DOUBLE GONG:Anytime Fitness team Sadie Firth, Kathryn Langford, Jonathan Collen, Jenny Ryder and Brooke Robinson celebrate winning Anytime Fitness' Community Hero award for the second year running.
DOUBLE GONG:Anytime Fitness team Sadie Firth, Kathryn Langford, Jonathan Collen, Jenny Ryder and Brooke Robinson celebrate winning Anytime Fitness' Community Hero award for the second year running. Adam Hourigan

Gym's community spirit rewarded

FOR Anytime Fitness owners Kathryn Langford and Jenny Ryder, being part of their local community is much more than a good business decision.

"Everything comes from the heart and it's about making a difference to people's lives," Ms Ryder said. "We do it because we want it to mean something."

It is an approach that has attracted attention across the nation, as the Grafton gym took out the Community Hero award for the second time at the Anytime Fitness awards, held in Sydney last weekend.

"It's the second year in a row we've won it which has never been done before," Ms Langford said.

"And with 500 gyms across the country it's a national awards... and we are getting gyms with huge memberships in the cities coming to us asking us how we do it."

Some of the community based programs the gym has run included going to nursing homes and running gentle exercise for those in wheelchairs and in bed, a schools program for senior sport students to use the gym, involvement with community events such as dragonboating and TAFE markets and taking members of the community to the obstacle course circuit throughout the year.

They even have banded together to help members of the community in hardship, buying a new bike for a well-known local when his only form of transport was stolen, and holding classes at Coutts Crossing to raise money for the drought appeal.

"We've had the gym for two years now, and won this award two years in a row, and from the start we didn't want this to be an ordinary gym," Ms Langford said.

"We want it to be a place where anyone belongs, and the only way to do it is get out in the community and talk to and help other people.

"We're average people. We struggle with our weight, we've got injuries, we're just every day people and that's who we're trying to attract."



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