Life sure is busy, isn’t it? There’s no escaping that fact. For lots of people who work and have children or other responsibilities at home, there’s hardly any time left for those activities and interests that you’d really like to do. Keeping fit, seeing your friends, pursuing your hobbies. And volunteering your free time to support charities or organisations that exist in the city just seems impossible, much as you’d love to support them.
Well, step forward GoodGym! GoodGym provides the ultimate time saving way to ‘get fit and do good’, by combining a welcoming and accessible running club with the opportunity to support projects and individuals in your local area at the same time – brilliant!
SheffGives spoke to Sheffield trainer, Tom Mutton, to find out more.
- Tell me a little about GoodGym and the ethos behind the organisation?
The ethos of GoodGym can be summed up in the phrase ‘getting fit and doing good’; that’s what we are all about! It’s a really simple concept. We combine fitness with supporting others. Last year in Sheffield alone we did 996 good deeds and ran over 12,000 km as a group!
- How does the group help to support some of the city’s organisations and residents?
There are 3 main runs that we organise in Sheffield.
- A Group Run which takes place every Monday evening at 6.30pm from the Showroom Cinema in the city centre – we run to an organisation, do about 45 minutes work there, squeeze in a fitness session or challenge, then run back. Our runs are normally 4-5km in total, so a distance to make them open to all, and we have varying fitness levels, but support each other along the way to make sure nobody is left behind. We run as a team, not as individuals, and that’s a really important part of our ethos.
- Our Coach Runs are where we pair a runner from our club, with an elderly and often socially isolated person in the city. The runner will visit them every week, get to know them, have a cuppa with them, and then run back. Some really great friendships form, and this arrangement also provides accountability for the runner. No shirking your midweek run when your coach is sat waiting for you to arrive with a hot cuppa, and a biscuit!
- Our Missions are where a small group of runners, normally between 2 and 5, run to somebody’s house in the city to carry out a household or garden task that the person is no longer able to do for themselves. These missions range from changing a lightbulb to clearing an elderly person’s garden, and are a great way for our runners to get fit with their clubmates whilst also supporting somebody in the city.
- Tell me a little about some of the work that you carry out on your group runs.
We’ve done a really wide variety of work in our group runs, which keeps it fun for our runners. When we arrive at the organisation, we are briefed by the task owner, given all the tools, paint etc, talked through health and safety and then we set to work. There are normally 20 to 25 of us, so we can get a LOT of work done in just 45 minutes, which is amazing to see.
We’ve recently worked with Real Junk Food Project where we helped to completely rearrange their Sharehouse Market. This enabled them to work in a much more time efficient way, meaning they had more time to dedicate to their amazing work of reclaiming food and feeding people.
One upcoming group run will involve us supporting the renovations of Abbeydale Picture House with CADS, which is a great project that we love to be involved with.
Another benefit that we see from our runs, is that we find they open up the city to our runners – they see areas of the city that they might perhaps otherwise not come into contact with, and gain a greater awareness of some of the social problems which exist. Often our runners are so inspired and motivated by what they learn on our group runs that they will arrange to go back to the organisation in their own time to help out more, spreading the good deed even further.
- Sounds a lot of fun – how can SheffGives followers get involved?
Turn up and run with us! GoodGym is free, but most of our club pay £9.95 a month which goes to the GoodGym charity to support older people, but there’s no need to pay. Visit our website at https://www.goodgym.org/areas/sheffield for more details – we’d love to welcome more runners to our gang.
And we are very friendly and welcoming – there’s no competition between us, well OK, maybe a little bit! We also run together in the Sheffield 10k and Sheffield half, and arrange socials too, so it’s not all hard work. Come, get fit and do good.
You know what, Tom, we are in. Expect a new group runner on your books very soon!
*Photos courtesy of Tom Mutton/GoodGym Sheffield.