A COMMUNITY group which helps the people of Barnsley while members try to keep fit themselves has been nominated for a Proud of Barnsley award.

GoodGym Barnsley is a group of local people who meet on a weekly basis to combine running and exercise with doing a number of different jobs for people in the community.

Every Tuesday evening at 6.30pm, members meet at Gateway Plaza and run to somewhere in the Barnsley area to help groups and charities.

They undertake all kinds of tasks, such as gardening, moving furniture, painting, cleaning windows, harvesting fruit, mopping, minor demolition, cleaning children’s toys, fundraising and litter picking.

When they’re done, after around 45 minutes of helping, they run back to their starting point - combining exercise and community work.

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“We meet at a set location - which is Gateway Plaza - and the fitness side to this group is that we run to wherever we are that day,” explains Grace Feeney, leader of GoodGym Barnsley.

“We’ll get to the community place, help them any way we can, and then run back to the Gateway.

“The hardest thing for us is to get people to know who we are.

“If more people know about us, more people will want us to get involved in helping them.

“I’m really pleased that we’ve been nominated - I couldn’t believe it.

“We help a variety of people and we go as far as we can run and it’s nice that someone has thought that we can be nominated.”

Over the past 12 months, GoodGym Barnsley has helped Friends of Locke Park, Barnsley Council, Carers Garden, Friends of Wilthorpe Park, Friends of Penny Pie Park, YMCA, Lavender Court Together Housing, New Lodge Community Centre, Park Run Barnsley, Hope In The Community, the homeless, Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, BSARCS, Trans Pennine Trail, Ardsley Park, BIADS, Worsbrough Common Community Centre, Emmanuel Church and Worsbrough Mill and Country Park.

In December 2008, the idea of GoodGym first arose out of frustration with normal gyms being a waste of energy and human potential.

After testing and developing the project, the idea was brought to life in September 2009, when it became a not-for-profit company.

“GoodGym got lottery funding to take the original idea to other towns around the UK,” added Grace.

“Barnsley Council approached GoodGym saying that they wanted it, and so it started here in August 2017.

“The council funded it for a year but going on from that, the funding was lost so we volunteered to keep the group going.

“We still sit under the logo but we’re purely doing it voluntarily.

“The role I have is normally paid, but I do it voluntarily.”