The park’s the place for getting into shape

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A park’s new outdoor gym will be put to the test when health experts guide folk through taster sessions at the facility next month.

Experienced lifestyle coaches are holding the free sessions at Farington Park gym.

And they’re urging folk to get down there, give it a try and maybe turn their unhealthy lives around at the same time.

The outdoor gym was unveiled on Monday, February 12.

Funded by Farington Parish Council and the Farington Community Fund, the gym comprises of six machines designed to get people active.

Councillor Roy Clarke, chairman of the parish council, said: “This is our official opening - it’s open now, but this is the official opening on April 4, at 1pm. I’ll be going down with my chain on - and probably pedalling something.”

He added: “From what I’ve heard, from our latest meetings, it’s getting well used, which is great because it wasn’t cheap. I’m more than happy about it, get along it wont’ do you any harm.”

The gym was originally the idea of former parish council chairman Mike Otter. Farington Parish Council and South Ribble Borough Council collaborated to deliver the project.

Gym inductions will be held by ABL Central Lancs at the park on Wednesdays, April 4 and 11, from 1pm to 2pm. Outdoor group exercise sessions will then take place there starting on Wednesday, April 18, from 1pm to 2pm.

Healthcare and education professionals ABL was founded in 2009, having had, it says “first-hand experience of public services that had failed people, people who needed them most and we believed that we could provide a different, more flexible approach”.

They started by taking their services out into communities, by making them accessible and removing the traditional clinical surroundings and approach.

ABL says: “To this day we still feel this way and we are working not only to design and develop services that treat and support people who are experiencing health problems now, but are dreaming up and creating effective ways that we can educate and empower people to eliminate health issues in the future.”

ABL’s Our Active Lives and Healthy Weight service is available to people in Preston, Chorley and South Ribble, commissioned by Lancashire County Council.

After the launch of the gym last month, councillor Graham Walton, vice-chairman of Farington Parish Council, said: “It’s great to see this new outdoor gym in Farington Park. Councillor Smith and I were put through our paces trying the different equipment, and we hope that many residents will do the same. We urge everyone to come and have a go.

“So much can be achieved when we work together for common goals and I thank everyone – Farington Parish Council, South Ribble Borough Council, and the South Ribble Partnership – for all their collaborative efforts.”

Councillor Paul Wharton, Central My Neighbourhood Area chairman, said: “This is a fantastic project that will allow all members of the community to make full use of our fantastic park. I am delighted that this has now been completed in partnership between Farington Parish Council and South Ribble Borough Council.”

Councillor Phil Smith, cabinet member for regeneration and leisure at South Ribble Council, said: “The community is now able to use this excellent facility - enabling local residents to exercise, enjoy the outdoors, and live healthier lives. Since 2007, we’ve undertaken many upgrades at Farington Park and we really hope residents enjoy what’s on offer.”