Outdoor gym plan for North Walsham park

Those striving to keep new year 'get fit' resolutions will soon benefit from a helping hand in North Walsham where an outdoor gym is planned.

Town councillors are hoping to install the first two pieces of equipment on North Walsham Memorial Park early in the new year after a year-long struggle for funding.

The council has managed to raise �2,500 towards its �10,000 target for five pieces of equipment and is hoping North Walsham-based regeneration group the Griffon Area Partnership (GAP) will stump up a further �500 so that there is enough in the kitty for an air skier and elliptical cross trainer to launch the project.

If GAP was unable to help, the town council had agreed to fund the shortfall up to �500, according to councillor Chris Allen who has masterminded the project.

Outdoor gyms were well-established on the continent and were beginning to appear in Norfolk, with equipment already installed in communities including Bodham and Dereham, according to Mr Allen.

Although the concept ticked all the government's health and fitness boxes, it had proved very difficult to raise the full amount.

The town council had been awarded �2,500 from the Your Parish Your Decision fund last March after giving a successful presentation to fellow councillors from parishes across Norfolk.

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But subsequent funding applications to Awards for All, North Norfolk Community Partnership, People's Millions, Active Norfolk, the primary care trust and two businesses had all been unsuccessful.

'We will get there in the end - we are certainly not giving up. We can start with these two pieces and add to them in the future as money becomes available,' said Mr Allen.

Both the air skier and elliptical cross trainer exercised the legs and the trainer also worked the arms, he added.

Hoped-for future additions would include a pull-down challenger aimed at developing the upper body muscles.