An outdoor gym has been opened as part of a drive to reduce antisocial behaviour on Wellingborough’s Queensway estate. The fitness zone, next to the children’s play area on Minerva Way, is aimed at teenagers who say they hang around the estate’s parks because there is nothing else for them to do in the area.
The fitness zone is a modern range of bars and exercise machines for people over 12. It features seven pieces of equipment including parallel bars, balance beams, skiers, surfers, space walkers and monkey bars. The young people can also use Smartphone technology to scan QR codes on the machines and watch videos of suggested exercises as guidance.
Wellingborough's community safety partnership decided on the project after the borough council received funding from the Home Office to tackle residents' concerns about antisocial behaviour. One of the issues identified was the number of teenagers hanging around the open spaces on Kiln and Minerva Way who were perceived to be causing a nuisance. The young people said that there was nothing else for them to do and they were unable to travel to other parts of Queensway as they often had to look after younger siblings at the children's play area on Minerva Way. Following consultation it was agreed that the fitness zone would be a good use of the funding as it would provide an activity for the teenagers, and also create a facility to be used by families and older members of the community.
The Mayor of Wellingborough, Cllr Ken Harrington, will be joined by ward councillors Tim Allebone and Lora Lawman, as well as local residents and young people, to officially open the fitness zone on Tuesday. Cllr Lawman said: "The fitness zone has obvious benefits such as providing free exercise, in the fresh air, without hefty gym membership fees. More than that though, it gives the young people something to do and by placing it alongside the children's play area we have somewhere that the whole family can enjoy. This area of Queensway was identified as a antisocial behaviour hotspot and we've worked with the residents to come up with a solution that should make a big difference to the people that live there."
The equipment has been provided by Wicksteed Leisure Ltd and funded by a grant from the Home Office, topped up with local community safety funds. The Wellingborough community safety partnership is made up of representatives from the borough council, the police, the fire and rescue service, the probation trust and the health service, as well as local service providers including Wellingborough Norse, Wellingborough Homes and the voluntary sector. Members work together to reduce crime and antisocial behaviour in the borough.