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Hanwood’s new gym equipment

Published: Mon, 26 Mar 2018
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Paul Millar, Chief Executive Hanwood Trust & Patch Manager Janet McDonnell with Karen Black
Fit for the future!
Users of a community-run gym in east Belfast are taking fitness to the next level using state-of-the-art equipment funded by our Social Housing Enterprise programme.
The Hanwood Trust in Tullycarnet, east Belfast received £25,000 to upgrade its gym equipment so that it could attract more users and offer GP referral programmes and other fitness courses to benefit local residents, particularly older people.
The Trust has been running the gym as part of a wider social enterprise since 2009. It’s a popular hub for local residents from areas like Tullycarnet, Ballybeen, Ardcarn and Coronation Park, who want to get fit, lose weight and socialise with friends.
Paul Millar, Chief Executive of the Hanwood Trust explained why they applied for funding:
“Our gym has always been popular because it’s affordable, accessible and welcoming. However, we were particularly keen to attract more of the over 50s age group and we needed to upgrade our equipment so that users could track their progress, particularly useful for those who are using the gym as part of a GP Healthwise referral programme.
“The equipment we had simply wasn’t fit for purpose, so we applied for funding from the Social Housing Enterprise programme. We could see the benefits of the investment would be felt by our regular gym users and those who are new to exercise, including many local residents who are Housing Executive tenants.
“There are so many benefits to exercise, like maintaining a healthy weight and generally feeling good about yourself, but coming to the gym also opens up opportunities for interacting with people and widening your social circle. The funding has made it possible for us to help local residents get fitter, feel better and get out and about.
“Many of our users first come to the gym as part of a GP Healthwise referral programme. Our new equipment means those people can have a personal programme created according to their needs. When they come into the gym they can log in and record what exercise they’ve done and monitor their heartrate, weight, blood pressure and BMI. This can all be tracked by their GP who can see the progress being made.”
“We encourage participants in GP Healthwise referral and other programmes to come back to the gym and we offer them reduced rates and free tea and coffee after their session.
"We’re delighted that many older people have chosen to come back regularly, because they’re feeling good about exercising and enjoying the social aspect of being here.”
Patch Manager Bryan Thompson & Norman Kelly, the Hanwood Trust with Bertha Milne.
“When our gym is busy and has plenty of regular visitors, this ensures its long term success. A steady stream of income can be reinvested into the centre, as well as creating job prospects and training opportunities for local residents.”
Connor Smith from our Social Housing Enterprise progamme team said:
“Social enterprises like the Hanwood Centre offer a range of much-needed health and wellbeing services to local residents, including our tenants.
"We are pleased to have awarded the centre this funding as it’s clear they are fully committed to a long-term model of sustainability.”
Many projects across Northern Ireland have this year received grants totalling almost £500,000 for a range of social enterprise initiatives including remanufacturing, arts and crafts, and learning and development.