Evolve Youth Academy CIC wants to make a change in Thurrock!
It is our aim to make Thurrock a better place and we believe we can do so by supporting our community with education and use of our facilities for projects which range from music, mechanics, academic pursuits, sport and other positive activities we can introduce in the future. Besides our current projects, we are in the process of setting up accredited arts training for young people soon.
Evolve Community Gym
Evolve community gym has been one of our biggest success and we have been able to keep it free for nearly 2 years now. However, the Covid Pandemic has hugely affected our ability to keep it free and we don't EVER want to have to charge for gym use.
Beyond work with our young people, we have started to set up free community training sessions for anyone of any age who would like to access it. Parks are open and social distancing is possible, so we have started to make use of this to create a healthier, fitter community.
Our community project
Our gym has become a popular place for young people in Thurrock for a variety of reasons. Our young people have a responsibility, autonomy but also community and work with one another to make the gym functional and how THEY want it to be.
Our gym has been set up to help young people shape their body & strengthen their mind from a multitude of ethnicities, genders & social backgrounds:
- With parental losses;
- Looked after Young People
- Children in need;
- With parents serving custodial sentences
- Who have set up their own businesses
- Young offenders
- With special needs, physical & or emotional.
The gym has a:
- 10-foot ring,
- machine weights,
- punch bags,
- speed bags,
- floor to ceiling bags,
- slip bags,
- skipping ropes,
- free weights, gloves,
- cardio machines,
- a training timer,
- Bluetooth speaker system,
- kitchen area for access to water
- a fridge to store food & drink.
Young people are able to take personal responsibility to run their own sessions or can become involved in several sessions designed for young people to keep fit (led by a member of staff)
• Wing Chun kung fu self-defence-based classes;
• MMA training;
• Boxing training;
• HIIT sessions;
• Weight lifting sessions;
• Isometric training.
Young people have reported that they have felt better physically & emotionally due to being able to access the gym at a variety of times that are not beholden to attendance & or outcomes.
Utilising the gym has a number of factors to which contribute to the improvement of physical health, however, emotional health is often overlooked within a “physical setting”. Currently, young people are stating the gym gives them a place for “headspace” & a feeling of being “home”. Young people will complete a variety of healthy eating sessions, learn about a variety of exercises & encourage each other to be healthy holistically! Young people also engage in meditation & mindfulness after physical sessions & state this helps them to leave the gym with an even greater mindset. We are working with 24 young people at the moment, but we want to exp& this exponentially to positively affect up to 350 young people.
Our young people are all aware of the responsibilities they have to the gym; respect to others & to their surroundings. Our ethos is to produce independently minded, educated young people who are socially conscious and want to have a positive impact on their community and have respect for all. The young people who access the gym don't always know each other & come from a variety of backgrounds & different geographical locations in Thurrock such as:
- East Tilbury,
- Chafford Hundred,
The gym creates a positive hub in a positive location for our young people to feel safe, supported & part of their greater community.
During Covid, our young people have experienced more frustration, anxiety, anger & stress & to top it off, many can no longer afford to go to ANY OTHER gym other than ours.
We will use the funds to create an extension to the gym as we will be able to knock a separating wall down & use an additional area. It will also allow us to open the gym more frequent (we will pay a community member to "caretake" the gym more regularly,) & also buy additional equipment to allow greater uptake of members.
Our young people have worked with us for a long term, from Secondary school to community involvement projects. Our staff have worked within Thurrock for decades and have developed strong relationships with the young people in the area and other organisations, including other community projects and schools.
It is our goal to give all of the young people we work with the opportunity to involve themselves in positive activities for free and once we have the gym running as we want it to, our music and other positive activity sessions will be next.
We are in the process of setting up regular sessions with a local Special Education Needs school and will proactively identity groups and young people in need of support.
We already had a Crowdfunder fundraiser currently active and raised money, but the gym needs constant upkeep, rent needs to be paid and equipment needs to be upgraded and a consistent stream of funding will help us keep this project going.
We have had a raffle, burpees performed in gratitude and will be hosting future prize-giving events soon - please see the pages as extensions of each other.