Gym action benefits local youth programmes

By ILONA HANNE

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Going to the gym can be tough, and it can be tempting to skip a class and stay on the couch instead at times.

Now a Stratford gym, The Lions Den Gym and Fitness Centre, is offering an extra incentive to sweat it instead of skip it. "If you feel like you can't do it for yourself, you can remind yourself you are doing it for someone else who needs this more than you," says Simon Howard, general manager of Tutaki Youth Inc.

The incentive, he explains, is from knowing your membership fees at the gym go towards helping resource the charitable works Tutaki Youth Inc offers to the community. "Tutaki Youth Inc receives funding from a variety of sources. Profits from The Lions Den, our gym next door, coming to us helps us be a little less reliant on some of the funding."

Tutaki Youth Inc delivers a range of programmes for young people, offering everything from social and health services through to mentoring and anti bullying programmes run at local schools. "It may seem an odd fit at first, a gym and a place where we are involved in the fight against domestic violence for example, but actually they sit well together. We are at our strongest when we work together as a community, and the gym offers people a chance to support the work of Tutaki while benefiting themselves by improving their fitness."

Simon says more ideas are in the pipeline for offering people the opportunity to support Tutaki. "We are looking at a 'friends of Tutaki' idea for example. The focus is on finding ways to reduce our reliance on community grants and government funding, without making cuts to the invaluable services we provide."

So next time your couch is looking more tempting than the gym, just remember "every bench press and every squat will be directly helping a young person in our community, and that is fantastic motivation".

- Stratford Press

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