Multi-functional exercise class for young people
FORT Superheroes was set up for 11-16-year-olds in the new energetic functional zone at Waterside Farm Leisure Centre, running alongside Yellow Door’s Youth Bus session.
Located next to a large pocket of deprivation, where many young people are struggling with health equality, obesity, heart problems and diabetes, the sessions hope to act as a preventative tool to the communities increasing inactivity levels and was therefore endorsed by the local Youth Service. The Leisure Centre sits next to a large Skate Park which attracts many young people, and unfortunately creates a magnet for anti-social behaviour, which includes recreational drug and alcohol consumption.
By working with Yellow Door, who have been providing existing interventions on Tuesday afternoons, the project aimed to engage local teenagers into positive activity and use the leisure facility which may have previously been out of reach for them. With the FORT being positioned directly next to the Youth Bus with access via a fire exit to allow controlled access by instructors, it provided a great opportunity for young people to dip in and out, participating in both Yellow Door services and outreach work, as well as the functional group exercise classes.
The FORT concept was launched in June 2022 and offers a multi-functional strength and group exercise environment, in an energetic and exciting environment. The FORT includes superhero graffiti artwork, lighting, and music systems all appealing to Generation Z. Subsequently, since its launch the Leisure Centre has tripled their existing membership base with young people aged between 11 – 25.
With many young people not engaging in sessions held at the leisure centre, the class was designed to offer a fun experience using TikTok, a Bluetooth DJ deck and FORT hoodies for those participants that attended at least 3 sessions. These interactive elements, and branded clothing allowed the young people to feel part of a community, of which they have partial control.
Following the end of the funding cycle, Castle Point Leisure intend to continue the offer at subsided rates and will continue to encourage participation through their Inspire Membership Package, with wider Inspire Fort group exercise classes on offer.