Health and Fitness

Campaigning Veteran Opens New Gym After Missing Out On Invictus Games

Chelsea Football Club, who are local to the gym, are also helping the veterans get fit by providing special exercise classes.

A veterans' housing organisation has opened a new gym after a successful campaign organised by one of its residents.

Mac McLaren secured an £8,000-grant from the Endeavour Fund to refurbish the gym, which will help veterans to experience the mental and physical benefits of exercise.

The Endeavour Fund is a body set up by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Duke and Duchess of Sussex to fund inspiring projects aiding the recovery of veterans.

Mr McLaren was spurred on to renovate the gym after the disappointment of missing out on the last Invictus Games squad in 2018. 

"It's a God-send for us here," said Mr McLaren who explained how the busyness and "noises" of other gyms can "trigger" issues for himself and other veterans.

The gym was refurbished by an £8,000 grant from the Endeavor Fund.
The gym was refurbished by an £8,000-grant from the Endeavor Fund.

Resident and veteran Ian Belcher said:

"Once I've done my session, I always feel better." 

The gym, based at STOLL in Fulham, has been helped by nearby Chelsea Football Club who have been running exercise glasses and inductions.

Damian Shannon, from the club's foundation, said they hope to develop a "full schedule of health and wellbeing activities" which could include walking football and sitting volleyball. 

It is hoped the gym will help veterans recover, while Mr McLaren has his fingers crossed that the new equipment can get him into next year's Invictus Games squad.