Gamlingay community steps up to save gym in village primary school from closure

Gamlingay’s community gym at the village primary school will re-open in June after residents stepped-in and set up a new charity to keep it running.

By News Reporter
Wednesday, 25th May 2022, 1:02 pm

South Cambridgeshire District Council and The Cam Academy Trust have been working together to find a way of keeping a community gym running since the Trust made the decision that it was not financially viable for them to reopen it following the forced closures due 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.

The new charity set up by the local community, Gamlingay Leisure (Community Gym and MUGA), have now signed an agreement with the Trust to run the gym and multi-use games area at the school which will allow community access to continue.

The gym. Image: South Cambridgeshire District Council.

Stephen Munday CBE, chief executive of The Cam Academy Trust, said: “It has been a lot of work from all parties to come up with a workable proposal that will see a community gym functioning out of the primary school site. The solution is one that we hope can work for all, both school and community."

Gamlingay Leisure’s business plan has been 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. £50,000 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 gym equipment and an improved online booking system.

Two Gamlingay-based businesses have assisted the charitable group by contributing a total of £10,000 towards the future of the gym, with Gamlingay Leisure offering its "sincere thanks".

Council leader and District Councillor for Gamlingay, Cllr Bridget Smith, said: “I am so incredibly proud that, together, we have managed to secure a long-term future for the gym in Gamlingay. It has taken a lot of effort and goodwill on the parts of all three parties."

Simon Fisher, Trustee of Gamlingay Leisure, said: “The presence of the Gym and MUGA in Gamlingay is of vital importance to the physical and mental wellbeing of our community, especially as we emerge from the pandemic.”

Gamlingay Leisure has said the gym will re-open on Monday, June 27.

Before then, there will be open days on June 11 and 18 from 9.30am to 1pm, giving residents the chance to look around, meet the trustees and instructors, and sign-up for inductions.

During the week of June 13 to 17, the gym will be open to start the process of holding gym inductions for new and returning members.

The gym is one of 11 across South Cambridgeshire which work with the district council to ensure community access can be provided and is not part of larger regional or national chains.

To register for membership, email: [email protected] or search for ‘Gamlingay Leisure’ on Facebook.

If local businesses wish to make a contribution, please email: [email protected]