GoodGym, community initiative
Hackney, since 2009
GoodGym is a community of runners who combine getting fit with providing help to older people in London.
One million people aged 65 and over admit to always or often feeling lonely, and 17% of those living alone see family and friends less than once a week, according to Age UK. GoodGym helps to improve the quality of life of older people. GoodGym runners combine their runs with undertaking physical tasks for community organisations and supporting isolated older people through social visits and one-off tasks that they can't do on their own.
By working with the NHS, charities and local community centres, including The Sundial Centre in Bethnal Green and Toynbee Hall, GoodGym matches runners with an individual coach – a housebound elderly person who would like a regular visitor. They are encouraged to take a newspaper or a modest gift to the value of £1. There are also monthly group runs around east London, performing useful activities along the way. So far GoodGym members have distributed flyers for a local hospice, tidied up community gardens and hauled compost on to a school roof.