A NEW GYM has been created that combines fitness with helping the community.

GoodGym, which trains runners whilst also getting them involved in a variety of community activities, has recently opened a branch in Slough.

Based at the Salt Hill Activity Centre, the initiative has already had dozens of takers.

GoodGym group run leader Manjit Birk said: "We run one to five kilometers in each direction. Once we arrive at the mid-way point, we all participate in a community based task. One Monday, we ran two kilometers to our pre-arranged task, which was with the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust - cutting back brambles and clearing litter. We expected 20 to 35 people and got 29, so we had enough work for all the people there.

"We stayed there for about 30 minutes, then ran back. On the way back, we split into two teams – the faster runners and the slower ones who we called the 'Speedies' and the 'Steadies'. The Speedies had a two-minute penalty, so it inspired both teams to run a little faster. In all, we were out for about an hour and a half."

"We will also be doing 'Mission Runs' and 'Coach Runs', both of which are about helping out socially isolated older people in the community. For the 'Mission Runs', runners will go to the home of an isolated person to help them with a task such as mowing the lawn, then run back. 'Coach Runs' are about a runner regularly visiting the home of an older person, running there and back – we call them 'Coach Runs' because the older person acts as your coach, keeping track of your progress. The older people are referred to us by Slough CVS and Slough Borough Council."

The group runs take place from the Salt Hill Activity Centre every Monday at 6.30. To sign up for GoodGym, visit www.goodgym.org/areas/slough. Participation in the Mission and Coach runs will require a DBS check.