The Gym Group donates fitness equipment to Veterans Aid

May 8, 2019

State of the art professional gym equipment, donated by The Gym Group, is giving ex-servicemen living at VA’s newly refurbished residential facility a head start in the fitness stakes.

The £8.2m transformation of New Belvedere House incorporated provision of a bespoke gymnasium to provide formerly homeless veterans living there a chance to address physical wellbeing along with other development.

Chief Operating Officer Nick Henwood said after a recent visit:

“The Gym Group are very proud to have been able to support Veterans Aid’s New Belvedere House, with some of our gym equipment.

I have been struck by the positive impact having kit available for the residents has made to their wellbeing, both physical and mental.

The work that the team do is absolutely incredible and The Gym Group look forward to continuing our support for them and what they do.”

CEO of Veterans Aid Dr Hugh Milroy said:

“Group training and exercising provides a unique, non-threatening socialisation experience for NBH residents, many of whom are socially isolated, in poor health due to adversity or just keen to get fit.

We have always provided morning training sessions but until the new gym was constructed and properly equipped there were limits to what we could do.

This amazing gesture by The Gym Group has got our Fitness and Wellbeing programme off to a flying start. The rowing machine, exercise bikes and treadmills, along with other items such as weights and boxing gloves that they have provided, are of a standard we could not have aspired to purchase and there is real energy among residents about getting to grips with the new equipment.

New Belvedere House has capacity for 66 veterans and is always full. Typically they stay for an average of 9.5 months during which their problems are addressed and they are – quite literally – ‘fit’ to move on.

We had the space, now we have the equipment. Staff and residents will be appropriately trained and inducted before using the gym and we will continue to encourage those who attend formal morning sessions with healthy food bags.”

The Gym Group Planner Fraser Kennedy, who looks after product (i.e. all the gym equipment for the company) made an earlier visit to VA’s HQ/Ops Centre with colleague Harry Russell from Origin Fitness.

Newly partnered with The Gym Group, Origin provide what Fraser describes as ‘the fun items’ . In due course many of these – dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells in various sizes, boxing gloves, slam balls and an assortment of medicine balls – also made an appearance at the NBH gym.

Recalling his first visit to New Belvedere House Fraser said:

“The Deputy Manager, who showed us around was brilliant; he explained how fitness was an integral part of their (the residents) morning routine, something to get up for  . . .

From our perspective, to be able to support something so worthwhile is amazing. They had this wonderful new facility, and this empty shell, and to be able to provide the end piece of the jigsaw is lovely.

John Treharne (founder of The Gym Group) has been very supportive and really wanted to make it happen.

Getting some of the bulkier items into the new Veterans Aid gym was quite a logistical challenge. Fortunately we have some really good suppliers as well and I must thank Service Sport who facilitated the equipment move as a gift.”

Dr Milroy added:

“The gymnasium/fitness suite is an integral delivery element of VA’s  holistic Welfare to Wellbeing© pathway.

Monitoring and evaluation of its value factors in physical benefits as elements of an overall objective – i.e. to deliver formerly homeless or highly vulnerable individuals to a point where they have the skills and strengths to achieve sustainable, independent living.

Fitness training has always been a part of that process and this superbly equipped facility takes our ability to deliver it to a new level.”