Last class for gym-users
USERS of a popular community gym have been booted out of their council-run base – after falling victim to funding cuts.
Up to 100 members of the Workers' Educational Association of Stoke (WEA) gym held their last class at Shelton Youth Centre yesterday.
They have been forced to leave because Stoke-on-Trent City Council is no longer staffing the centre in the day.
Now the WEA is moving its classes to North Staffordshire YMCA from next week.
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The gym is particularly popular with Asian women and people who do not like to use private, commercial gyms.
WEA community health education project manager Clare-Marie White said: "We're very sad to say goodbye to the centre.
"We were very worried when the council first told us we had to leave the youth centre. Moving means that we really have had to start from scratch to rebuild that confidence with our users and the sense of community.
"We need a reasonably large space to house our gym equipment and there are not that many in Shelton."
Gym-users were yesterday sad to be leaving the youth centre.
Shiyalini Mohan, aged 23, who is originally from Sri Lanka and now living in Blurton, attended the Mixed Health and Fitness Course for two-and-a-half years.
She said: "I love coming here.
"I have great friends in the group and it makes me really happy."
Ken Humphries, aged 73, of Tittensor, who joined the class with his wife to help with her arthritis, said: "We will attend the classes at the YMCA but we're hoping the social aspect of the courses won't change."
Fazilat Jan, aged 53, who lives within walking distance of the youth centre in The Avenue, said: "I'll have to get someone to take me to the YMCA.
"I'm sad it's closing here because I learned to speak English and sew at a WEA class after moving from Pakistan."
Fitness tutor Samantha Wright said: "The classes are run to help educate learners about health and fitness, as well as providing a free gym.
"I don't know how it's going to work at the YMCA because we may have to mix in with the other gym-users there."
The council has declined to comment on the future of the youth centre building.
Shelton Youth Centre was set to be closed earlier this year because of funding cuts only to be later reprieved.