20th Jul, 2019

Runners help beat loneliness in the elderly across Solihull after fitness scheme launches

Sarah Mason 1st Oct, 2018

FITNESS fanatics across the borough can do good deeds while out on a run.

GoodGym has launched across Solihull, with the help of the council and West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) which brings runners together with older people in a bid to tackle loneliness.

At the launch runners went on a course from Tudor Grange Park to Parkview Day Centre where they planted some bulbs ready for the spring.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street joined GoodGym founder Ivo Gormley and Solihull council’s cabinet member for adult social care and WMCA wellbeing board member, Coun Karen Grinsell, to demonstrate the scheme.

The two authorities are investing £35k in the pilot project which aims to support vulnerable older adults and at the same time motivate other adults to get active.

GoodGym matches up runners to meet with their ‘coaches’ – the older people – for a chat or to help them out at home.

Coun Karen Grinsell, said: “This is a wonderful scheme which looks to partner up runners with vulnerable adults in our community, in this case Parkview Day Centre.

“It’s a win win situation because the runners get the motivation they need and the people they are partnered up with become in effect, their coaches.

“The people the runners visit get some help in their home and a chat. But they know they’re needed as coaches and motivators too.

“GoodGym works for everyone involved so I’m really pleased that people in Solihull will soon be benefiting from this fantastic partnership.”

Founder Ivo Gormley began the social movement after finding he could combine exercise with delivering an elderly friend’s newspaper.

The West Midlands Mayor said: “Building strong and sustainable communities is central to the combined authority’s purpose and this project is a superb example of that.

“It is also in line with the ambitions set out in West Midlands on the Move, our physical activity strategy.

“We are delighted to be working so closely with GoodGym and with Solihull on this initial pilot and would hope to roll out the scheme across the region.

This will be a project funded by the WMCA in partnership with Solihull Council and we intend to roll out in Coventry and Wolverhampton in the next 12 months.”

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