Sedbergh gym project benefits from LIPs grant funding

Sedbergh People's Gym

A community gym facility for the residents of Sedbergh was one of the Locally Important Projects that benefitted from an SLDC grant last year.

SLDC awarded Sedbergh People's Gym £9,400 towards the project, the equivalent of 10 years' rent.

Stuart Wetherell, volunteer personal trainer at the People's Gym, explained what a valuable facility it is for Sedbergh.

He said: "Like many rural communities, we have an ageing population in Sedbergh. More than a third are over 60 and for a lot of those people a gym is not part of their natural environment and so they wouldn't travel outside of their community to use them.

"We're trying to show older members of the community that a gym is a very important part of maintaining good health. It's key to improving personal health and wellbeing."

Simon added the gym was also good for social cohesion and the sustainability of the community, saying: "For the younger generation, the more facilities you have, like a gym, the more it attracts younger people to live here, rather than think they have to move out of town into larger cities.

"Having a place like this gives an added incentive to remain in the community."

A community gym offering a low-cost and accessible health and fitness facility for Sedbergh residents of all ages had previously operated for four years in Sedbergh's Baliol School, boasting more than 100 active members.

However, when the school closed in 2012 the gym was made homeless.

The gym committee resolved to try to reopen in new premises and set about raising the money to build an annexe to the Sedbergh People's Hall to house the gym, somewhere that has easy access and could be used by youngsters from nearby Settlebeck School and, through partnership with Sedbergh Health Centre, provide fitness activities for older people and those with disabilities.

In 2015 the project applied to the SLDC LIPs fund and was successful in securing a grant of £9,464, to match a similar award from the Yorkshire Dales National Park and to supplement other grants from organisations including Sedbergh Unitied Charities and Sedbergh Community Fund.

Thanks to the awards, the People's Gym has now re-opened in its new annexe and is due for an official launch on 20 March.