A resident at a mental health care home in the south west has created a unique exercise facility – a gym housed in a shed.
The gym at Felix House, a home that supports adults with complex mental health needs, was officially opened by John Penrose, Conservative MP for Weston-super-Mare, in a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday. It will now be used by residents at the Weston-super-Mare home to improve their health and wellbeing.
“Everybody has said they want to use it,” said Home Manager Sharon Dyke. “People living here don’t feel confident enough to access the local gym so we hope our gym will encourage everyone to be active and help build their confidence too.”
The facility was created after residents held a consultation where they decided to give up an old smoking shed and replace it with a gym. One resident then spent six months converting the shed. This included them painting, laying flooring, and installing exercise machines.
“It was a complete renovation,” said the resident, who does not wish to be named. “It was an awful place before, full of smoke-stained walls and grubby chairs. I just slowly transformed everything, which has given me a sense of achievement. It’s my way of being creative and it’s quite therapeutic too.”
The gym now features a variety of equipment to appeal to everyone, no matter what their level of ability is. There is a cross trainer, rowing machine, exercise balls, a spinning bike and even hula hoops for a bit of fun.
The resident has also transformed the garden around the gym, adding a herb garden and fruit trees. In the summer he said it is hoped that the gym can even extend into the outdoors, with crash mats provided for people to stretch or do yoga in the garden.
Staff at the home plan to hold workshops on health and wellbeing that incorporate the gym and will support residents to use it. The home – which is run by the charity Milestones Trust – also encourages wellbeing and positive mental health with a therapy room in a second shed in the garden. This was converted from a workshop by the resident too.