Wasps players open Coventry gym for the homeless

Wasps stars have been passing on health and fitness tips to users of a new Coventry gym that is dedicated to the homeless community.

A gym made up of a treadmill, exercise bike, max trainer, two rowing machines and a multigym, has been funded and installed by social housing provider Citizen at their Gateway hostel in Adelaide Street.

The Gateway is owned and managed by Citizen, with the Salvation Army providing practical and emotional support to up to 60 residents at the hostel who are experiencing mental health issues and homelessness.

And to mark the grand opening, Wasps’ Tom Willis and Owain James took time out from training to mingle with residents and share ways that they could maximise their use of the gym.

Citizen’s Housing Support Manager, Gail Cooper, said: “Thanks so much Tom and Owain for making our gym opening extra special for residents.

“The gym opening is so important to us as we believe it will really help both the physical and mental wellbeing of our residents at the Gateway.

“It’s very exciting that it’s now officially open and I’m sure our residents will be taking full advantage of the facilities after receiving some tips from Tom and Owain. We really appreciate it.”

Wasps back-row Willis added: “I think this is a great idea by the hostel to introduce the gym as exercise can really help to boost mood and motivation – which are two key ingredients for anyone who is trying to overcome any form of adversity.

“Myself and Owain had a brilliant time offering ideas to the residents on how they can use the gym to improve a basic level of fitness – such as slowly building up their cardiovascular exercises using the treadmill or rowing machine, or advising how many reps they should be doing at a time with the multigym equipment to build up their core strength.

“We also discussed the best carbohydrates to eat prior to a workout and which protein foods would help to recover afterwards to give them a well-rounded diet.

“It was a pleasure to meet everyone and we both walked away feeling like we’d made a real difference to the group, and hope that the gym can help spur them to stay focused and positive as they prepare for their next step in life.”

Gateway resident, Gabriel Chivesa, added: “The new gym is fantastic.

“It’s going to be great to put health and wellbeing front and centre at the Gateway.

“Thanks to Tom and Owain for showing us all the equipment. They had some great tips and I think I gave Tom a run for his money on the rowing machine!

“I’m really looking forward to using the gym and getting active from now on.”