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Dylan Godfrey (aged 12) from Thistley Hough Academy, Charlie Ranford (aged 10) from The Willows Primary School, Madeleine Warrilow (aged 10) from The Willows and Emma Bowers (aged 12) from Thistley Hough Academy

New outdoor gym opens in Penkhull

Residents and students enjoy the Lottery funded equipment

Posted by Hannah Vickers | February 16, 2017 | Health & wellbeing

Community groups, residents and students are set to benefit from a newly opened Lottery funded outdoor gym situated at Thistley Hough Academy in Penkhull, Stoke-on-Trent.

The fixed fitness circuit was installed on a former tennis court at the school following a successful bid for funding was made by the Academy last year, and is open to all outside of school hours and to Academy students and pupils from their feeder schools during the daytime.

Dr Charles Pantin, vice chairman of governors at Thistley Hough Academy and chairman of Penkhull Residents’ Association, said: “This is an excellent addition to the village and it was very kind of the Academy to open it up to public use. 

“We get runners coming through the village every day, so now they can drop in and do some strength work on their legs and arms, and it’s sturdy equipment which is totally free to use and suitable for most people. 

Having worked as a respiratory physician, I’m all too aware that exercise is something we must encourage at all ages, and if this gets both children and residents in the area doing that, then it can only be a good thing - Dr Charles Pantin, vice chairman of governors at Thistley Hough Academy

“Having worked as a respiratory physician, I’m all too aware that exercise is something we must encourage at all ages, and if this gets both children and residents in the area doing that, then it can only be a good thing.”

Mike Willis, community governor at the Academy and member of Penkhull Residents Association, said: “I think this facility will be well used, particularly as it has its own entrance gate onto the street so residents can drop in easily and it’s well within walking distance for them.

“None of the kit is too tough, so everyone should be able to enjoy going round the circuit and keeping fit, as we have a mixed community here of all ages and lots of mums who hopefully will come down and have fun using it alongside their children when it’s open.”

Academy students and pupils from The Willows Primary School in Penkhull had a chance to put the new equipment to the test. Among then was Dylan Godfrey, aged 12, from Penkhull, who said: “I’ve had a go on all of them and I like them all, it’s fun to use and it makes you fit as some of them are quite tough.

“I think I will come outside of school time as well to use it, as I like sport and I play in a football team at weekends. It’s important to have a healthy life.”

It’s great that this encourages exercise for everyone, not just the school - Emma Bowers, aged 12, from Hartshill

Emma Bowers, aged 12, from Hartshill, said: “I really enjoy the double airwalkers, they’re my favourite, and I think anyone could use them.

“It’s great that this encourages exercise for everyone, not just the school. I will come and use it outside of school time as well.”

Steph Smalley, PE Co-ordinator at The Willows Primary School, said: “I think the equipment is great and it will be wonderful to bring children down here to use it as we have nothing like this at school.

“The pupils we’ve brought down to try it so far have absolutely loved it and are asking when they can come again, and I’ve no doubt lots of them will come down with their parents as well.

“Our Key Stage 2 children could definitely use it and use the rest of the space to do other activities like skipping for example, as we can easily fit a class of 30 in there.”

Ian Brailsford, assistant principal at the Academy, said the project was the result of 12-months work to secure Lottery funding

He added: “The Healthy Outdoor Project is a community project which we’re delighted to be able to offer.

 “It is one of several projects we’re doing as part of our drive as an Academy towards encouraging our students towards a healthy lifestyle.

“For example, last year we launched Thistley Active, our programme of enrichment and extra-curricular activities which offers students more than 50 clubs and activities to take part in during their lunchtime or after school. 

“This facility will be open to everyone outside of schools hours, so from 7am-8:40am, and then from 3.30pm until we lock up at night, and as it is fully enclosed so everyone should feel safe using it and we hope it will be well used.”

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