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Penge Green Gym picks up national award for conservation work

PUBLISHED: 07:00 29 October 2019

Penge Gym vice chairman Keith Rodwell and volunteer Anne Gibney pick up their surprise award. Picture: Mark Slater

Penge Gym vice chairman Keith Rodwell and volunteer Anne Gibney pick up their surprise award. Picture: Mark Slater

MARK SLATER

A conservation group has scooped a special surprise award for its work in the Penge community.

The Penge Green Gym runs outdoor gardening events so residents can keep fit in a different way, and preserve the environment.

Now the team of volunteers have received special recognition at a national event organised by The Conservation Volunteers, or TCV.

The "gym" is run as a community conservation group and has won the Special Recognition Awards at TCV's 60th Anniversary Hero Awards.

Keith Rodwell and Anne Gibney received the award at City Hall in London on Wednesday, October 23.

TCV runs green gyms around the UK and its managing director Craig Lister said this award for Penge was a surprise for its recipients.

The group, supported by intu Bromley and London Borough of Bromley, was created to gather local volunteers with the common aim to transform Winsford Gardens, a hidden green space which previously only attracted anti-social behaviour.

Penge Green Gym became independent in 2013 and is run be a locally based and fully constituted community group.

TCV spokesman Amy Brighton said: "This is an outdoor fitness working in conservation for your health.

"Green gyms are fun and free outdoor sessions where users are guided in practical activities such as planting trees, sowing meadows and establishing wildlife ponds.

"The emphasis is very much on health and fitness - volunteers warm up and cool down in preparation for a range of light to vigorous activities to suit all abilities.

"In fact, almost a third more calories can be burnt in some Green Gym sessions than in an average aerobics class."

TCV said it developed the Green Gym concept to combat the loss of around a third of the UK's natural assets being lost to development or degraded through neglect, enabling volunteers to protect their local green spaces and to take part in practical activity that benefits both their physical and mental health.

Craig said: "Penge Green Gym has created a truly sustainable community group to look after Winsford Gardens is the result 
of the hard work of many 
local volunteers and we are delighted to celebrate their valuable work.

"You really have transformed the gardens and the community."

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