Insight

Go green and have fun!

Green Gyms are more than just green, they’re healthy and fun as thousands of people throughout the UK have discovered.

Green Gyms are more than just green, they’re healthy and fun as thousands of people throughout the UK have discovered.  intu has worked with national charity The Conservation Volunteers (TCV), creators of the Green Gym concept, for nearly ten years and we currently support four Green Gyms near intu Bromley, intu Watford and intu Trafford Centre. We’re excited that 2016 will see the launch of a new Green Gym, on land owned by us near our intu Merry Hill centre. It will be a great opportunity for the centre team to partner with local people to create a new space to get healthy in a fun way and spend leisure time together.

Green Gyms are fun and free outdoor sessions where volunteers are guided in practical activities such as planting trees, sowing meadows and establishing wildlife ponds, with a focus very much on health and fitness - volunteers warm up and cool down in preparation for a range of light to vigorous activities to suit all abilities. The emphasis is friendly and welcoming and no conditions are set beyond ensuring everyone who volunteers at the Green Gym enjoys it so much they will want to return again and again.  We like Green Gyms because they succeed in many ways: helping promote healthy activity, community spirit, and because they regenerate community green spaces which may have become neglected.

Green Gyms are unique in many ways and everyone at intu loves the way in which, once established following the efforts of local volunteers, including our centre teams, they become ‘self-sustaining’ and the community comes together to manage the Gym’s activities and community outreach.  In addition to the four Green Gyms we are supporting this year I am very proud that three additional Green Gyms, two near intu Bromley and one near intu Watford, supported by us for several years have been taken over by the local community over the past two years.  This is the best type of ‘sustainability’ project as it allows intu to move its support to new locations and create new opportunities, working with TCV, for the benefit of even greater numbers of people who find coming together at the regular Green Gym sessions both good for their health and a great way to get outdoors, make new friends and gain enjoyable and often useful new skills.

intu centres are right at the heart of their communities, and by ‘growing’ Greens Gyms we’re able to not only benefit the health and well-being of people who live and work close to our centres but care for the environment which brings wider benefits for all