Having seen the impact of lockdown, Church Crookham Junior School wanted to support pupils to improve their fitness levels and mental health. The school raised funds to install a brand-new outdoor gym to be supplied and installed by Fresh Air Fitness and opened on launch day by Colin Jackson.
The school had an area within its grounds that was unusable for most of the year due to heavy water logging. They wanted to recover this space and locate the gym here. It was critical that the area would not become waterlogged post installation, enabling pupils to use the new outdoor gym all year round.
Ultimately, the school wanted to use their new outdoor gym for PE lessons and during play time, to encourage more physical activity through the day. They located the gym at the edge of the playground, to achieve both.
The area received a complete transformation. Firstly excavated and replaced with a strong stone sub-base. This elevated the ground to ensure water wouldn’t pool around the equipment. This base was covered with a rubber mulch, a popular safety surface that provides a non-slip natural looking floor that is also permeable to allow rainwater to drain through.
The Children’s Bumper Package – a 6-piece, 15-person outdoor gym – was installed. Full of multi-user pieces, children can use the gym and interact with each other at the same time, promoting fun and enjoyment, encouraging all children to take part, from the sportiest to those who shy away from physical activity.
“The children really enjoyed watching the process of the equipment being installed at the bottom of our playground and they were ever so keen to get on it once it was up and running. The outdoor gym equipment offers a range of activities for the children to get fit and active. This has been especially important for the children returning back to school after lockdown and it helps us as a school to promote fitness and physical activity. Children are keen, enthusiastic and are showing that they are beginning to understand how the equipment can target different parts of their body to increase their fitness.” Miss West, PE Coordinator
Lesson planners, instruction manuals and links to online resources were also provided to support teaching staff and children. “I have been able to have a look at the resources provided by Fresh Air Fitness and can see many activities that would be excellent to use as warm ups and cool downs, extra activities in PE lessons, as well as teaching the children activities that they can then recall at break and lunchtimes.” Miss West, PE Coordinator
The children didn't need an excuse to get on the outdoor gym, but when Colin Jackson, CBE arrived on the morning of the launch, the atmosphere was electric. Following a wonderfully uplifting assembly for pupils, Colin declared the outdoor gym open! The children jumped straight onto the gym and Colin even had a go himself, explaining to them “You’re working all different muscles and you wouldn’t even know it, it’s great!”