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Haverhill Running Club and the town’s leisure centre join forces to launch The Active Kindness Rail





Haverhill Running Club and the town’s leisure centre have teamed up to offer a helping hand to people who want to participate in sports but find the expense prohibitive.

The Active Kindness Rail is now in use at Haverhill Leisure Centre, where individuals can pop into reception and ask to see what sports gear is available.

The sportswear can be borrowed or items on the rail swapped.

Lynnette Garstang, committee member at Haverhill Running Club, and Abi Cartwright-Thomas, of Abbeycroft Leisure
Lynnette Garstang, committee member at Haverhill Running Club, and Abi Cartwright-Thomas, of Abbeycroft Leisure

The running club’s committee first began floating the idea in the middle of last year, having seen how some people were unable to fully participate in sport because they struggled to afford the right gear.

Committee member Lynnette Garstang said: “That got us to thinking, how many people don’t do physical activities because they don’t have the right clothing or running shorts or T-shirts that are suitable for exercise, because stuff like that can be quite expensive.

“This should not be a barrier.

“It should not be a barrier across all the ages, so we thought, why don’t we set up a system.

“We approached Abbeycroft Leisure (the operator of Haverhill Leisure Centre) and said, would you like to come on board with us and they said ‘great’.”

HRC has been working on the concept with Abbeycroft’s active communities lead, Abi Thomas and after it put out a request to club members for the donation of unused or unwanted active wear, donations began to be taken to the leisure centre from late December onwards.

Lynnette, who has worked on the project with HRC chair Mark Novel, continued: “We’ve got a good array of clothing, so that we can open it up to people to come and have a look and swap and take stuff.

“We need to keep everybody moving without having that barrier of not having the right clothing.

“For someone, it might be that they say, I don’t want to spend money on that clothing If I’m not going to keep it up.

“This is open to children as well, because children grow out of stuff before they run out of stuff.

“It just cuts out one more barrier to people being more active.

“We took a long time trying to decide what to call it and how to word it.

“We didn’t want to apply any stigmas.

“We are hoping this will be really good.”

The club now plans to put up posters and promote the idea more widely among the community.

“Haverhill has got a good community spirit and hopefully everybody, to some degree, wants to be active, so let’s remove those barriers.

“We want to make it as easy for people as possible because the easier we can make it, the more it is going to be used.”

Anybody requiring further information about the rail should email: kindnessrail@haverhill runningclub.com