VERITY LUSH: A gym that's good for you and the community

GoodGym started this week, led by local lady, Katie Carew-Robinson.

Friday, 11th May 2018, 5:00 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 1:31 am
Runners at the launch of the new GoodGym Portsmouth - which combines exercise with good deeds. Picture: Portsmouth City Council

These have popped up around the country but have little in common with ‘gyms’ as we know them, aside from fitness.

Instead of being inside, you are – for at least part of your ‘workout’ – outdoors.

Members meet at a pre-arranged spot and then run to a local place.

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This could be, for example, the home of an isolated older person, a hospital, or a residential centre.

Once there, everybody chips in and helps out with a specific task, therefore aiding the community.

So, in a short space of time, you benefit your own physical fitness, the community around you, and also your own mental health, via the feel-good benefit of not only exercise, but the pleasure in knowing you’ve contributed to the needs of your local area.

Once the task is complete, members then run back to the starting point.

This in turn does, of course, have its own little butterfly effect. The first GoodGym meet for Portsmouth took place on Wednesday, with more than 30 people meeting at Fratton Community Centre at 6.15pm, which is to be the regular starting spot.

They then ran 1.5km (a distance that beginners can manage and more experienced runners can enjoy), to Manor Infant School and Nursery.

Once at the school, the guys helped out with the community garden that is based in the grounds, and even painted some fences.

Subsequently, this will have a positive effect for the children at that school.

So the ripples sent out by one good turn, or even of simply looking after your own health, spread far and wide. We all know better health equals less stress on the NHS (its finances and its staff), and the ability to socialise, meet new people, and become involved in areas of the city that you would never usually have any impact on, is hugely beneficial.

If you’d like to join in, then you can sign-up at

There is also a Facebook page for the Portsmouth group and details of each week’s run and community project can be found on there.


The war on plastic continues. Several companies that I follow on social media have begun using paper tape for parcels, as opposed to plastic, and straws galore have been swapped for paper equivalents.

I’ve always thought that the paper bags used by various food stores in the US were a great idea in terms of being recyclable, and never understood why this was not a practice that we adopted in the UK.

Given that we’ve merrily taken on the concept of The Prom (money, money, money), and Halloween (money, money, money), why not strong paper bags for shopping?

Ah, of course, no money, money, money!

Not something that’s marketable, is it?

And it’s certainly not going to rake in the big time profits of a party dress and a limo.


Did you know that such things as ghost towns really exist in the USA?

Little towns, off the beaten track and leading to nowhere, pepper the old mining areas that were long since abandoned, such as Bodie in California.

In Bodie, even the tables lay set for dinner, and shops are still filled with supplies, yet have stood, untouched, for more than 150 years.

Left, as if in the middle of life, but not returned to.

Towns such as these popped up in response to the Gold Rush and then fell back down, deserted, just as soon as nothing further in the way of precious metal could be mined.

A decent metaphor for Commercial Road, Portsmouth, if shops don’t start moving in and replacing the ones that have closed.