Pinxton Community Gymnasium in partnership with Pinxton Youth and Community Centre

History and background

For almost 35 years the community gymnasium in Pinxton, which covers the two parishes of Pinxton and South Normanton, has survived providing low cost, affordable facilities for people of most ages, abilities and circumstances that wish to maintain reasonable health and fitness. From its humble beginnings when a small group of volunteers coordinated the youth of the village into cleaning out an old disused classroom, decorating it and then carrying out a number of fundraising events, the group raised enough money to purchase some equipment and open the gym. It was an innovation at the time and well before partnership arrangements and `the big society` were the buzz words. The relationship between the local youth centre and the gym allowed facilities to develop and be successful, complimenting each other and ensuring diversity of facilities at the centre which has contributed to it being open today where many others have closed due to lack of use.

Occasionally, policy changes over the years have looked to threaten the gym’s survival but such was the resilience of its users that steps were taken to adapt and meet any policy changes. The committee reviews any potential problems with a view to addressing them on a priority basis, bearing in mind income and funding is limited due to our principals of providing affordable facilities for all and that we are all unpaid volunteers with limited time. Much of the original equipment has become a little dated over the years and steps have been taken to replace and improve the equipment and soon all the equipment will have been reviewed and updated where necessary, taking into consideration the diversity of the gym`s users. In 2003 the gym was fortunate enough to receive a grant from Voluntary Action Bolsover to help in its establishment. It’s very interesting to know that of all the grants given out at that time our gym at Pinxton is the only organisation still in existence today justifying the belief in our efforts and aims in providing this unique affordable facility in such a deprived area.

This wonderful injection of capital from Voluntary Action Bolsover, which was the only grant received by the gym at that time, reconfirmed people still had faith in our continuing project and that we were worthy of support based on our previous commitment. Continually plans are being put into action to redress any problems or concerns, with whatever budget is available and taking short medium and long term aims into consideration. Volunteer and member enthusiasm remains on a high, especially with the possibility of improvements to the facilities available. We have realised that with prudent, sensible purchasing we can maximise the use of our funds and are looking to further develop the cardio vascular section of the gym which is so desperately needed in today’s society. Not everything that’s planned falls into place quickly but with persistence and dedication from its members and the community everything eventually falls into place and we will progress further. This progression within the available facilities and the arrival of further equipment have led to even more enthusiasm with its membership being contained around 180 and is still probably the most popular facility in the village with regard to its membership and user numbers .

The informal partnership arrangements with the youth centre and its team has enabled us to not only improve our facilities beyond our original expectation but has also acted as a catalyst within the group stimulating enthusiasm to continue further development for the future within the community. We are very proud of our achievements and still stick to our simple aims of providing affordable facilities to all, from young to old, our oldest members being in their 70`s. Our membership is less than £1 per week and is currently represented by male, female, young, elderly, disabled, ethnic groups, employed and unemployed and there are more wishing to join. We have recently looked towards further diversity with parent and student sessions in an effort to get more family involvement, doing a regular healthy exercise regime and hopefully developing a more respectful, mature and healthy attitude in society. The gym is always approachable for discussion should there be anyone wishing to use the facility to benefit other problem areas if the need should arise.

Our most recent successful projects include an extension to the facility by encasing an adjacent veranda and provide a loose weight, barbell and dumbbell area, construct some toilet facilities and provide ramps for ease of access, which we now have in use. We had been saving for this project for over 10 and greatly enhanced the gym`s facilities. Since then we have moved on to modernisation of the equipment in the gym and through prudent selling and buying have managed to get the majority of equipment on a stack system making it much easier for the members. One more recent contribution from the gym to the community was the support to the recent defibrillator scheme in which the gym purchased one of the recently installed life saving devices.

We firmly believe that we have created and have a unique and popular facility providing a service within the community for almost 35 years that is affordable to all. Without this many people could not afford the expensive and sometimes exorbitant prices charged by larger profit making organisations outside the village. As a result they would be denied the benefits this unique, affordable and wonderful facility has provided within our community for the last 34 years.

Membership to the gym runs for 12 months from April until March and numbers are limited. It is available only to residents of Pinxton and South Normanton who must apply in person with proof of address.