The Good Gym
What’s your idea?
People all over Britain run, jog and lift weights and achieve nothing particularly useful. The Good Gym aims to make it easy for people to channel this energy toward social good. The project will set up a framework for people to integrate brief visits to isolated older people and the delivery of useful items to good causes/ dependant individuals into their exercise routines.
The project aims to provide lonely housebound older people with regular human contact and to provide motivation for people to run and get fit.
What is the social need or challenge your idea could address?
Loneliness and isolation are some of the biggest challenges faced by older people in Britain face today. Research released by Help the Aged last week states that nearly half a million pensioners only leave their houses once a week, a further 300,000 are entirely housebound; overall a million old people in the UK are suffering the misery of loneliness.
The Good Gym aims to make a small contribution to resolving this problem by providing regular, friendly human contact.
What’s really new about your idea?
Instead of starting from the point of view of the social challenge this project starts with the needs to the volunteer, the runner. It aims to make it as easy as possible for them to change their behaviour to incorporate socially beneficial action into their daily life. By doing so it will engage many more people than traditional forms of volunteering.
This project is unique because of the way it approaches volunteering and the social challenge. It’s an unusual collaboration between older people and fitness enthusiasts.
What inspired you to come up with your idea in the first place?
I’m not very good at running for the sake of it, I need a good reason to get out there and do it. So I thought that helping people might be a good way of motivating me to give it a go. Also, I’m a bit annoyed by gyms, they’re a waste of energy and people generally moan about them or don’t go. Or both.
It seems ridiculous that in cities in which people live so close to each other, people are still lonely and isolated. I’m excited by the idea of setting up relationships between people who live close to each other but who would not normally have a reason to interact.
From 1-5, what stage of development would you say your idea was in?
What can we do for you?
I would like to meet a group of exciting people with the enthusiasm and right skills to push this forward in a big way. Most important: mentoring for this project would be extremely valuable, someone to help setup the infrastructure of the project would be great.
A geek is very important: this could really expand the reach and capability of the project. A funder is not so important: in time funding would be good but not essential at this stage.
If Social Innovation Camp is able to help push your idea forward, do you have the time or desire to take ownership of it?
Yes, with a bit of help.
This idea was submitted by Ivo Gormley.
Ivo works at thinkpublic. He likes to read about things on the internet, make documentary films and walk up big hills.