BT's Birmingham staff under starter's orders for unusual lung-busting community challenge

Gold medallist Jonnie Peacock swaps running track for community garden to help Balsall Heath flourish with volunteers from BT. Tomorrow's Birmingham event kicks of UK-wide partnership between BT and GoodGym.

BT staff and other Birmingham volunteers have come up with a blooming good way to keep fit and support the local community – with a little help from Paralympic gold medallist Jonnie Peacock.

Tomorrow’s event marks the start of a partnership between BT and running community GoodGym, who are teaming up to make a difference in Birmingham and around the UK.

The caring keep fit enthusiasts will be running around 2.5 kilometres from BT’s main city centre telephone exchange in Station Street to the edge of Calthorpe Park, where they will join the sprinter to shift several tonnes of earth into planters before running back to the start.

The lung-busting effort is to support the work of the Balsall Heath Forum, who manage a number of green spaces and encourage local residents to grow their own plants and vegetables. The 40 runners hope to achieve the equivalent of five days’ work for one person.

Tomorrow’s challenge is being spearheaded by GoodGym, a community of runners who combine getting fit with doing good around the UK.

They stop off on their runs to help their communities. Their tasks include everything from supporting isolated older people with social visits or helping with one-off tasks they can’t do on their own to doing physical tasks for community organisations.

From this week onwards, GoodGym will run every week in Birmingham and the runs are open to all, in partnership with Run Birmingham who are working to make Birmingham a centre of running and fitness.

GoodGym has joined forces with BT to enable them to reach even more communities over the next year, including a further 15 cities.

Details of all the events are available at: www.goodgym.org

One of the BT staff taking part is Sam Allen, from Handsworth, who is based at BT’s Midland telephone exchange.

She said: “The reason I signed up for it is that it sounded like a fantastic opportunity not only to meet a Paralympic legend but also to get involved with a new and exciting initiative at the launch stage…plus anything that combines getting fit with helping the community has got to be a winner.”

Jonnie Peacock MBE, a BT Ambassador, said: “BT has a long history of supporting volunteering and is committed to using the power of sport to change people’s lives. GoodGym combines both. It’s a great way to get fit, meet new people and do some good. I’m not sure my gardening is gold medal standard, but I’m looking forward to joining in and doing my bit.”

Abdullah Rehman MBE, chief executive and former neighbourhood warden of the Balsall Heath Forum, said: “We’re always looking for new and interesting ways to support our work in the community, and this Goodgym initiative with BT is the perfect way to do this.”

Ivo Gormley, founder of GoodGym said: “We’re very excited about the launch of GoodGym in Birmingham. With the support of BT and Run Birmingham I hope we develop a strong culture of community exercise that helps get new people into running and makes a big difference to community organisations across the city.”


Issued by the BT regional press office. For more information please contact Emma Tennant on 0800 085 0660 or email: emma.tennant@bt.com Twitter: @EmmaTennantBT

All BT news releases can be read at www.bt.com/newscentre

About BT

BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world. It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed-mobile products and services. BT consists of six customer-facing lines of business: Consumer, EE, Business and Public Sector, Global Services, Wholesale and Ventures, and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2016, BT Group’s reported revenue was £19,042m with reported profit before taxation of £3,029m.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York. For more information, visit www.btplc.com

About GoodGym

GoodGym is a growing community of runners who combine their exercise with helping their

communities. Founded in 2009, its members stop off on their runs to do manual labour for

community organisations and to support isolated older people. GoodGym is expanding rapidly from its roots in Tower Hamlets to other boroughs and cities and is currently active in 26 boroughs and cities. It aims to launch in every city in the UK by 2018. GoodGym is a non-profit company and is registered with the Charity Commission.

GoodGym is free to participate in and welcomes all levels of runners.