Outdoor gyms press ahead with latest fitness funding

A fitness trail at Blackbird Leys Park is almost complete

Blackbird Leys Parish Council chairman Gordon Roper

First published in News The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Blackbird Leys and Greater Leys. Call me on 01865 425403

A PARK in Blackbird Leys has been awarded £16,000 to complete a trio of fitness trail refurbishments.

Gillians Park, off Dunnock Way, has been awarded the grant, which will go towards installing outdoor gym stations and finishing off green space upgrades across the neighbourhood.

It is the third park in the area to receive funding for fitness equipment from WREN, a not-for-profit business which gives out money from landfill tax credits to good causes.

Blackbird Leys Park received £50,000 from the organisation in September 2012 and Spindleberry Park was given £60,000 in August last year.

Chairman of Blackbird Leys Parish Council, Gordon Roper, said: “The equipment will go around the park so people who are jogging can do push-ups, or arm presses or whatever.”

The stations will have signs showing people how to use the equipment, and distance markers along the routes will help to measure how far people have run.

The Gillians Park trail will have signposted links to the complementary trails at Blackbird Leys Park, on Pegasus Road, and Spindleberry Park, on the other side of Dunnock Way.

The route around Gillians Park will be about 1.25km long, and the trail reaches 5km through the three parks.

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Blackbird Leys Park’s exercise trail is almost complete, and all three are due to be finished by the autumn.

Mr Roper said: “We’ve already got the stations going in Blackbird Leys Park, that’s nearly done.

“It’s being used already and people are enjoying it.”

Oxford City councillor for Northfield Brook, Scott Seamons, said: “It’s brilliant. We need to make the most of our green spaces.

“It’ll also get people out and active, which is great.”

Environmental charity Groundwork South put in a bid for £20,000 of funding from WREN on behalf of Oxford City Council and Blackbird Leys Parish Council.

Oxford City Council will make up the £4,000 difference that WREN did not fund, out of its £160,000 Go Active Fitness Trail Programme, which will introduce fitness trails into seven parks around Oxford.

Consultation for Spindleberry Park’s fitness trail is ongoing.

To have a say, call Rob Tilley on 07540 126 810 or e-mail robert.tilley@groundwork.org.uk

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