The success story of a community pulling together to ensure their village fitness facility remains open has been celebrated at the official opening of Gamlingay Gym.
The red ribbon was cut yesterday (June 27) marking a milestone of community teamwork to ensure locals can continue enjoying gym and multi-use games activities on their doorstep, at the facility based at the village primary school.
Residents set up a charity to retain the popular community gym and outdoor floodlit sports pitches, which can be hired for five-a-side, hockey and tennis.
Simon Fisher, trustee of newly formed charity Gamlingay Leisure (Community and MUGA), which runs the facilities, said: “Seeing local people back in the gym and booking the pitches is a really positive and important milestone.
"This is more than just a gym. It’s a community focal point for people to drop in and socialise, enjoy the benefits of having fun while working out, but moreover, it’s about promoting wellbeing and mental health.
“We cannot thank everyone enough for supporting us to achieve this. Also, a special thank you to local businesses Pinewood Structures and Brogan Group who have supported the charity.”
South Cambridgeshire District Council and The Cam Academy Trust worked together to find a way of keeping the community gym running when the Trust took the decision that it was not financially viable for them to reopen it following forced closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Cam Academy Trust runs community gyms at other schools in the area, but Gamlingay is the only location where a gym is at a primary school site. This means pupils are too young to use the equipment and funding provided to the school for educational purposes cannot be used to subsidise it.
Council Leader and District Councillor for Gamlingay, Cllr Bridget Smith, said: “We are incredibly proud of the excellent teamwork which has led to securing a long-term future for community sport facilities in Gamlingay. Having a gym and all year-round sport pitches on our doorsteps is a real boost to village life.”
Stephen Munday CBE, Chief Executive of The Cam Academy Trust, said: “We are delighted that these sports facilities will work for all, both school and community. As well as running schools with high-quality education, we want our schools to be at the hearts of their communities, adding value for everyone. We hope this is an excellent example.”
The gym is one of 11 across South Cambridgeshire which work with the council to ensure community access can be provided and is not part of larger regional or national chains.
Gamlingay Leisure’s business plan was supported by a £7,454 grant by South Cambridgeshire District Council in July 2021 to put towards new equipment and refreshing the gym.
The Government funding was aimed at helping local community-run leisure centres get residents back into the gym following COVID.
It was part of a package totalling £50,000 which was provided to centres across the area. Additionally, the District Council has provided Gamlingay Leisure with a grant of £2,000 from its Community Chest fund to put towards new equipment and an improved online booking system.
The gym is open and staffed on Mondays to Fridays, mornings from 9.30am - to 1pm and evenings from 5pm - 9pm. At weekends it is open from 9am -1pm.