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 took the decision 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.
Gamlingay Leisure have said the gym will re-open on Monday 27 June.
Before then, there will be open days held at the gym on Saturday 11 June and Saturday 18 June, from 9:30am to 1pm on both days. These open days will give residents the chance to look around, meet the trustees and instructor and sign-up for inductions.
During the week of Monday 13 to Friday 17 June, 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.
Without the work by the partners the gym would not have re-opened. Local residents who wish to register for membership can now do so by contacting email@example.com or searching for ‘Gamlingay Leisure’ on Facebook.
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. Gamlingay Leisure would like to offer sincere thanks for their contributions. If any other local businesses wish to make a contribution, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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, but we have all been working with one goal in mind; to ensure that Gamlingay residents have somewhere local and indoors where they can exercise throughout the year. Having facilities close to where people live is always important because it means residents don’t have to get into cars and travel far for exercise. I can’t wait to get back into the gym and I know it will be appreciated and valued by residents across the village. My personal thanks to the local community for stepping-up to run this gym, The Cam Academy Trust for helping make this possible and our officers who have worked so diligently to reach this outcome.”
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 COVID pandemic. On behalf of the Trustees, I’m delighted that we have found a path to re-opening and retaining this community asset. With support from membership, we will be able to improve lives in Gamlingay and the surrounding areas.”
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. As well as running schools with high-quality education, we want our schools to be at the hearts of their communities, adding value to all. We hope this is a clear example of this.”