, employment or health and wellbeing.
Established in 1999, the Coalfields Regeneration Trust is the only organisation dedicated to supporting former mining towns and villages.
Over the years it has helped more than 2m people. More than 25,500 people have been supported into work, 5,500 jobs have been created or safeguarded, 1.3m people have received the necessary support to help improve their skills and gain qualifications and over 250,000 people have participated in activities that have improve their health.
For further details about the Coalfields Community Investment Programme (CCIP) please visit https://www.coalfields-regen.org.uk/england_support/funding-support/.
If you would like information about the wider schedule of targeted initiatives that have been developed to meet with three priorities for action; employment, skills and health and wellbeing, please visit: www.coalfields-regen.org.uk or call 01226 272800 and for regular updates follow @CoalfieldsRegen on Twitter.