Holt youth project opens new gym facility

Richard BatsonAn award-winning youth project is flexing its muscles by opening a new gym to help keep local young people fit and boost their confidence.The Health Hut is the latest venture by the Holt Youth Project, whose success story was a major factor in the town's winning an accolade in the EDP Pride in Norfolk awards.Richard Batson

An award-winning youth project is flexing its muscles by opening a new gym to help keep young people fit and boost their confidence.

The Health Hut is the latest venture by the Holt Youth Project, whose success story was a major factor in the town's winning an accolade in the EDP Pride in Norfolk awards.

Like most of the services at the centre, it has sprung from the wishes of the young members.

But it escalated from buying a few bits of kit to be used in the sports hall for a couple of thousand pounds, to a purpose-built �56,000 annexe with �22,000 of the latest gear.


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Rowing machines, treadmills to boost the heart and lungs, and weight-lifting gear to build up muscles are aimed at the 17-year-old-plus people, who have not got the income or transport needed to use health club gyms.

Project manager Julie Alford said it was part of the project's ongoing initiative to encourage healthy lifestyles among young people.

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It started with mini gym sessions for toddlers in a bid to stop obesity, to sporting activities such as football and badminton, through to the centre's own cycling scheme, and outings such as a potholing and climbing trip to the Peak district.

'We also grow food on our allotment, and have been running ready, steady cook workshops to teach 11 to 19-year-olds how to cook healthy meals instead of living off convenience food,' she added.

Funding had come from the Norfolk Youth Fund, the county community foundation, along with other donations and local fundraising over about three years.

Youth worker Jamie Merritt, who has taken an instructor's course, said the young people 'felt better about themselves and have more energy and motivation,' while it also boosted the confidence of some special needs members.

Louise Godfrey, 20, who has used the centre since she was 11 and is now a youth worker there, said: 'I have no transport and cannot afford a gym, so this is brilliant.'

The Health Hut will be officially opened on February 27.

To find out more about the gym and project, call 01263 710918.

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