Today (24 August) saw the official opening of a new home for the Brixton Street Gym.
Founder Terroll Lewis, who launched the project in Brockwell Park in 2010, cut the ribbon to the new premises at 10 Somerleyton Road.
Its former home was just a few metres away at number 6, which will become part of the Ovalhouse theatre section of the proposed regeneration of Somerleyton Road.
Terroll Lewis thanked Lambeth council and Matthew Bennett, its cabinet member for planning, investment and new homes, for helping the Street Gym find its own new home.
“It’s been a long journey,” he said. “I look forward to the growth and development of this whole project.”
He thanked the entire team that took part in creating the new gym, including volunteers from as far away as Tottenham, and Boyd Hill whose #bookstopbrixton project will share the premises as it did at the old site
“We started in Lambeth and we will show that we are needed everywhere else,” he said.
Local MP Helen Hayes (Lab, Dulwich and West Norwood) said she had seen the work of the gym where people supported each other. It would have a long and fantastic future on its new site, she said.
Lambeth mayor Ibrahim Dogus said Teroll Lewis was known as “a man of passion” not just in Brixton, but all over London.
He said the new Street Gym could not have come at a more urgent time.
“It is a terrible thing to have to say, but our young people are still dying on streets,” he said, adding that there were those in government who thought that the answer could be found on the side of a chicken box.
This was in complete contrast to “people like Terroll who are rooted in our community and offering real solutions that go beyond lazy stereotypes.”
He had shown what could be achieved “when our young people are offered the chance of a real alternative and an environment where hard work and commitment are properly nurtured and rewarded,” said mayor Dogus.
The Street Gym would provide traing for all members of the community. “But,” he said, “what makes it so special is the emphasis on making sure that the confidence and discipline developed” are transferred to all aspects of life.
“The gym is simply the cornerstone of a whole range of wonderful projects aimed at raising up our next generation. I cannot think of more important or more pressing work.”
Brixton Street Gym is a charity-based community gym that caters for everyone in Brixton. The latest site has new equipment and classes including circuit, spin, boxing, ladies-only circuit, calisthenics, kids’ fitness, Muay Thai and dance classes.
But as well as making available regular and friendly gym facilities, the Street Gym and Terroll Lewis work hard to help build the minds, ambition and confidence of their younger clients, many of whom come from similar backgrounds to him.
He says he is running not only a gym, but also a safe space for the community, working closely with these young men, securing them employment through his contacts, and encouraging them to pursue their dreams and steering them away from the streets.
The new gym space will also include Bookstop Brixton, CV writing workshops and mentoring through Terroll’s charity the BlockWorkOut Foundation.
Standard membership starts at £19.99 with discounts for under-18s, students and people with disabilities. Classes start at £7.50 for members and £10 for non-members.