Tower Hamlets good gym is a runaway success

After a long day at the office, the last thing you feel like doing is hitting the treadmill with rows of other sweaty bodies staring blankly at a TV screen.

So imagine if you could channel that energy into seeing the world around you, meeting new people and helping others.

That’s exactly the thinking behind The Good Gym – a group of fitness enthusiasts who quite literally run from one good deed to the next.

The group, started by 29-year-old Ivo Gormley, run around Tower Hamlets doing errands for elderly people or physical labour for community centres.

“We try to find ways that the energy wasted in going to a gym can be channelled into social good,” Ivo explained.

“We connect runners with elderly people who are housebound. Things like delivering their paper or doing small errands gives people a good reason to go for a run.

“We also do monthly group runs – last week we went to Bethnal Green Library and cleared some land. It’s a bit like a flash mob but for doing something good.”

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The documentary film maker set up the unusual scheme in September 2009 after becoming “frustrated with wasting energy at the gym.”

He said: “A lot of people want to help others but don’t have the time. Or want to exercise but don’t have the time. Here you can do it all at once.

“Around 10 per-cent of people over 65 only see family or friends once a month. So it’s important for them to have someone come round – it’s good for their wellbeing.”

All runners are CRB checked and undergo two interviews before being approved as a member.

Documentary film maker Ivo has seen his members swell to more than 60 and is constantly on the look out for new community projects or elderly recipients.

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