Hartlepool homeless centre residents welcome creation of their own gym

Gym opens at Hartlepool homeless service. Residents Curtis Duke and Amy Summers try out the new equipment.
Gym opens at Hartlepool homeless service. Residents Curtis Duke and Amy Summers try out the new equipment.

A supported housing scheme in Hartlepool has transformed a former storage room into a free on-site gym and games room for the young people it supports.

The new facilities at Sanctuary Supported Living, in Victoria Road, have been designed to motivate residents who want to lead a healthier lifestyle and develop the skills and confidence they need to live independently.

Pop icons chosen by residents at Sanctuary were created by art students Jasmine Yahkup and Rachel Wilkinson.

Pop icons chosen by residents at Sanctuary were created by art students Jasmine Yahkup and Rachel Wilkinson.

Thirteen residents aged between 16 and 25, who have faced homelessness or were at risk of being homeless, now have access to equipment including a step machine, treadmill, vibration board, exercise bike and punch bag.

Most items were purchased at discounted prices from the British Heart Foundation charity shop and the bike was donated by local firm, Censis Accountants.

Many other charitable donations have been received from other local businesses.

Murals of famous musicians have been painted on the walls by talented art students Jasmine Yahkup and Rachel Wilkinson from the Northern School of Art.

Resident Curtis Duke said: “The gym will be very popular because it gives us more to do instead of sitting in our rooms watching TV.

“It gives people more structure to their daily lives.”

The pop art portraits were chosen by residents and include significant lyrics to inspire positivity.

One wall features a large painting of a tiger by Jasmine and Rachel which symbolises the ‘eye of the tiger’ from the film Rocky III representing the underdog nobody expected to win.

Peter Butler, support assistant and project lead at Sanctuary, said: “Residents want to lead a healthy lifestyle but gym memberships can be expensive and unrealistic.

“A gym within their home will make a huge difference to both physical and mental health.

“We would like to thank everyone who has contributed, whether that’s with their time, talent or donations.

“I am proud to be part of such a dedicated team who have worked together to make this dream a reality for our young people.”