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GoodGym: An Intergenerational Case Study

Many of us aren't the biggest fan of the gym. But for non-profit company GoodGym it goes one step further. Born out of a deep frustration with wasting energy on weights and treadmills, this nationwide network of runners is clocking up serious miles while building connections with people of different generations. Here they share lessons from along the way.

Look past age and focus on how people define themselves and what they enjoy doing. Try to understand how people best connect through shared experiences.

GoodGym
How do you define intergenerational activity?

Activity that brings people who are at different life stages together and helps to form new social relationships.

The elevator pitch: How do you describe your organisation to someone completely new to your work?

GoodGym is a community of people who want to get fit by doing good. We run or walk to help out local organisations or older people with practical tasks and/or regular social visits.

The hurdles: What are some of the main challenges you face around offering your services?

That we’re not a service! We’re about developing a community who like to combine exercise and doing good, while at the same time supporting services that are supporting older neighbours at risk of loneliness and/or isolation.

The rewards: What are some stand-out benefits of intergenerational activity for those you work with?

Deeply personal learning and development. Whether we’re working with younger professionals or older neighbours over 60, the most passionate and positive feedback comes when people discover more about themselves through interaction with someone who is at a different stage of life.

The most passionate and positive feedback comes when people discover more about themselves through interaction with someone who is at a different stage of life.

GoodGym
Mission Run
The people: Give one real-world example of a group that have benefited from your intergenerational work in the past 12 months and the changes you have seen for them since taking part.

GoodGym have been visiting care homes as part of our group runs and the connection between the residents and runners has resulted in lots of fun for all.

"We set off on the 2.75km each way route and when we arrived, the residents were waiting for us in the communal lounge. The GoodGymers spread themselves out amongst the residents and after a few minutes chatting we went into the 1st game of BINGO with the legendary BINGO caller (me) at the helm, although the residents quickly pulled me up on my lack of BINGO knowledge!"

Read the full article here.

Top tips: What advice would you give to someone looking to get involved in an existing intergenerational project or looking to start their own?

Look past age and focus on how people define themselves and what they enjoy doing. Try to understand how people best connect through shared experiences.

How can we find out more about your work and how to support you?

There’s no better way of finding out more about what we do than hearing from the people who are directly involved. You can find case studies and stories of what connecting through GoodGym looks like through the following links.

'I Love Missions'

Read Latoya's Story

'A Basic Human Need'

Read Margaret's Story
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