Wakefield gyms come together to help kids in need wake up to a present this Christmas

Gyms in Wakefield united their members in a festive drive to help children in need and homeless people this Christmas.
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The city’s gyms were used as collection hubs so members could gather items and funds for children, teenagers and adults in a less fortunate position.

Astar Muscle and Fitness on Thornes led the way on the project, which involved 11 businesses from around the district.

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Astar co-owners Keith and Charlotte Brook headed up the campaign, which involved gyms from Ossett to Barnsley.

Keith Brook from AStar Gym has been collecting gifts from gyms across Wakefield to distibute to children and the homeless at Christmas. Picture Scott MerryleesKeith Brook from AStar Gym has been collecting gifts from gyms across Wakefield to distibute to children and the homeless at Christmas. Picture Scott Merrylees
Keith Brook from AStar Gym has been collecting gifts from gyms across Wakefield to distibute to children and the homeless at Christmas. Picture Scott Merrylees

Charlotte said: "Some of the stories you hear about parents sitting kids down and explaining that Santa might not be coming this year is horrible.

"We're a big believer that no kid should go without this Christmas. Even if we can help a small amount, it's a child waking up with something or maybe having a happier Christmas.

"We are really pleased. It was a big ask from everyone, it’s expensive this time of year and, on top of that, it’s been a struggle for everyone recently.

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“We stressed we didn’t expect any huyge donations. We were looking for something small on a bigger scale. And we thought the gym community could come together.

"The gym owners in Wakefield are a close knit community and it was nice we could all get together. Keith is a big promoter for all this, has worked with Wakefield street Kitchen and Target support last year, and wanted to do it on a bigger scale.

"Some people have to make these kind of sacrifices every day of the year, not just at Christmas.

“We know it won't fix everything overnight but we hope it might help to shelter kids from some of those problems at Christmas.”

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As it stands there has been £2,270 through a JustGiving account, which has been spent on clothing, sports accessories, games, arts and craft sets, books and through small local businesses for gifts like bath bomb sets.

The gyms involved were Astar Muscle and Fitness, Elevate, Bo Fitness, Joe Ralph’s Gym, Barnsley CrossFit, The Baker box, British combat academy, The Box, Wakefield Trinity, Gracie Barra and The Linked hub.

In previous years, since 2019, Keith donated warm clothes to the Wakefield Street Kitchen, but decided to donate chocolate selection boxes, toiletry packs and sets of hats and gloves to that charity and the Castle Children’s Centre on Barnsley Road, as of last Christmas.

The dad-of-two said it was important to him to give back at this time of year.

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Presents gathered through the scheme will be given to Wakefield Council staff to pass on to the parents.

Coun Margaret Isherwood, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “This is great news for the many families that our staff support.

“The gifts will make a real difference to people who would otherwise struggle to buy Christmas presents for their young children or teenagers. Now, thanks to the generosity of others, they will get a chance to enjoy the festivities.

“I’d like to thank everyone for their contributions and wish them a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”

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