When you behold the outdoor gym equipment elegantly installed behind the Angell Town housing office, you begin to understand why we are told that ‘”good things come to those who wait”. The people of Angell Town now boast of having a gym like no other in any of the Lambeth estates. The twelve machines cover the whole range of requirements for all ages. This is an intergenerational facility with a 25 year warranty. If properly used, it will serve the community well.
Before the Big Local Impact came in, there had been requests for a gym for over ten years. Big Local Impact coordinated the whole works, starting from pulling the four social landlords together to put the money in the kitty, topped up by a local grant through the London Community Foundation. This was an arduous exercise to begin with. After two years, the £33k needed was finally raised and it was time to get the spanking new machines in.
The residents did not wait for the concrete to set. They were on it like hot cakes and ready to begin usage immediately the ‘considerate construction’ safety signs were taken away. Uniquely, there were two launches, a soft one for the usual photo shoot, and a grand one for the residents. The Chair of the Big Local Impact, Canon Revd Rosemarie, did the honours of launching it softly. The social landlords, local councillors and the Evening Standard newspaper were in attendance.
The residents’ launch was fabulous. There must have been more than a hundred people attending (including children). Interestingly enough, this one attracted people from neighbouring estates, the local authority and local organisations who have an interest in the health and wellbeing of the community. Rugie, a former resident, cut the ribbon and commented that she never thought it would happen in her lifetime.
In both launches, speeches of praise and thanks and of sense and sensibilities flowed amidst shoutings of, “I am definitely cancelling my gym membership.” With such reactions, there might be a mass exodus from the local gyms and membership dipping as residents head for their free facility in their backyard.
But it was not just the health and wellbeing goal that was being scored. The third priority of the Big Local Impact called ‘Community Cohesion’ featured even more. The Big Local Impact trustee Anthony Bailey provided free drumming entertainment while the Chair and Segen just mingled on. The residents met and talked for the half hour that the launch was taking place followed by delicious food at Angell Delight. It would appear that the launch that was meant to last an hour extended into the dark hours of the day. Late arrivals coming in from work joined the celebration and the joy.
Never has a gym generated so much publicity and welcome. May Angell Town enjoy good health and wellbeing.