A unique initiative which encourages people to embrace ‘doing good’ as well as ‘getting fit’ has been launched in Ipswich.

GoodGym has a unique approach to building community cohesion, promoting fitness and reducing social isolation. GoodGym members stop off on their runs to do physical tasks for community organisations and to support isolated older people with one-off tasks they can’t do on their own.

Guest of honour at the launch, which took place yesterday (Monday 4th September), was Michelle Mitchell, who recently represented GB and won a gold medal, 2 silver medals and a bronze medal at the recent World Transplant Games in Malaga.

GoodGym Ipswich, which has been established in partnership with Suffolk County Council, is GoodGym’s 37th area nationwide.

GoodGym Ipswich is led by local trainer Ian Duggan. He said “The town and surrounding area has a fantastically vibrant running community. Goodgym will add to this and give more people a chance to get involved in running and do good at the same time. We’ll be meeting every Monday evening at 6.30pm. Come and join us!”

In addition to the weekly group run organised by Ian, GoodGym runners will also be paired with an isolated older person and commit to a weekly social visit and/or help with one-off household tasks. The GoodGym befriending scheme has been proven to reduce loneliness and improve wellbeing.

Councillor Tony Goldson, Cabinet member for Health at Suffolk County Council, said “Suffolk aspires to be England’s most active county and as a council, we want to help our residents get fit, enjoy healthy and active lives and play a part in their own communities.

“GoodGym combines all of this, getting and staying fit while helping a neighbour or giving something to the community where you live. Something that can only enhance our great county.”

GoodGym welcomes runners of all abilities and is open to everyone in Ipswich and beyond. Group runs will take place every Monday evening starting at the University of Suffolk who have kindly donated the use of their Waterfront building to host the runs.

Richard Lister, Vice Chancellor of the University of Suffolk, said “We are delighted to be able to offer the University as a base for GoodGym. The ethos of the organisation ties in well with ours and as a community impact university we are keen wherever we can to support projects such as this.”

Further details about GoodGym Ipswich can be found at www.goodgym.org/areas/ipswich.