Free to All Gym Opens in Norbury Park

The fifth and final outdoor gym in South London created by a charity dedicated to improving mental well-being has opened in Norbury Park, Croydon. Park users are the latest beneficiaries of a special collaborative project between the Matt Palmer Trust, Croydon Council and other charities. 

Since 2017 four other sites have opened: Goldcrest Way in New Addington, Grangewood Park in Thornton Heath, Purley Way Playing Fields in Waddon and King George’s Field in Selhurst.

Credit: Google image

This latest gym is like the others free to use and part of an initiative to encourage residents to lead healthy and active lifestyles.

Local residents and park users were given the opportunity to help decide the Outdoor Active Space’s location and equipment, which includes balance beams, a space walker, parallel bars and a body twister.

Becoming physically active in outdoor spaces, is a great distraction from daily stressors, according to the charity’s website.  Exercise is a powerful medicine, it says, especially for people with mental health challenges

The Matt Palmer Trust, which works on supporting the wellbeing of people of all ages in the UK and Ireland, funded the project with grants.  Equipping an outdoor gym typically costs around £100,000. The project in total cost nearly £500,000, with funding coming from the Trust, the council and public health funding.

The Matt Palmer Trust was set up approximately six years ago, in memory of a personal friend of the co-founders, Matt Palmer who suffered from depression.

Trust initiatives try to combat the stressful London routine and also “raise awareness of depression and provide the vital support needed to enjoy a strong mental well-being”.

Luke Davis, Chair of Trustees, told us: “We believe there is a really positive connection between healthy exercise and mental wellbeing.”

Norbury Park is open to all, and free. It provides the opportunity for people of all demographics, financially or otherwise, to mindfully exercise and even socialise with the rest of the community.

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