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Health Club Management

Health Club Management

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Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

People: Ivo Gormley, GoodGym

Founder, GOODGYM

Published in Health Club Management 2017 issue 9
GoodGym founder Gormley wanted to tackle isolation in the elderly
GoodGym founder Gormley wanted to tackle isolation in the elderly
More than a million people say they are always, or often, lonely. Loneliness and isolation is such a huge and invisible problem

What is GoodGym?
We combine exercise with doing good deeds. There are two concepts: the first is Coach Runs, where people run to visit an old person on a regular basis – we refer to them as their coach, on account of the fact that they provide ongoing motivation. Or the second, which is called Missions, where groups of runners help with a community project or a household job, like sorting out an overgrown garden or painting a community centre. We also run in groups to help community projects.

How did it come about?
After I left university I stopped doing sport and missed both the exercise and social aspect. I needed motivation to start exercising again, so I began running to see an older neighbour a couple of times a week, stopping for a chat and taking him a newspaper. He was an ex-soldier and gave me tips on how to build up my fitness.

In 2009 I started to think about extending this idea more widely, as loneliness and isolation is such a huge and invisible problem – according to Age UK, more than one million older people say they are always, or often, lonely.

I contacted organisations who work with old people, like The Red Cross and Age UK and set up a basic website, to try to match runners and old people. In 2013 I started working on it full time.

What was the main challenge in setting it up?
The biggest challenge is having to DBS check everyone to make sure they are appropriate, so we sometimes lose people in the sign up process. Other than that the challenges are getting the idea across to people and then matching people in the same area, with the same availability, without keeping either party waiting too long. If we had more runners, we could find more coaches.

How is it funded?
We’re a registered charity, so it’s all free to participate in. Many runners make donations and some coaches do, we also get small grants from local authorities and have received Lottery funding. We’re also now sponsored by BT and New Balance.

How fast are you growing?
We currently have around 4,000 members but it’s growing all the time as we actively spread into more cities: we’re now setting up in Norwich, Birmingham and Cardiff. We’re aiming to be in every UK city in the next two years.

Who does GoodGym appeal to?
All standards of runners, it’s a great way to find extra motivation to exercise.

Do you have plans to further diversify or expand going forward?
No, we’ll stick with what we’re doing and get better at it. Parkrun really inspires me, it’s an incredible and revolutionary organisation in the fitness world. They’ve stuck to one thing and focused on doing it really well and they work collaboratively with the community, so it’s very flexible and open.

How can gyms engage with your scheme?
Some gym operators, including Better, have been supportive by letting our runners use their facilities to meet up. It would be great if operators could collaborate with us and market our work to their members, who could do a Coach Run as another of their weekly workouts, or sign up for a one off Mission. It’s a great way to keep workouts varied and keep people engaged.

What achievements are you most proud of?
The culture that we’ve created. Everyone is so friendly and supportive of each other and it’s a wonderful thing to be able to help people who are living on their own.

Both parties get something from the arrangement. Our evaluation has shown that it improves the wellbeing of both the runners and the coaches, with 93 per cent of runners saying it increased their motivation to exercise. It gives both sides a sense of purpose.

The coaches benefit from the company and the structure. People have said that GoodGym has given them hope, or changed their perception of young people.

It’s also helped ease social isolation: we’ve had instances where the old people have been hospitalised and the runners are the only people who visit them. I’m most proud of the ways in which GoodGym has helped people connect.

Find out more: goodgym.org

Missions allow a group of runners to help with a project
Missions allow a group of runners to help with a project
Some gyms have become involved by allowing meet-ups for runners
Some gyms have become involved by allowing meet-ups for runners
Both runners and
the elderly benefit
from the scheme
Both runners and the elderly benefit from the scheme
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/576349_683520.jpg
Need a new reason to run? This month, we met Ivo Gormley, founder of GoodGym, who is helping people combine exercise with good deeds...
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features

People: Ivo Gormley, GoodGym

Founder, GOODGYM

Published in Health Club Management 2017 issue 9
GoodGym founder Gormley wanted to tackle isolation in the elderly
GoodGym founder Gormley wanted to tackle isolation in the elderly
More than a million people say they are always, or often, lonely. Loneliness and isolation is such a huge and invisible problem

What is GoodGym?
We combine exercise with doing good deeds. There are two concepts: the first is Coach Runs, where people run to visit an old person on a regular basis – we refer to them as their coach, on account of the fact that they provide ongoing motivation. Or the second, which is called Missions, where groups of runners help with a community project or a household job, like sorting out an overgrown garden or painting a community centre. We also run in groups to help community projects.

How did it come about?
After I left university I stopped doing sport and missed both the exercise and social aspect. I needed motivation to start exercising again, so I began running to see an older neighbour a couple of times a week, stopping for a chat and taking him a newspaper. He was an ex-soldier and gave me tips on how to build up my fitness.

In 2009 I started to think about extending this idea more widely, as loneliness and isolation is such a huge and invisible problem – according to Age UK, more than one million older people say they are always, or often, lonely.

I contacted organisations who work with old people, like The Red Cross and Age UK and set up a basic website, to try to match runners and old people. In 2013 I started working on it full time.

What was the main challenge in setting it up?
The biggest challenge is having to DBS check everyone to make sure they are appropriate, so we sometimes lose people in the sign up process. Other than that the challenges are getting the idea across to people and then matching people in the same area, with the same availability, without keeping either party waiting too long. If we had more runners, we could find more coaches.

How is it funded?
We’re a registered charity, so it’s all free to participate in. Many runners make donations and some coaches do, we also get small grants from local authorities and have received Lottery funding. We’re also now sponsored by BT and New Balance.

How fast are you growing?
We currently have around 4,000 members but it’s growing all the time as we actively spread into more cities: we’re now setting up in Norwich, Birmingham and Cardiff. We’re aiming to be in every UK city in the next two years.

Who does GoodGym appeal to?
All standards of runners, it’s a great way to find extra motivation to exercise.

Do you have plans to further diversify or expand going forward?
No, we’ll stick with what we’re doing and get better at it. Parkrun really inspires me, it’s an incredible and revolutionary organisation in the fitness world. They’ve stuck to one thing and focused on doing it really well and they work collaboratively with the community, so it’s very flexible and open.

How can gyms engage with your scheme?
Some gym operators, including Better, have been supportive by letting our runners use their facilities to meet up. It would be great if operators could collaborate with us and market our work to their members, who could do a Coach Run as another of their weekly workouts, or sign up for a one off Mission. It’s a great way to keep workouts varied and keep people engaged.

What achievements are you most proud of?
The culture that we’ve created. Everyone is so friendly and supportive of each other and it’s a wonderful thing to be able to help people who are living on their own.

Both parties get something from the arrangement. Our evaluation has shown that it improves the wellbeing of both the runners and the coaches, with 93 per cent of runners saying it increased their motivation to exercise. It gives both sides a sense of purpose.

The coaches benefit from the company and the structure. People have said that GoodGym has given them hope, or changed their perception of young people.

It’s also helped ease social isolation: we’ve had instances where the old people have been hospitalised and the runners are the only people who visit them. I’m most proud of the ways in which GoodGym has helped people connect.

Find out more: goodgym.org

Missions allow a group of runners to help with a project
Missions allow a group of runners to help with a project
Some gyms have become involved by allowing meet-ups for runners
Some gyms have become involved by allowing meet-ups for runners
Both runners and
the elderly benefit
from the scheme
Both runners and the elderly benefit from the scheme
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/576349_683520.jpg
Need a new reason to run? This month, we met Ivo Gormley, founder of GoodGym, who is helping people combine exercise with good deeds...
Latest News
Personal training company Ultimate Performance has revealed plans to add three new clubs to its ...
Latest News
Increased exercise levels can significantly reduce the chances of developing depression, even among people who ...
Latest News
Wellness company MYXfitness has become the latest company to launch an on-demand, at-home fitness offer, ...
Latest News
Franchised operator Planet Fitness has unveiled plans to expand its footprint into Australia. The first ...
Latest News
US-based climbing centre operator Brooklyn Boulders is looking to expand its boutique fitness studio concept ...
Latest News
Disability sports charity Activity Alliance has called on political parties to commit to giving disabled ...
Latest News
Beachbody – the global fitness brand behind Insanity and P90X – has announced that it ...
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Boutique fitness operator 1Rebel has partnered with Technogym to develop an at-home indoor cycling platform ...
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Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Not all functional training areas are created equal
In the last few years, the rise in popularity of functional training has been significant and operators are providing more space for functional training, both on the gym floor and in group training and studio settings.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Who does your brand belong to?
Who does your brand belong to? There used to be only one answer to this question: the company that grew it and invested in it.
Company profiles
Company profile: Physical Company Ltd
Physical Company provides specialist fitness solutions. This includes equipment, flooring, gym design, programming and training ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Myzone Group Ltd
At Myzone we reward Effort to solve the pervasive problem of ‘diminishing motivation within exercisers’ ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Fitness equipment
FunXtion International BV: Fitness equipment
Locking solutions
Ojmar: Locking solutions
Management software
GymSales: Management software
Member access schemes
Move GB: Member access schemes
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Professional services
Deloitte UK: Professional services
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Lockers/interior design
Fitlockers: Lockers/interior design
Exercise equipment
Eleiko Sport AB: Exercise equipment
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
21-22 Nov 2019
JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort, Aventura,
Diary dates
29 Nov 2019
The King’s Fund, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
10-12 Dec 2019
tbc, Fort Lauderdale, United States
Diary dates
29-30 Jan 2020
Holiday Inn San Francisco-Golden Gateway, San Francisco, United States
Diary dates
23-25 Mar 2020
Hilton, Barcelona, Spain
Diary dates
10-27 Jun 2020
tbc, Pinggu, China
Diary dates
17-18 Jun 2020
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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