Run to help

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street joined GoodGym founder Ivo Gormley and Solihull Council’s cabinet member for adult social care, Cllr Karen Grinsell, to demonstrate an innovative scheme where runners exercise and do good deeds.

West Midlands Combined Authority and Solihull Council are working with national charity GoodGym to bring its innovative ‘running to do good deeds’ scheme to the region.

 Watch clip here.

GoodGym offers an imaginative alternative to conventional gyms, tapping into the vast human potential of local communities, by giving people a way to use their exercise regime to help lonely or housebound people.

Run to help

Front l-r: GoodGym founder Ivo Gormley, Solihull Council’s cabinet member for adult social care Cllr Karen Grinsell and West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, with a team of runners and helpers.

WMCA and Solihull Council are investing £35k in the pilot project which aims to support vulnerable older adults and at the same time motivate other adults to get active.

GoodGym matches up runners who run from central locations to meet with their “coaches” - the older people - for a chat or to help them out at home.

Participants report how their involvement with the project is changing lives and creating a model for a more caring and sustainable future.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: “Building strong and sustainable communities is central to the combined authority’s purpose and this project is a superb example of that.

“It is also in line with the ambitions set out in West Midlands on the Move, our physical activity strategy.

“We are delighted to be working so closely with GoodGym and with Solihull on this initial pilot and would hope to roll out the scheme across the region.

“This will be a project funded by the WMCA in partnership with Solihull Council and we intend to roll out in Coventry and Wolverhampton in the next 12 months.”

WMCA Wellbeing Board member Solihull Council’s cabinet member for adult social care and health Cllr Karen Grinsell, said: “This is a wonderful scheme which looks to partner up runners with vulnerable adults in our community, in this case Parkview Day Centre.

“It’s a win-win situation because the runners get the motivation they need and the people they are partnered up with become in effect, their coaches. 

“The people the runners visit get some help in their home - and a chat.  But they know they’re needed as coaches and motivators too. 

“GoodGym really works for everyone involved so I’m really pleased that people in Solihull will soon be benefiting from this fantastic partnership.”

Founder Ivo Gormley began the social movement after finding he could combine exercise with delivering an elderly acquaintance’s newspaper.