A SCHEME that aims to get runners volunteering for good causes while getting fit has launched in Swindon.

Joggers have set up a Good Gym group in the town. The national scheme sees runners paired with local charities, causes and vulnerable older people.

The first Swindon session was held with around two dozen people helping Wheels for All fix bicycles at the County Ground.

Organisers say it has taken around two years to get the group set up in the town.

Paul Bonner said: “I heard the founder of Good Gym on Radio 2. It was September 2016, I turned on the radio and thought that it was a brilliant organisation. I started looking at where it was, found it wasn’t in Swindon and thought, ‘Let’s do something about it’.”

The concept of Good Gym sees organisers leading a group of runners to an activity, like painting a charity project’s fence or speaking to a lonely older person, then they run back to their starting point. Participants clock up so-called good deed points on the Good Gym website and charity projects get free support.

Paul is a keen runner with three marathons under his belt, but he told the Swindon Advertiser: “For me, it’s not the running that took my interest in Good Gym. It was the community aspect.”

The project has funding from Nationwide and Swindon Borough Council to run for two years, after which it is hoped the run will be supported by membership income.

Organiser Emma Sperring, a Swindon Borough Council sports officer, said: “I’m really excited, because it’s new to Swindon and we’ve got loads of Parkrunners and people from the community involved.

This is different. It’s not all about running. It’s about doing some good in the community.”

Swindon Borough Council leader David Renard, who saw the Good Gym runners off from the Oasis Leisure Centre, praised the concept. He said more people needed to be involved in schemes like it, helping charitable projects that had had their funding slashed as a result of government cuts.

Richard Curtis, 56, from Royal Wootton Bassett, went along to find out more about the Good Gym: “I thought it was a good way to encourage people to do something for the community and get a run in at the same time.”

Swindon parkrun director Alethia Reid, 30, added: “Even people who don’t exercise, it’s getting them out as well.”

The Good Gym runs will be held weekly, meeting at the Oasis Leisure Centre on Tuesdays at 6pm.