Free community gym opens for Salford residents

24 February, 2015

A free community gym has opened in Salford with help from two of the city's housing providers.

The brand new fitness centre recently opened its doors at the The Salvation Army Housing Association's (SAHA) Abbott Lodge on Brindle Heath Road thanks to support from Salix Homes.

Staff at SAHA's Abbot Lodge came up with the idea for a community gym which would help residents to improve their overall health while getting fit and healthy.

Duchy Residents Association then applied to Salix Homes for additional funding through our ‘Your Salix, Your Say' grant which provides grants to worthwhile community projects.

The residents group secured £4,000 from Salix Homes to fund 12 months of free personal training sessions at the gym for its tenants living on the neighbouring Duchy estate and for Abbott Lodge residents.

Adele McGill, project manager at SAHA's Abbott Lodge, said: While we believed our gym idea could be very beneficial for residents of Abbott Lodge, we were keen to work with Salix Homes as we felt its residents in the nearby Duchy estate could also use it.

By working with Salix Homes we're able to achieve one of our key aims of providing a way for the most vulnerable local people to improve their health. Our gym is a great stepping stone for those who may want to use main-stream fitness facilities but lack the confidence. The feedback we've received so far has been overwhelmingly positive and there's a great deal of excitement now the gym has opened.

The free gym sessions with qualified instructors began last month and are already proving a huge hit with locals. Mum-of-three Tonie Whiteley, 27, has been visiting the gym three times a week and says it's changed her life; "I had never even been in a gym before because I never had the confidence to, but now my confidence has grown and I couldn't imagine not going to the gym, she said.

I love coming to the gym now, I'm addicted to it and it's made such a difference to my life and to my children's lives too. I feel so much healthier and when my kids see their mum going to the gym and working out, it encourages them to be healthier too, so it benefits all of us.

The gym is kitted out with the latest state-of-the art fitness equipment including a treadmill, rowing machine, exercise bike and power plates.

We are now inviting applications for this year's ‘Your Salix, Your Say' fund, where recipients are chosen by members of the community.

Sue Sutton, our director of customer and neighbourhood services, said: The new gym, which we believe is the first free community gym in Salford, is a fantastic facility which the whole community will benefit from, so we are delighted to be able to help support this wonderful project through our ‘Your Salix, Your Say' grant.

Regular exercise is proven to boost energy, manage symptoms of illness and pain and improve health and wellbeing, so we hope as many people as possible take advantage of these gym sessions and come and get fit for free.

Our ‘Your Salix, Your Say' fund exists to support local projects such as this, and we have a further £35,000 available this year, so I would urge any community groups, local clubs or self-help organisations who are struggling for funding to apply for one of our grants.

To apply for a ‘Your Salix, Your Say' grant call Jackie Crook on 0161 779 8966 or email