In a bid to increase awareness of community fitness and make positive impacts in local communities, Community Fitness Network launched the very first Community Fitness Week. The week, which ran from 4th – 10th November, encouraged local people to get active through their local group exercise classes but also created a huge surge in food bank donations across the country.
Community instructors from all regions signed up to the week, with the campaign for this year named #fitnessforfood. The instructors encouraged all class participants to bring along donations to their group exercise classes to later be donated to their local food bank. By the end of the week, 125,000 food parcels had been donated to nearly 400 food banks across the country by the #fitnessforfood campaign.
According to statistics from The Trussell Trust, there are currently 2,000 food banks in the UK and the number of distributed supplies has risen by 73% over the past five years. From April 2018 – March 2019, food banks in The Trussell Trust network distributed nearly 1.6m three-day emergency food supplies to people in crisis. This alone was a 19% increase from the previous year. The need for action and donations is clear.
Claire Goodliff, Managing Director of Community Fitness Network (the enterprise behind the week), explained “We’re incredibly proud of everything that has been achieved in our first Community Fitness Week. We’re delighted that so many people have been able to benefit from our campaign and it will truly make a difference to so many. We are not surprised by the results; community fitness instructors are no stranger to local causes and our fitness for food campaign has been met by them with great enthusiasm. These instructors are not only getting people active but breaking down barriers to participation in hard to reach areas and bringing many people out of isolation. The work they do cannot be underestimated in getting the nation active. We have already started planning for our 2020 campaign, which we aim to see one million food parcels delivered across the nation.”
The week was sponsored by booking management system fibido and supported by EMD UK, the national governing body for group exercise. EMD UK and Community Fitness Network collaborated to deliver a large donation of goods to Gateshead Food Bank. The donation included a variety of non-perishable food items, as well as baby essentials and period basics.
Brett Pearson, Head of Sales and Marketing, said “the week is a shining example of the importance of being community focussed, and your local exercise class is an important central point for involvement. The fact so many of our sector got behind this initiative is testament to the wider value exercise can bring to people, besides the obvious health benefits. If you want to get involved, take a look on our national search engine www.classfinder.org.uk to find a class near you and come and join in.”
To find out more about Community Fitness Network and their work, visit www.communityfitnessnetwork.org,
To find out more about EMD UK, the national governing body for group exercise, visit www.emduk.org.