Chance to get fit and help the environment in Norwich

People in Norwich are being encouraged to get fit while helping the environment with the city's green gym.

The outdoor gym which gives people the chance to improve their health by getting involved in conservation projects was set up by the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) in 2007 and known as a BTCV Green Gym.

Yesterday its volunteer members officially took over the running of the project which has been renamed Norwich Community Green Gym – and they urged other people join them in their quest to get fit and help the environment.

At yesterday's launch event at St James' Hill, Marya Parker from BTCV handed over the project by presenting Ernie Woodrow, the group coordinator, with a golden spade.

She spoke of how the project had become a highly successful, award-winning gym, helped by funding from a variety of organisations, and she said the volunteers taking over the project were a dynamic and talented team.

Mr Woodrow, 61 and from Mile Cross, has been part of the gym for 17 months. He said the project has helped him deal with his arthritis, as well as helped him make new friends, and enabled him to play a part in preserving the city's green spaces.

'I have met some great people and we have made a real difference to our local environment. We would love other people to join us too,' he said.

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He described taking over the project was a great opportunity for the volunteers to take responsibility for their gym and become even more involved.

Will Stewart, one of Norwich City Council's Mousehold Heath wardens, said the gym had played a vital role in managing the heath by doing heathland restoration work, footpath maintenance and wildlife surveys.

'We are delighted that Norwich Community Green Gym is able to continue this good work, to help conserve the city's diverse landscapes and biodiversity for future generations to enjoy,' he said.

Other places the gym has done conservation work include Marston Marsh, Lion Wood at Pilling Park and Whitlingham Broad. The gym also has allotments at Sycamore Cresent.

The gym, which is free to join, meets on Sunday, Monday and Wednesday afternoons. For more information ring 01603 767300 or email

Are you involved in a community project? Contact reporter Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email