Our Edinburgh-based Places Gym has opened its doors to less fortunate members of the community.
The initiative was born out of the company-wide aim to bring healthy lifestyles to the communities we are based. The Places Gym on Leith Walk has been offering free passes to players from the local Street Soccer Scotland programmes, including players who represented their country in the Nations Cup earlier this year.
Partnering with Street Soccer Scotland simply made sense, with their venture to inspire ‘positive change’ perfectly aligning with our own values. The charity empowers people who are affected by social exclusion through football – directly targeting the issue of homelessness, mental illness; alcohol or substance abuse, long-term unemployment, additional needs, or those with refugee status in the area.
The current economic landscape has made times increasingly hard for members of our society, and particularly bad for those who were already struggling. Offering free and unlimited access to Places Gym Edinburgh has added an extra element to Street Soccer England’s objective. Giving individuals a crucial chance to continue their fitness journey and feel even closer to the community.
Giving people the opportunity to engage in fitness is beneficial in many areas of life. We have already seen improvements in mental and social health – as access to the centre and its activities have given visitors a stroke of happiness, support, and optimism.
Our gym’s General Manager, Paul Sanderson, commented:
“Seeing the reaction of the players coming into the gym has been fantastic, and our members have been extremely welcoming. We see the benefit of exercise day in and day out so it’s wonderful to be able to extend the offer to Street Soccer players. We look forward to welcoming them throughout 2023 and working in partnership to support them on their fitness journey.”
Robbie Wood, Street Soccer’s programme manager for Edinburgh, said:
“The reaction from the players when we told them they would have access to the gym was one of complete surprise, and then real excitement. We talk a lot about the benefit of fitness on not only physical health, but mental health too, so the offer from Places Gym is greatly appreciated.
The gym is extremely accessible for many of our players in the community and they can’t wait to start using all of the equipment, the benefits of which we expect to see on and off the pitch.”
Mr Wood added:
“Many of our players face social isolation, so getting out of the house and trying something new can be a big step. The gym has been incredibly supportive so far, from offering our single-parent families the chance to bring their children with them, encouraging players to work out together, to giving access to our volunteers who are not only a friendly face for our players, but mentors to many across our community projects.”