DESPITE its proximity to Newcastle upon Tyne, Albemarle Barracks in Northumberland – home to 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery – is in a very rural location with limited transport links.

So when members of the local community teamed up with the regimental PTIs to set up a new fitness group, there were no shortage of families signing up. 

The twice-weekly exercise class is suitable for all abilities and is fun, sociable and free of charge. It runs in the evenings so it’s easier for spouses and partners to attend, and the focus changes every week so there is always something new to learn.

Mutual motivation

Helen Gent, who helped establish the group, said: “It gives people a regular commitment that’s just for them. We have a Facebook group where everyone swaps workout tips, diet advice and helps with motivation.

“The PTIs are also on the page and often offer encouragement. We’re happy for people to bring their children too, so if a soldier is away, there’s no need to miss out.”

The class has been incredibly popular since it started a few months ago. The majority of participants live in SFA ‘inside the wire’ at Albemarle but, as word has spread, participants come into camp especially for the sessions.

How to get started

Helen’s advice to other families interested in setting one up is to just ‘go for it’.

“Speak to your PTI department to see if they can put on a class,” she advised. “Use social media to spread the word and vary the sessions so that they will appeal to everyone.”

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