WHEN Rage Fitness Company held its first fitness class one year ago, there were just three members and the club had to borrow a skipping rope and a couple of dumbbells.
But 12 months on, the club has thrived in helping people in and around the Blacon community get fitter and healthier and has around 200 members.
Now, as Rage Fitness Company (RFC) celebrated its first birthday with VIPs and a party late September 2019, a brand new, state-of-the-art community gym has opened its doors at Blacon Adventure Playground.
The new gym – filled with top-quality equipment and suitable for a range of classes including high-intensity interval training, boxercise, military circuits and Zumba. Featuring a wide variety of state-of-the-art equipment, including one of the largest functional fitness tracks in the UK, the gym welcomes people of all ages and abilities, with support and training on offer from Rage’s team of expert instructors.
RFC has worked with the NHS and community safety wardens to improve people’s physical and mental well-being, as well as cutting down on potential anti-social behaviour in the area through crime prevention and intervention initiatives.
RFC CEO Craig Brown explained: “We had been very narrow in our delivery. At first it was people who were brand new to exercise, then we expanded to older people, to disabled people, and to young people.”
“But now this gym caters to all, for those aged five and up, and for people who are afraid of the gyms, we always offer that one-to-one support. We have a range of programmes on offer and it’s tailored support all for free, unlike other commercial gyms.”
“Whether it’s six weeks or two years, we can put you on a programme and check in after a few classes and see how you’re getting on.”
RFC has been helping those of all ages, including 12-year-old Upton High School pupil Luca Apollonio, who officially opened the new community gym.
Just before cutting the ribbon, the Year 8 pupil gave a speech to the VIPs in attendance, in which he explained how RFC had improved his self-confidence.
He said: “Before I came I was very shy and anxious. The first time I went to a class I just watched, but the second time I went in and did it.
“You can forget about what’s happened in your day and you can step in and have fun.”
The club has sponsored Blacon Youth FC, providing the team with kit and badges, and is looking to raise funds so the squad can travel to take part in tournaments.
Chris Leicester, neighbourhood partnership manager at Avenue Services, said: “We have been looking for a community gym for some time now. It’s something we wanted to do but we didn’t have the premises, so it’s a great partnership.
“Craig has the charisma and the skills to tackle obesity, mental health, well-being and target it at young people.
“It helps improve the lives of all; anti-social behaviour is dropping, community cohesion is improving.”
Speaking at the launch, Paul Knight, head of Avenue Services, said: “It’s quite an emotional day for staff because of the amount of time and effort taken.
“It has been a total partnership and we know we are going into bigger and better things. It’s not just there to make money, it’s about the impact and social value it will have.”
Sandra Hewitt, neighbourhood and Blacon Adventure Playground manager, added: “It’s a great community link, it’s great for creating opportunities. Ultimately, and it might sound a little cliché, but we are building a better Blacon.
“I think we are the richest of all the communities because of our community spirit.”
RFC are finalist for numerous awards for helping children get physically and mentally fit and will find out if it has clinched the accolade(s) end of the year.
For more information, visit www.ragefitnesscompany.com.