Eastern Suburbs Sydney
Sydney's homeless offered free gym and fitness classes
Homeless youth sleeping rough
The City of Sydney outreach gym program also includes people experiencing mental illness.
City of Sydney Recreation Officer Christophe Beaulieu the Juanita Nielsen Community Centre at Woolloomooloo seven years ago is behind the City's homeless fitness initiative which has aready been taken up by hundreds of people from including those being helped by Matthew Talbot Hostel in Woolloomooloo, Surry Hills' Buckingham House, Samaritan House and Mission Australia.
"It's not just the physical health we're interested in; there are countless benefits for participants such as a feeling of wellbeing, a sense of control over their lives or just a confidence boost. With a healthy lifestyle comes a healthy mind," said Christophe Beaulieu.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said people from all parts of the community deserved to have healthy lives and that for some, this regular exercise and a sense of acceptance is a small but important step in helping rebuild their confidence and their lives.
Participants in the City of Sydney fitness program receive 20 free passes and individually catered programs that included a combination of cardiovascular, strength conditioning and flexibility exercises.
The Juanita Nielsen Community Centre also offers the local community fitness programs, children's after school care, youth programs and art classes.
To help address the needs of people experiencing homelessness, the City of Sydney also has a dedicated Homelessness Unit - Australia's only local council to do so.
Mr Beaulieu said he had witnessed countless people who were once experiencing homelessness or drug and alcohol problems, join the gym "to later find their footsteps back in to work, housing and a regular stable and healthy routine."
David Murphy, Program Coordinator at Matthew Talbot Homeless Services, said people who used the outreach gym program experienced improved health and an increase in self esteem.
"We are very grateful for the service and care with which the centre treats our clients, many of whom are rough sleepers and residents of the hostel," Mr Murphy said.
What do you think of the idea of homeless being given free fitness classes? Should this program be extended elsewhere?
By City of Sydney & Streetcorner
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