Darlington students raise money for mental health charity in the gym
A group of Darlington students have spent their March raising money for a mental health charity - by completing 100 miles of exercise.
Future Pathways, an alternative provision which works with students who are "chronically disengaged" has been encouraging students to participate in cardiovascular activities, such as running, rowing and cycling.
Students have been exercising at SNAP Fitness Darlington, as well as by walking and cycling outside of the gym.
The group has been raising money for IF U CARE SHARE, a locally run mental health charity that campaigns for a more open dialogue around mental health, and supports families affected by suicide.
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Carl, the Curriculum Provision Lead at Future Pathways, said: "Together the students chose to raise money for IF U CARE SHARE, as its mission is a little more prevalent and meaningful for them.
"As a company, we promote exercise as not only does it improve fitness, it reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression, and also the risk of developing future health conditions.
"We decided to fundraise alongside our exercise as giving back and donating to charity is hugely empowering and, in turn, can make you feel happier and more fulfilled."
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One student, who preferred to remain nameless, has been having "lots of fun" using electric bikes with staff members, racking up over 200 miles on bike rides around Roseberry Topping, Guisborough and Hamsterley Forest.
Much of the exercise has been done with support from SNAP Fitness on Yarm Road.
Meruert Rahimova, the gym's owner, has been encouraging members of the general public who may not typically find themselves in the gym to come and give working out a try.
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About the joint initiative with Future Pathways, she said: "It is good to see younger people getting into fitness!
"As a gym, we shouldn't be intimidating, we need to be accommodating to all kinds of people and fitness levels.
"As the gym is changing away from bodybuilding to promoting general fitness at large in the general public, we have been welcoming in diversity of all sorts."
You can donate to Future Pathways charity campaign at this link.