A group of older people in Corsham are improving their fitness and wellbeing with the opening of a new gym.
The new facility, which officially opened last week (20 June), is for residents of Jargeau Court in Corsham, a housing scheme run by GreenSquare for people aged 55 and over.
A previously unused room has been completely refurbished and now features specialist gym equipment including a treadmill, an upright bike, a recumbent bike and ergometer machine, along with some free weights and balance balls.
It was made possible thanks to a large donation bequeathed by the late Mr George Bowman. His mother-in-law Florence was a former resident at Jargeau Court and he used to travel from Folkstone, Kent, regularly with his wife to visit her.
Lynda Allen, community officer in GreenSquare’s 55+ housing team, said: “Opening the gym is a big deal to us all here at Jargeau Court. And it was George’s donation that made it all possible really, which is fantastic.
“Our residents were keen to put the money towards something long-lasting. They discussed how they’re often told about NHS advice on keeping fit and healthy at their age, so when creating a gym was suggested, we thought it was a great idea.”
Many of the residents already keep active, walking regularly, and are keen to improve their mobility.
“I’ve lost a stone and a half,” said Graham Peaple, 66, who originally suggested the idea of a gym. “I use all of the equipment, particularly the upright bike and treadmill. It’s made a real difference. And it’s so handy having it right on my doorstep.
“I was already going to the local gym every day and I noticed the benefits. But it gets very expensive, so I thought something on site would be a great idea, and allow myself and other residents to exercise.”
Margaret Grace Gray, is in her 70s and uses the gym twice a week. She also goes to a local keep-fit class. “I have only been a resident here for a year, I moved in after my husband passed away,” she said. “I like using the new gym, it is very convenient. It keeps the weight down and takes your mind off things. It makes you feel better when you’re feeling low, and the views outside are lovely too.”
The new gym has been name after Mr Bowman in recognition of his gift and residents and GreenSquare staff were delighted that his sister-in-law Meg Hall and her son Matthew, came to cut the ribbon at the official opening.
She said: “George was married to my eldest sister Barbara. They would have both loved this as they were really into walking and keeping active. They loved this area when they used to visit. It is great to be back here today and to look round the gym that is named after him. I think it’s brilliant; there’s a good variety of equipment too.”
Wiltshire Council staff at Springfield Community Campus provided advice on creating the fitness suite. Pulse Fitness provided the equipment and visited residents to provide a full induction when the equipment was first installed back in March.
Residents also chose to put some of the money left by Mr Bowman towards some activities and days out, including a trip to the theatre in Bath.