Rebecca has caught up with Georgie Delaney, Co-Founder of The Great Outdoor Gym Company
Q - How did TGO begin?
Myself and my husband, Matt (Co-Founders and Joint Managing Directors) both worked previously for Sport England. We saw what the Chinese government had done in the build-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics where they put outdoor gyms (mainly targeted at older people) into hundreds of parks. We knew that in the UK, people were not doing enough exercise and the main reason was that people either could not afford the cost of an indoor gym or they didn’t live close to one. So, we set up The Great Outdoor Gym Company (TGO for short), and designed our own range of gym equipment working with playground safety experts, British engineers and fitness experts to design a range of equipment that was safe and functional for the whole community. In 2010, we moved the manufacturing to the UK and now we 100% make our product in Britain.
We now have over 1000 installations of free to use, outdoor gyms and we are even exporting as far away as Australia.
Q - Was there a particular moment when you realised you had something unique in TGO and it could grow to what it has become today?
TGO’s first big break was getting sponsorship by Adidas in 2008 for the installation of 5 large outdoor gyms. Adidas had the rights to use the Olympic logo at that time as a sponsor of London 2012, so we designed these gyms in the shape of the London 2012 logo. At that point we knew this was something very special. It was an honour to place our products on the Olympic Rings. These pilots led onto a total roll out of 70 of these adiZones – multi-purpose outdoor fitness facilities in the shape of the London 2012 logo. TGO worked with over 60 local authorities to deliver this turnkey project for Adidas.
Q - What part has technology played in the development of TGO programmes?
TGO’s unique energy range generates electricity that can charge phones, light spaces and even tie back into the grid with human power.
TGO’s latest gyms are SMART, meaning that useful data can be gathered around who is using the gym, how often as well as offering users the Activate app to complement their workout. Activate helps people find a gym, log and track their workout and share progress with friends.
Q - What are your plans for future expansion for the TGO brand?
TGO’s mission is to create happy, healthy and environmentally friendly communities with its range that caters for all ages and abilities with the aim to install another 1000 gyms over the next 5 years. Within the plan is to accompany the gyms with activation packages that create low cost classes and free workouts on the gym. We’ve developed a concept called The Green Movement to help places to not only achieve their physical activity targets, but also the wider social outcomes such as social connectedness and mental health, in an economic, social and sustainable manner. The Green Movement consists of three main and interacting parts including multi-generational SMART gyms, the Activate app and a model for the development of a Social Enterprise. Since the training of Outdoor Gym Activators is a key part of the delivery of our concept we are excited to be working with Ad-Lib Training, the leading training provider for community activation programmes.