When ideas build muscle…

 

The Mary’s Gym’s renovation project has begun!

 

Sometimes sharing one good idea with others could reap great results. This was the case when some of Mary’s Youth Club’s members suggested the renovation of Mary’s gym. And now, the project has officially begun.
As you might have read in our June newsletter, the Sport England Inspired Facilities fund has pledged £49522 to the project. The funding will allow us to maximise the capabilities of our Neighbourhood centre’s most underused room – our gym. Spearheaded by Mary’s Gym Development Refurbishment Project Team: Joseph, 20; Louis, 16; Aissato, 17; Rhianna, 21; Daisy, 17; Ana, 17, as well as volunteer support from Dalziel and Pow design  and Graham Wright architecture.

The following case study outlines the steps taken by Mary’s youth club to make this good idea a reality.

Why we’re doing this:

The capabilities of our existing gym facility were limited as our stakeholders didn’t regard it as a facility that they felt comfortable using. Last year (2015) the annual average usage of our meeting rooms was 1888 hours. In contrast, our gym facility was only used for 584 hours during 2015 due to its outdated and undesirable appearance and lack of good quality equipment.

Another contributing factor was our partnership with Pro Excellence Sports Academy Ltd (PESA), who specialise in a wide range of sports and fitness related activities. PESA have been delivering sessions at the youth club with limited resources, but to a great success and have built a positive rapport with our young people. Together we realised the potential for the gym to grow and began to put together an action plan.
In surveys we conducted with young people, the participants reported that regular access to our refurbished gym facility would have an impact on their lives, as it would help them with key challenges that they currently facing in their lives such as healthier lifestyle, reducing stress, weight control. So we knew we were definitely on the right path with our renovation idea.

What we’re trying to achieve:

We wanted to refurbish our outdated and underused gym facility. Our aim was to use the funding to completely transform the gym into a newly refurbished multipurpose facility, which would encourage our existing member – and attract new users – to use the facility for new sport, fitness and exercise classes.

 How this will help our community:

There are currently a limited number of affordable gym facilities for the majority of young people in Islington. With the introduction of our newly refurbished gym we will be able to increase opportunities for physical activity by providing young people and the wider community with an affordable high quality gym facility. This is in direct support of the local authority’s strategy and will help to develop fitness, exercise, physical health and wellbeing.

The refurbished gym will also present an opportunity to train young people to become coaches and personal trainers and attract more young people and other members of the local community to be their clients.

Mary’s community centre facilities are used extensively by the local community with over 2000 visits per week to its different meeting rooms and spaces. Our facilities offer disabled access throughout, two equipped commercial kitchens and storage facilities for regular users. The new gym will enable us to extend the use of our facilities to the regular visitors of our centre, as well as to new members of our local community, such as fitness groups, personal trainers and yoga classes.

The sustainability of the refurbished gym and its sports program will be secured by applying our existing organisational capabilities, implementing our sport development plan and by ongoing development of new sport programs and activities in consultation with the local community. Our links with local schools and our positive local reputation together and our central Islington location on Upper Street will further ensure visibility and awareness and additional demand for our new gym facility and sport and fitness activities.

 Moving forward…

The gym is scheduled to be refurbished and ready for use by January 2017. Mary’s youth and community engagement expertise reaches hundreds of young people every year and will encourage a steady demand for the new sporting activities that have been planned and that will be planned in the future.

 

We’ll keep you updated!