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News release from: 21/03/2024

Gamlingay Leisure flexes its success as it goes from strength to strength

Gamlingay Leisure flexes its success as it goes from  strength to strength

A village fitness facility, which remained open thanks to community teamwork, is going from strength to strength with a rise in membership and new equipment.

Gamlingay Leisure has also taken on an additional gym instructor following higher-than-expected growth.

The success story means trustees can continue investment in the leisure facility making it even better for local residents.

Cllr Bridget Smith, Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council and local member for Gamlingay, said: “The gym is an important venue in the village not just for keeping fit but also for forging friendships and fostering a sense of camaraderie and community. The District Council is pleased to have supported this facility with grant funding towards the initial business plan and also with community chest funding. Watching it flourish with membership and facilities is fantastic. We are pleased that it is one of 11 independent gyms across South Cambridgeshire which work with the Council to ensure community access can be provided.”

Simon Fisher, Chair of Trustees, said: “We’re proud to watch the ongoing success of the gym, including recently welcoming our second gym instructor, Brandon who joined Jo in November 2023, which means we now provide fully qualified instructor cover for around 90% of the shifts. We also have learning opportunities thanks to funding from South Cambridgeshire District Council, to provide continuous development opportunities to our instructors and volunteers. Specialised training for working with cancer and diabetes is underway, along with our dedicated first aid training for volunteers. We extend our ongoing gratitude to several members who volunteer their time to cover the occasional shift at the gym. This enhances the community spirit, making it truly feel like our gym.’”

New leg curl equipment at Gamlingay Leisure

Among successes in the last year are:

  • A new lateral pulldown equipment and a new leg raise / leg curl machine have been installed. Trustees plan interior improvements such as replacing notice boards, shielding the high windows to prevent sun glare in the mornings and putting one-way film on the ground floor windows.
  • The village Co-op store chose Gamlingay Leisure as one of the local charities to support in 2023 resulting in a £1,100 donation which was used to replace some equipment in the gym.
  • The multi-use games area is almost fully booked during the winter months, mainly for football training. However, the MUGA is also marked for netball, hockey and tennis, so it is hoped to expand its use in the future.
  • There is strong uptake for the exercise referral scheme, supported by the District Council.
  • The facility has 144 members and caters for a wide age range from 14 to 80+.
  • There are plans to improve and grow further, including a ‘Power Hour’ for those wishing to concentrate on strength and how to use the equipment effectively, upgrading the music system and continuing to improve the gym equipment.

The red ribbon was cut at Gamlingay Leisure in summer 2022 after the community pulled together to ensure locals could continue enjoying gym and multi-use games activities on their doorstep, at the facility which is 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.

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 it was not financially viable for them to reopen it following forced closures in 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 so funding provided to the school for educational purposes cannot be used to subsidise it.

Stephen Munday, Chief Executive of the Cam Academy Trust, said: The Cam Academy Trust is delighted that the Gamlingay Gym is flourishing on the premises of one of our schools. We always want our schools to be at the heart of their communities and to serve and add value to them. This is a good example of that in practice.”

Gamlingay Leisure’s initial 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 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.