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Forres Sports Hub and Forres Community Council aim to set up outdoor gym for community use near Forres Academy


By Garry McCartney

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Forres Community Council chairwoman Kathleen Robertson and Forres Sports Hub chairwoman and Principal Teacher at Forres Academy Ann Rossiter at the preferred site.
Forres Community Council chairwoman Kathleen Robertson and Forres Sports Hub chairwoman and Principal Teacher at Forres Academy Ann Rossiter at the preferred site.

COMMUNITY groups are aiming to have an outdoor gym set up in Forres by the end of the year.

Following the Planning for Real and Forres 2020 Vision public consultations of 2015 and 2017 which identified a need for such a facility for the wider community, Forres Sports Hub, Forres Community Council (FCC) and Forres Academy have been working in partnership to identify what equipment is required, and to source funding.

Hub chairwoman and Principal Teacher at Forres Academy, Ann Rossiter, confirmed initial meetings have taken place and the project has the support of Moray Council officers who are guiding the process.

She said: "A free and easily accessible outdoor gym will enrich users' health and wellbeing. The facility will also assist rehabilitation and provide outdoor space for physical education.

"Our joint partnership allows for a more sustainable management approach. We are confirming a suitable location for maximum usage and accessibility, maintenance of equipment and surface area, and which facilitates public liability insurance cover."

FCC chairwoman Kathleen Robertson added: "Our partnership facilitates applications to funding bodies which we hope to harness in the coming months. We are hopeful that the project can be concluded by December 2022."

A 'Big Rig' offers a creative body-weight workout.
A 'Big Rig' offers a creative body-weight workout.

The gym team hopes to install a 'big rig' set up on the grassed area beside the Academy car park, currently used for PE shot put and long jump.

However, the equipment will be free for the entire community to use.

The set-up they are aiming for offers multiple bodyweight training options and opportunities to build strength, stretch and tone.

"We need community engagement to confirm this is what best meets local needs," said Ann. "We think it would potentially be cheaper to install than individual stations.

"We are completing grant applications and will fundraise - Moray Council and FCC will share ongoing liabilities but we are also looking to start up a crowdfunding page to support its maintenance."

The project team has been advised to launch a public survey at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/JFMJBLB to help ascertain what is required.

"Development is still in the early days," said Ann, "and stages of the process must still be navigated to meet Moray Council's criteria for such a community project."

A Moray Council spokeswoman added: "An outdoor gym for Forres is in the planning stages. The business plan is currently being worked on. We will be in a position to update further once all the paperwork is in place."



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