An enterprising Rotherham mum is using her business skills honed as a personal fitness trainer and aerobics instructor to help strengthen a healthy sense of community.
Last year, Jodie Goodall swooped in to take over the lease of a long vacant community centre in the Brecks area of Rotherham and bring it back to life as a hub of activity – hosting everything from her own fitness classes to indoor bowls, craft clubs and charity events.
But now the hub on Brecks Crescent needs help if it is to continue to be a base for the local community.
Jodie, a director of the JRG Fitness and The Brecks Community Hub CIC, explained: “I used to hire the space for fitness classes and then the long-term tenant called time on their stewardship of the community centre and as a result of the pandemic the centre remained out of action for a few years.
“I’d always dreamed of owning my own gym and fitness centre so I swooped in and took on the lease of the building. Since then I have worked hard to bring the hub back to life and a centre for the community.”
Other uses include baby and toddler sessions, classes for yoga, pilates and karate, and a diabetes support group. It operates as a community interest company – a not-for-profit organisation with the money generated ploughed back into the Brecks Community Hub.
The Social Enterprise Exchange has provided support around structuring the business and help with finding funding. The ERDF-funded programme promotes social entrepreneurship and provides support for start-up and established social enterprises through grants, mentoring and specialist advice.
Jodie said: “It’s always been in my nature to help others. With the classes and the hub I like the fact that I’m bringing people in, bringing people together, using the space.”
Whilst rewarding, Jodie is conscious of the effect that taking on the management of a community centre alongside running her own business has had on her own health. She is looking for more volunteers to help keep the space open and available for the local community.
The Brecks community will be on hand to support new volunteers. Recent activity has seen a large overgrown area of the site cleared by a group of volunteers from Voluntary Action Rotherham – the idea is to create an area for a community of growers and gardeners. A skilled woodworker also volunteered their time to make a new bench for outside the centre.
Jodie concluded: “People really like the space and I always hear comments about how good it is to see it back open. We just need people to keep using it, and more groups to use it. And that means we need more volunteers.”
To find out more see www.thebreckshub.co.uk or call Jodie on 07910 647541.