a FITNESS fanatic is prepared to invest his own savings in a gym in a bid to transform the fortunes of Langley Mill.
Phil Coker’s plan to open a gym would be a “dream come true” and the 40-year-old business analyst is currently looking for a possible venue.
Phil, of Old Coppice Side, Heanor, says the gym will cater primarily for teenagers, but also help tackle the problem of obesity across the age ranges.
He said: “I am very passionate about fitness and already have the respect from most of the teenagers in the area that know me. The reward for me is seeing how it changes the lives of individuals. This gym would change the lives of many if it was to go ahead.”
He says the Blend youth centres in Ripley and Heanor appeal to “the so-called ‘cool’ kids”, but another sector of teenagers have nowhere to go and are condemned to “stay home and watch more television or play on their electronic gadgets without any form of exercise.”
Phil believes exercise can have other benefits besides improved fitness, teaching youngsters how to be responsible, meet deadlines and work as a team. He added there were social benefits too, as the gym is also a place “to make friends and speak to people they won’t otherwise speak to like me.”
Another neglected group are pensioners, says Phil: “I would have days and sessions just for pensioners, giving them low impact mobility exercises and also it will be a time for them to socialise.”
He estimates it will cost around £12,000 to start the gym and as much as £40,000 to kit it out properly.
As well as exercise bikes and treadmils, Phil wants the gym to include a studio room for different classes, with mats and barbells, as well as a boxing area for all ages with punching bags, speedball and skipping ropes.
However, Phil says he needs help to put together funding applications: “I am hoping someone somewhere will be able to assist me funding this project so together we can build a better place to live in Langley Mill.”
Phil currently works at Eon after studying at Nottingham Trent University. In 2006 he gained fitness qualifications in the hope he might one day be able to use them.
“Having the opportunity to change lives is like a dream for me and if I can get any help towards the gym project it will be a step closer to making Langley Mill a better place for people to live.”
To contact Phil call 07596472052.