Sian Pettman, Friends of Kingsmead Field
Kingsmead Park has been run by a voluntary group since 2015, when the group saved the field from residential development. The Friends of Kingsmead Park wanted to continue their enhancements of the Field by offering fitness facilities at their park. Working closely with Canterbury City Council they approached Fresh Air Fitness for specialist advice on their project.
After an initial site visit and further discussions to fully understand the projects requirements, a Big Rig and 6 piece outdoor gym were proposed. This 25 user gym would provide a fully functional fitness facility, including a good range of cardio and strength training equipment and an inclusive piece to cater for a broad range of ages and abilities. Funding the project would be the biggest challenge, and so fundraising began.
The Friends chose to have the 6 pieces of outdoor gym equipment produced in the same colours as the Big Rig. The equipment was installed into the Field with rubber mats to protect the grass from heavy footfall around the fitness area.
The gym offers solutions for cardio and strength training, as well as opportunities to develop balance and flexibility, improve mobility in joints and options for disability fitness with our Arm and Pedal Bike designed specifically for wheelchair users.
To open the gym successfully within the community, a programme of activities was organised. Starting with a celebratory launch event, well attended by councillors, members of the community and local press. Fitness sessions were also held, run by Fresh Air Fitness, to ensure people would use the equipment with confidence and learn how to meet their personal fitness goals. These saw a wonderful turnout, with a variety of age groups and abilities in attendance.
And to support the community in using the facility further, Friends of Kingsmead Park made full use of the video library provided by Fresh Air Fitness. Adding a dedicated page to their website, the community can watch the how-to videos at their leisure, before arriving at the park, or during use.
The site is already seeing a lot of use as they welcome individuals, groups and training sessions for the whole community. It has made a hugely positive impact, getting the community together and helping people to get fitter at the same time. The £20,000 project was funded by Canterbury City Council, the Friends of Kingsmead Field, the Kent County Playing Fields Association and former Kent County councillor Graham Gibbens.